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The Questions Never Asked

The Questions Never Asked – As I explained in my 80/20 rule post, most people do not have enough information about a particular subject to have a meaningful opinion about it. For political junkies, answering a question about Nancy Pelosi, Global Warming, Obama, Taxation, or Sarah Palin is simple. I know tons about all of the subjects. But ask me a question about Charlie Sheen and his recent drama and my knowledge is limited to what minimal soundbites I have picked up. I could answer a 10 different poll questions about Charlie Sheen like: Do you approve or disapprove of Charlie Sheen? Do you approve or disapprove of how CBS has handled the matter? Do you think Two and a Half Men should have been suspended? I could answer all of those, but to think I have even minimal knowledge of any of that is absurd. Frankly, I don’t care. In our world, the reverse is true. While 20% of the people could answer questions about Politics, 80% could answer questions about frivolous entertainers.

So, what’s my point? Obviously, that opinions when dealing with Politics is very flexible. Most people have as much knowledge about Egypt, Labor Unions, Libya (or is it Lybia?), the Tea Party, Etc. as I do about Charlie Sheen or the latest song by Lady Gaga. If someone called and asked if I liked either of the latter’s artistry, I’d probably say “no.” But that has as much do to with the fact that I have a preconceived notion that both are freaks, than having ever watched his show or listened to her/it’s music. But, more people probably can answer more questions accurately about Lady Gaga than they could Sarah Palin or Barack Obama.

When I see poll questions about Foreign Policy, I typically dismiss them as frivolous. Not enough people know or care what is going on to have an opinion that means anything. Oh, so 65% of those polled don’t think we should get involved in “fill in the country.” Guess what, they don’t know crap about “fill in the blank” so what is their point?

Ditto with the Labor Unions questions. Sometimes in depth questions are good. People are more likely to be fine with something if it has no direct effect on themselves. Or if they don’t believe it effects them. So if you ask “Do you support the labor Unions right to collectively bargain” you are likely to get more positive responses because 80% of the people do not know much about the subject and, golly gee, collective bargaining sounds good to me. But ask a question like “Do you support the ability for Labor unions to Collectively bargain even if it meant your taxes would go up” or “Do You think Public Employees should continue to contribute little to nothing of their benefits and pensions unlike most people” and see what kind of responses you get.

People tend to answer yes to raising taxes on “the rich” because the people who are not rich won’t be effected. So they think. But poll people if they think corporations should be taxed more even though it might mean you get a pay decrease AND pay more at the shopping market. See what results you get. Yes, push polling can be deceiving and can create obvious answers. But sometimes push polling provides more information than most people get most of the time….

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