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IP 14 (Phase II): The antecedents of public opinion expression - a cross-national study of debate participation

This project investigates the factors and mechanisms that lead to the expression of public opinion. Public opinion expression is a form of political participation and civic engagement, and therefore a fundamental pillar of deliberative democracy, in which citizens voluntarily and actively participate in discussions on public issues.

The project aims to develop and test a model of public opinion expression by focusing on the following questions:

  • Under which conditions do citizens suppress their opinions in public situations? It is generally assumed that the perception of opinion climate has an impact on opinion expression. For example, individuals who perceive their opinions to be in a majority are more likely to express their views than those who feel that their opinion is not shared by most others. However, a number of other factors may play a role here.
  • What is the impact of media content and media use on opinion expression?
  • How does public opinion expression differ in selected European countries? Are there transnational factors that influence opinion expression?

The findings can contribute to the fostering of citizens' political participation in public debates, guiding political and public actors in mobilizing the public for a democratic exchange of ideas, and ultimately, ensuring the quality of public debates.

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Project leader
Prof. Jörg Matthes, University of Vienna