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Public Opin Q. 1989 Fall;53(3):309-29.

Setting the polling agenda for the issue of AIDS.


Most scholarly attention to survey results focuses on the answers to the questions asked. When attention is directed to the questions, it usually concerns methodological issues of bias, format, and wording. Scholarly attention has completely ignored the issue of why surveys include questions on some issues and not on others. The present research investigates the polling agenda for the issue of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) from 1981 to 1987. Evidence from several over-time analyses supports the hypotheses that (1) the mass media agenda set the polling agenda for the issue of AIDS, and (2) the way in which the AIDS issue was portrayed in the mass media influenced the way in which survey questions addressed the issue of AIDS. The specific over-time relationship is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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