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Anja Kruke

From the beginning of the West German state, a lot of public opinion polling was done on the German question. The findings have been scrutinized carefully from the 1950s onward, but polls have always been taken at face value, as a mirror of society. In this analysis, polls are treated rather as an observation technique of empirical social research that composes a certain image of society and its public opinion. The entanglement of domestic and international politics is analyzed with respect to the use of surveys that were done around the two topics of Western integration and reunification that pinpoint the “functional entanglement” of domestic and international politics. The net of polling questions spun around these two terms constituted a complex setting for political actors. During the 1950s, surveys probed and ranked the fears and anxieties that characterized West Germans and helped to construct a certain kind of atmosphere that can be described as “Cold War angst.” These findings were taken as the basis for dealing with the dilemma of Germany caught between reunification and Western integration. The data and interpretations were converted into “security” as the overarching frame for international and domestic politics by the conservative government that lasted until the early 1960s.

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What Do the French Think of Us?

The Deteriorating Image of the United States, 2000-2004

Richard Kuisel

What do the French think of Americans and the United States? This is a grand question whose answer reveals a crucial dimension of the current tension in Franco-American relations. It is also a question that can be answered reasonably well. Transatlantic troubles have stirred interest in ascertaining the state of public opinion. The result is an extraordinary number of comprehensive surveys conducted over the last five years. The US Department of State, for example, has systematically monitored French attitudes. So have many French and American polling agencies like SOFRES, CSA, and the Pew Center. Foundations like the French-American Foundation and the German Marshall Fund of the US have also sponsored research. Between fifteen and twenty thousand Frenchmen and women have recorded their opinion in such surveys. This evidence provides a unique opportunity for research into how the man- or woman-in-the-street views the United States.

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Gianfranco Baldini and Guido Legnante

On 29 November and 13 December 1998, elections were held for

the renewal of fifty-eight municipal councils in towns comprising

more than 15,000 inhabitants, as well as of four provincial administrations.

The feature that most caught the attention of politicians

and commentators, apart from changes in the political balance of

the coalitions, was the turnout for these elections. For the first time

in the electoral history of republican Italy, non-voters in the provincial

elections in some cases amounted to more than 50 percent of

the electorate. Largely blamed for this fall in electoral participation

was the frequency with which voters had been recently called to

the polling booths; and this accelerated the process of modifying

the law on the direct election of the mayor, it being proposed,

amongst other things, that all the administrative elections should

be combined into a single annual round of voting.

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Making (a) Difference

Paperwork and the Political Machine

Alexander Thomas T. Smith

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Dumfries and Galloway, this article describes how Conservative Party activists put a variety of discursive artefacts to work as they sought to mass produce and distribute leaflets during the 2003 local Government and Scottish Parliament elections. The leaflet, called In Touch, rendered explicit the need to demonstrate that a political candidate and political party are connected (in touch) with a wider community. This leaflet was therefore designed to invoke a set of connections between person (the candidate), place (the Council Ward/community) and political party (the Conservatives) that might register with even the most disinterested elector. At the same time, the production of these leaflets facilitated the generation of an activist network amongst the party's volunteer base, which exhausted itself by the time Polling Day passed. I argue that addressing logistical and organizational questions - that is, activist methodology - in the production of the In Touch leaflet focused the attention of political activists more than the 'issues' on which they intended to campaign, which were 'found' or 'produced' as artefacts or contrivances of activist labour. In addressing such questions, Tory strategists hoped to 'make (a) difference' given that they tended to view previous campaigns to have been executed in an amateur and disorganized fashion. Through the sheer scale of their production and distribution throughout Dumfries and Galloway, it was hoped that the In Touch leaflets would produce social as well as electoral effects.

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Davis Bunn

According to recent polls by US News and World Report, there are today 119 million U.S. citizens who class themselves as 'actively believing' Christians. Of these, more than eighty million profess to attend church more than once every week. Extrapolating from this same survey, more than sixty million Americans believe their Christian faith to be the only true religion. And more than eighty-five million claim to have had a personal experience of being brought into direct contact with God. This is a figure that some pollsters and statisticians, including Gallup, the largest polling organization in the world, consider potentially flawed. This is particularly interesting because Gallup is himself an evangelical believer. So for him to suggest that the stats have been skewed says a lot. As someone who has studied econometrics and statistics at both the undergraduate level in the U.S., and then in graduate business school in the U.K., I can state unequivocably that all of these statistics contain an element of truth. But they also are colored by who is asking, where they are asked, and how the questions are phrased. Even then, they do not tell the entire story.

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Nagas as a ‘Society against Voting?’

Consensus-Building, Party-less Politics and a Culturalist Critique of Elections in Northeast India

Jelle J. P. Wouters

It was potentially scandalous that while voters lined up behind polling booths in the village of Phugwumi, someone wrote the following phrase in the dusty rear window of a nearby parked car: ‘Election is an insult to each other by vote’. Phugwumi is

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The Race for Third

Small Parties in the 2017 Bundestag Election

David F. Patton

debate. By spring 2017, the AfD was back polling in single digits. In the hot phase of the campaign, however, migration-related issues again received extensive media coverage. For instance, in the widely viewed television debate between Angela Merkel and

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Introduction

Merkeldämmerung

Eric Langenbacher

delegates and (re-elected with 82 percent in December 2017). 5 Polling from February to April 2017, had the party at or above 30 percent—at one point even with or slightly ahead of the cdu . 6 But, from May onwards the party began to slip in the polls. Its

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Jeffrey D. Hilmer and Max Halupka

democratic aspiration or consigning democracy to the status of a remote ideal (51).” While perhaps unfair to pragmatic off shoots including James Fishkin’s “deliberative polling,” Medearis’s critique is trenchant. Chapters 2 and 3 elaborate contemporary

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Sarah Wiliarty and Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

would you vote for if the election were this coming Sunday?”—sees the cdu / csu receiving around 39 to 40 percent of the vote (up from 32.9 percent at the 2017 election and a low of 26 percent as recently as March). The AfD is polling around 8 to 9