During the POLPAN Seminar on October 17th, Professor Tadeusz Krauze (Hofstra University) presented a talk on “A New Approach to Differentiation of Public Opinion.”
We present some concepts and tools for investigating the differentiation of public opinion. The concepts are defined on the basis of survey results. Four concepts are fundamental: a) discordance of answers to a specific question given by a pair of respondents; b) the distance between a pair of respondents; c) the disagreement on a given question (measure of controversy); d) dissensus, or the discordance between all pairs of respondents to all questions. Two results are formulated and justified for each of the four concepts: a1) aggregation of scale points; a2) the loss of information, validity and measurement errors; b1) the probability density function for distance and its nearly-normal distribution; b2) extreme distances; c1) controversy and variance; c2) maximal controversy; d1) dissensus and its normalized version; d2) decomposition of dissensus by aggregation of questions. The presented results may form the basis for a future theory about the differentiation of public opinion.