Measuring Attitudes Toward Controversial Issues in Internet Surveys: Order Effects of Open and Closed Questioning 1
The accurate representation of the latent by the manifest is the essence of social survey research. A wrong understanding by political actors of the public opinion climate on such issues may lead to social policies that lack overall public support and may intensify social antagonism. Self-administered Internet surveys have some major validity advantages over other survey modes in studying attitudes toward controversial issues. The anonymous interview setting, the absence of interviewer error, and the privacy of the response situation lead to more self-disclosure and less social desirability bias. The generic pessimists were much like those who stressed economic disparities except that a far less substantial group supported the expectation that economic growth was likely to occur in the future. Generic optimists and respondents with a neutral stance were more likely to support the notion of economic growth.