The main objectives of this research committee are to plan, conduct and publish international comparative research in political science and political sociology on the basis of comparative public opinion surveys. Such research includes comprehensive efforts to measure, at a mass level, the current social, political, and economic climate around the world. It provides an independent, non-partisan, scientific and multidisciplinary view of public opinion on a range of policy-relevant issues. 

By providing a bottom up assessment of democratic legitimacy, political trust, and quality of governance, research projects carried out by RC17 members add insights and interpretations to complement indicators compiled by international organizations and official statistics published by national governments. Since the opinions that individuals express do not always reflect their objective material circumstances, the surveys delve deeper than official data, by reporting on people’s experiences. Surveys carried out by RC17 members complement official electoral statistics with data on self-reported voting pattern, partisan preferences, and how voters participate in the political process. 

The geographical area of ‘Comparative Public Opinion’ is North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Europe. Central theoretical and empirical fields are represented by the studies on Political Participation, Civic Engagement, Support for Democracy, Meanings of Democracy, Confidence in Social and Political Institutions, National Electoral Systems, Mass Belief Systems, Modernization and Social Change, Political Values etc.

Research and associated activities of RC 17 are implemented by its members through development of the following international research projects in which they are involved: