Tag Archives | public opinion

More Than Half the US Supports Legalisation of Cannabis

Picture: NARA (PD)

“Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, observing as far as my red eyes can see toking on a big fat f–king bong! Yeah, that’s right you f–kers in the future, suck it up. I smoked weed like a motherf–ker! Go Google it!”

– Thomas Jefferson[1]

The legalisation of cannabis meme seems to be reaching its tipping point. The Volokh Conspiracy reports:

A recent poll conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling indicates that 58% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. This is consistent with other recent survey data showing that public opinion is moving in a pro-legalization direction. In 2011, a Gallup poll showed 50% support for legalization for the first time. As with other recent surveys, the PPP polls finds that support for legalization is highest among younger people. But this is a generational effect in which each generation is more supportive of legalization than the one that came before, rather than a cohort effect in which the young are pro-legalization, but quickly turn against it once they get older.

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Does ‘Public Opinion’ Really Exist?

100602601_348e347e48_oFlip on cable news, and within twenty minutes the host will cite the latest survey as proof of which candidates should run for office and which foreign enemy we must now smite. Writing for New Left Media, John Brissenden tears apart the idea of opinion polls as a gauge for determining what anyone truly wants. The public may respond to opinion polls, but it’s the media, business, and political elite who compose the questions:

From its inception a century ago, and in its current construction, the terrain of ‘public opinion’ is far from being a neutral space where a representative democracy deliberates and resolves issues. At best, ‘public opinion’, as represented in opinion polls, is a deeply flawed mechanism for gauging the extent of wider support for a particular cause. At worst, it is hostile territory, constructed and owned by the ruling class.

In the 1920s, polling pioneers such as James Gallup advocated polls as a means of capturing and expressing the public will, in a more scientific – and therefore representative – way than, for example, pressure groups.

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If America Is On The Wrong Track, We Derailed Our Own Democracy

220px-Voter_pollAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

A recent McClatchy-Marist poll, written up in Talking Points Memo, says 64% of Americans believe that “the country is on the wrong track.” The article however, does not delve into exactly why the 64% surveyed believe America is on the road to ruin or what “wrong track” we’re on. The poll results give a little bit of speculative clarity, but not enough to take away anything really meaningful about the wants and needs of Americans – just an overall sense that things aren’t going so well and we’re still confused as to what to do about it.

Considering the economy still swims in the toilet, we’re still embroiled in two major wars and several small conflicts throughout the globe and the political bluster permeating the airwaves, it’s not too hard to believe  that most Americans think we’re driving on the wrong side of the road.

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