Why political opinion polls are good

If you think that polls are destroying democracy, then think about an alternative. Without polls, politicians, special interests and certain members of the news media would still have strong incentives to make forceful claims about the public’s views. Unconstrained by credible polling data, these individuals could spin incredible stories about the great public support for their endeavors.

This, by the way, is not a hypothetical situation. It is exactly how claims about public opinion are circulated and adjudicated in a range of democratic and authoritarian regimes that lack credible polling organizations. Without good polls, it is difficult or impossible to confront bold claims by powerful people. Ask Vladimir Putin.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/11/30/does-polling-undermine-democracy/polls-can-give-people-a-stronger-voice

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