Saturday, August 06, 2011

Thinking about polling for White House policy

I was just listening to a panel of presidential pollsters. The panel was composed of the people who do political polling for the White House. I would note that there are a lot of other polls and pollsters that influence White House policy, such as those conducted by the Bureau of the Census, the Department of Commerce or the Department of Health and Human Services. I suspect that these latter polls are much more accurate and much more likely to lead toward policies that truly benefit the American public.

The political pollsters seemed only interested in what would get the president reelected (or the party he represents reelected in a second presidential term). If one is interested in that topic, one would poll the people likely to vote. If one were interested in learning the best policies for the White House to pursue for the benefit of the people, one would presumably sample the opinion of the wisest, most publicly spirited people in the nation, and one would presumably find ways of pulling out what they find most important to say rather than the questions that the pollsters or the White House thinks are most important.

The discussion was interesting in the fine points that were raised as to how questions should be phrased or what is of real importance (e.g. depth of feeling rather than opinion).

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