Public mood can be understood in various ways, as aggregate of individual preferences and attitudes (cf. policy mood of Stimpson (1991): aggregate trends in individuals' preferences for governmental activity) or as some subcultural identity (cf. public mood of Rahn et al. (1992): a diffuse affective state , having distinct positive and negative components, that people experience because of their membership in a particular political community) or as a broader measurement of a societal public opinion climate (cf. Noelle-Neumann). In this panel we want to focus on recent research on (perceptions of) public or group attitudes and opinions as a context for opinion formation of individuals. We welcome both conceptual and empirical contributions. The panel aims to include both comparative and single case studies, and quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods contributions to get a better grip on public mood as a diffused affective state. Paper proposals for this panel should relate to such questions as How can we measure and analyse this mood? What makes ordinary citizens more or less mood-sensitive? What about the sensitiveness and responsiveness of political parties and officials? How do political parties, interest groups and protestors influence it? How does it affect the outcome of elections and result in political and policy change? What is the role of the media?