For the general public and for scientists, interpersonal political communication is highly important; however, surveys based on self-reports often lack satisfactory validity and reliability, because political talk is embedded in everyday conversations and thus hard to remember. Furthermore, different people are likely to ascribe different meanings to the term ‘politics’. The present paper aims to further our understanding of what people perceive or do not perceive as political. To determine the factors influencing the general public’s understanding of politics, we conducted a representative telephone survey among 804 citizens of a German city. The findings indicate that people’s classification of conversations as political is determined by the characteristics of the discussed issues. Furthermore, some respondents did not mention all conversations that might influence their political opinions and behavior. Nonetheless, the matter might be relevant for research when people are asked about their political conversation behavior.
©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston