This book takes stock of opinion polls in communist and post-communist states, presents specific case studies and answers the question how opinion polls under conditions of censorship and lack of media pluralism differ from those in liberal democratic societies. These polls were mostly used by the ruling establishment to observe shifts in popular opinion and to anticipate protests. They were hardly presented publicly to inform citizens about the prevailing views in their society. Today, these polls often display stories about everyday life, opinion shifts and the legitimacy of state institutions which cant be derived from other sources.
Klaus Bachmann is Professor of Political Science at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw, Poland. Jens Gieseke is Head of the department Communism and Society at the Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam.