Characteristics of Nonopinion and No Opinion Response Groups

Faulkenberry, G. D. & Mason, R. (1978). Characteristics of nonopinion and no opinion response groups. Public Opinion Quarterly, 42, 4, 533-543.

In a nationwide survey of 1,551 Ss concerning the public acceptance of wind energy conversion systems, interviewers were trained to classify equivocal responses as nonexistent ("don't know") or ambivalent ("no opinion") opinion states. After the respondents were classified into 1 of 4 opinion groups ("don't know," "no opinion," "oppose," or "favor"), an among-groups discriminant analysis was employed using 6 independent variables: (a) an individual's level of formal education, (b) his/her awareness, (c) mass media exposure, (d) knowledge about the topic, (e) city size, and (f) physical wind energy potential of the state in which the respondent lived. Results show that the "don't know" and "no opinion" groups differed not only from opinion groups ("favor" and "oppose") but also from each other. Those whose responses were classified as "nonexistent opinions" were less educated and had lower scores on mass media exposure and knowledge of the topic than respondents classed as holding ambivalent ("no opinion") views.

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