blog Time Hath Found Us: Valid or Not? The ABC/Washington Post on Judicial Nominees

April 28, 2005

Valid or Not? The ABC/Washington Post on Judicial Nominees

The worst thing any of us can do is to assume that because the people we know share our point of view then most people feel the same.

Take, for example, the recent poll commissioned by ABC and the Washington Post about public attitudes regarding changing the Senate rules involved with the confirmation of judicial nominees. While I'm not saying that I believe that the poll was unbiased, I also believe that maybe, just maybe, it really reflects the opinions of average Americans.

One of my favorite resources on polling is Mark Blumenthal - the Mystery Pollster. Mark readily admits that, in addition to market research polling, he is a Democratic pollster. Nevertheless, his experience and his rational explanations of the internals of the art and science of polling make him a must read before jumping to conclusions.

Different questions may produce greater support for the Republican position, as the various results presented above imply. Understanding public opinion with respect to judicial nominees is not about not about deciding which question is best, or whether any one question alone is biased. It is about measuring all attitudes, even the ones that conflict, and coming to a greater understanding of what it all means. The answers may be contradictory, but sometimes, so is public opinion.

The Mystery Pollster's take on the judicial poll shows us that, while we may not like the results, the poll may reflect reality. If there is truth here, then it is our responsibility to do something about it, not just wring our hands and cry foul. Think about it.