chapter  6
8 Pages

Speaking in Spirals: An Updated Meta-Analysis of the Spiral of Silence

ByCarroll J. Glynn, Michael E. Huge

The spiral of silence was developed as a theory of a silent majority by German pollster and political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann (1974, 1984, 1993). By proposing separate behavioral tendencies for those in the majority and those in the minority, the spiral of silence addresses the theoretical formation and maintenance of public opinion, as well as its subsequent impacts on diff erent societal factions. Though the theory is often credited as being one of the more infl uential models of how public opinion is formed and maintained, Glynn, Hayes, and Shanahan (1997) demonstrated that the spiral’s eff ect-at least according to the extant published and unpublished literature at that time-was quite small, though the correlation between perceived opinion support and willingness to speak out was both positive and signifi cant. In this chapter, we update the previously reported meta-analysis to include both published and non-published articles that have appeared since Glynn et al.’s original 1997 publication.