Cites some Eminent Authorities who
have discussed what the Pollsters are re-
luctant to discuss—namely, the nature
of Public Opinion.
AT THEIR 1947 Conference in Williamstown, as I have said, the pollsters could not agree on what it was they were trying to measure. So far as I have been able to discover, their literature has never shown a major concern with the subject matter of the new science. More than two thirds of the way through A Guide to Public Opinion Polls,1 Dr. Gallup puts to himself the question:
"What do you mean by 'public opinion' ?"Bryce, he replies, has given a working definition:
"The aggregate of the views men hold regarding matters that affect or interest the community."Dr. Gallup realizes that this definition does not warrant him in counting yeses and noes and announcing that he has discovered public opinion. Hence he quotes something "more precise and scholarly" from Floyd W. Allport:
The term public opinion is given its meaning with reference to a multi-individual situation in which individuals are expressing themselves, or can be called upon to express themselves, as favoring or supporting (or else