Skip to main content

Tyranny of the Perceived Majority: Polling in the U.S. News Media Before the Invasion of Iraq

Buy Article:

$51.63 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Quantitative and qualitative methods are used to analyze media content about polled support for the invasion of Iraq before it took place. A tendency for journalists to emphasize data suggesting majority support rather than opposition is identified, and an associated perception of a pro-war majority is seen in letters to the editor. Analysis contrasts conceptual and methodological imprecision attending discussions of public opinion with numerical precision in survey data, arguing that a scientific reading of poll results should not be equated with public opinion. A perceived pro-war majority aligned with a pro-war political climate is explained in terms of a distinction between scientific, instrumental, and symbolic readings of polls, the mediated nature of public opinion, and symbolic power.

Keywords: Iraq War; Public opinion; Qualitative methods; Quantitative methods; Symbolic power

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2012


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more