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Title: Opinion polling in comparative contexts : the challenge of change in contemporary societies.
Author: Henn, Matt.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2410 0063
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis aims to examine both the extent to which political opinion polling can contribute to democratic processes in different countries, and the degree to which polling is tied to the developing processes of restructuring and transition which contemporary advanced societies are tending to undergo. Specifically, the examination will focus on political opinion polling in both 'late-capitalist' and 'post-communist' societies. In doing so, it will consider two key related issues: firstly, how shifting political contexts impact upon the ability of polls to carry out their perceived tasks of measuring public opinion and contributing to political democratisation; and secondly, whether polls extend or inhibit democratic processes. The principal concept around which this analysis is organised is that of 'Complex Politics'. This has as its core an analytical framework which focuses upon those aspects of political systems similar to both late-capitalist and post-communist societies, which impinge directly upon political opinion polling. These are Political Culture, Party Systems, Mechanisms for Political Participation, and the Policy Process. It is argued that, despite the obvious differences in context and recent history, the complexity of contemporary political envirorunents in which polls operate in both types of political system are such as to display broadly similar problems for pollsters. In order to project the course of development of polling, the likely issues that pollsters will need to address in the future, and the shape and nature of the links between polling and the processes of democratisation in late-capitalist societies, it is instructive to refer to the current experiences of pollsters and polling in the transitional states of Central and Eastern Europe. As the processes of political pluralisation and restructuring take place in these former communist societies, this will help to identify the major problems which pollsters are likely to face in countries such as Britain and elsewhere in continental Europe when attempting to gauge political opinions, beliefs, orientations and behaviour as their own societies become more variable and complex.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Voting behaviour; Central and Eastern Europe