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By Adam F. Simon

Public opinion polling permeates trendy politics, but many look suspicious of polls and skeptical of their prominence, fearing that overreliance on public opinion quantities to pandering or that pollsters can manage a feeble public. during this e-book Adam Simon argues that democracy calls for that executive hearken to the general public and that pattern surveys are the best democratic know-how but devised. He lays out the basics of public opinion learn and illustrates his dialogue of the technological know-how of polling with contemporary political scorching button matters as case studies_the choice to invade Iraq, partial start abortion, and the Clinton healthiness care debate. He advocates that ballot effects meet the normal for mass proficient consent and will play a bigger position in our politics. Simon concludes with suggestions to enhance democracy from the viewpoint of voters, politicians, and the media. Mass trained Consent may be of certain curiosity to scholars of public opinion, political habit, media and politics, curiosity team politics, and political conversation.

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Additional info for Mass Informed Consent: Evidence on Upgrading Democracy with Polls and New Media

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Take a scenario based on Lippmann’s conception of stereotypes. Someone who has an idiot for a neighbor or who watched Jackass the Movie may discount poll results when they hear them, reckoning that people are idiots. Leaving aside issues that we will discuss in chapter 6, this person is extrapolating from a sample of one to every American. In reality, a poll with a thousand respondents is far more diverse than any one person—diverse enough, in fact, to represent the whole country. So although there may be idiots in the sample, the likelihood of it being a sample of idiots is nearly nonexistent—unless you believe that everyone in the United States is an idiot.

Even less support reaches polling. This discontinuity strikes me as odd. Early political philosophers, such as our Founding Fathers, usually talked about public opinion and democracy in the same breath. More to the point, initial assaults on public opinion invariably attacked democracy as well. Yet in the face of near universal support for democracy, the con side in the debate over polling’s value lingers. Let us clarify polling’s rationale by talking about four alternative ways to measure public opinion.

Why? He won. The faulty headline traces to a polling error. Although Gallup used random sampling, he based his prediction on results from the wrong time. Specifically, he quit polling two weeks before the election, presumably when Dewey was still winning. Gallup was mortified on election day; the lesson is that the timing of polls (and other factors we will discuss) may influence results. A similar error occurred in the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary. The Sunday before the election nine polls indicated that Barack Obama would not only win, but win by 10 percentage points.

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