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Public wants politicians to pay attention to polls?
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, March 22, 2008

You've got to be kidding.
In sharp contrast to views recently expressed by Vice President Cheney, a new poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe government leaders should pay attention to public opinion polls and that the public should generally have more influence over government leaders than it does.
If what is going on in government now isn't enough to make the founders of this nation spin in their graves, this must have them turning enough high-speed revolutions to power a small city.

In essence what is being proposed here is a form of direct democracy (with only the requirement of a simple majority) in which bureaucrats - not political leaders - pull the levers of government to reflect the most recent poll (or fad or trend or, well, you get it). Among a population which, for the most part, can't name their own representative, don't understand the concept of representative government, don't know their own history, can't find most of the countries in the world on a map, have proven consistently that they're mostly ignorant of world affairs and have little or no grounding in economics, this is better than what we have?

BTW, for those of you who think this is a good idea but oppose the war in Iraq - that war was hugely popular at the time it began if you remember the polls.
Eighty-one percent say when making "an important decision" government leaders "should pay attention to public opinion polls because this will help them get a sense of the public's views." Only 18 percent said "they should not pay attention to public opinion polls because this will distract them from deciding what they think is right."
In my opinion, politicians listen too polls to much now. Many have come to substitute them for leadership. Fingers firmly in the air they tend to do what's popular rather than lead and do what they believe to be right. And you see the results of that now.

Personally I'd like to see fewer polls. They're snapshots for heaven sake and, as we've seen, change, sometimes dramatically, as time passes. You might as well form your policy and make your decisions by throwing darts at random options.

Polls are reactions, in many cases, to poorly formed or biased questions aimed, usually unconsciously, at a particular result.

And that's how the majority of this nation thinks we should govern ourselves? Any wonder why a polling company would proudly and widely announce those findings?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

So I tend to agree that politicians shouldn’t pay attention to opinion polls for a host of reasons - including the fact that the questions and available ’opinion choices’ don’t always reflect the entire range of opinions.

However, I think it would be instructive to "reproduce" the question:-)

Poll Taker:
"Do you think that someone should pay attention to the answers you’ve just given me considering the time you’ve just spent answering my questions or should this information just be fodder for political pundits?"
Apparently 89% think their answers should drive policy as opposed to just supply chaff to the pundit class. The other 11% said that as long as John Stewart references their poll results they are happy...
Written By: BillS
Hmm.. Horoscopes or the I-Ching may be more impartial than polls, which can be and are jiggered for a predetermined outcome all the time.
Written By: M. Murcek
URL: http://
Actually most pre-war polls gave a unilateral invasion only a slim majority. Most polls favored a multilateral approach (which is one of the reasons Bush reluctantly went to the UN). The war didn’t get a strong majority until it had begun, which is understandable.
Written By: Oliver Willis

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