The degree of polarization (DOP) of laser-speckle fields, where the speckles were generated by a polarized laser beam incident upon two kinds of samples: ground glass and wax, was investigated within a single coherence area as well as over multiple coherence areas. For the surface-scattering ground glass, the incident polarization state was preserved in the speckle field, and hence the DOP remained at unity regardless of the area of detection. For the volumescattering wax, the polarization states varied with positions in the field, and consequently the DOP depended on the area of detection: the DOP decreased with an increasing area of detection, and only when the area was much smaller than the coherence area would the DOP approach unity. A numerical simulation explained the experimental observation. These results are important for the understanding of polarization phenomena in turbid media such as biological tissue.