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Another Political Epiphany

已有 2139 次阅读 2022-6-17 20:06 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

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Another Political Epiphany

Observers and audiences (including myself)  of recent political talk shows in the US must have asked themselves the  following question: “ Reliable polling result indicate that 70-90% of the population are in favor of issue XX (XX can be, for example “restricting the purchase of guns by people under the age of 21”), yet the US Senate  which is supposed to represent the people cannot muster 50-60% support to pass legislation enacting law to enforce issue XX? “. The typical answer which does not completely answer the question is “the lust for power and the money of the NRA (National Rifle Association) make the senators of the opposition party turn against the issue XX, As a result legislation cannot pass the US Senate. But then the follow-on question is “Doesn’t these senators afraid to be voted out of office by the people when they don’t vote for the issue XX?” Again the partial answer here is the long tenure of senators (6 years). Unless they are facing immediate re-election, issue XX may no longer be on people’s minds by the time the senator is facing re-election.

However, the other night, I heard of a much more appealing explanation of this phenomenon on the National Public Radio and it is this Polling results often do not accurately reflect actual voting sentiment. In polling, you are asked to express an opinion either anonymously or not. Either because you wish to appear as an informed citizen of high moral character since issue XX is for a good cause or because there are no consequences associated with expressing opinion in a polling question. Answering a polling question whether or not you will vote for XX does not actually commit you to do the same during the actual voting. And nobody actually knows what you actually voted since your vote is secret but have real consequences for you personally. For example, will you be able to buy a gun under the law at your age (every one is allow to vote and drive and in many States to buy a gun by age 18 in the US)?

 

It is because of this difference between polling and voting, predicting an outcome of an election is still an uncertain business and we have the famous saying “It ain’t over till it is over




https://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-1343419.html

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