There has been some discussion about the rise in recent gas prices and its effect on public support to drill on public lands. Polls are being tossed around and their results are as diverse as the questions – mostly we’ve seen Oil Industry sponsored polls suggesting widespread support for more drilling.
Ralph has suggested that respondents’ can flip dramatically depending on how a question is asked. I’ve suggested that polls are often conducted with a normative rather than descriptive aim, e.g. with the shrewd political aim of generating short-term political capital to pass or stop legislation rather than gain any objective understanding of how a population feels.
In short, polls are as easily used as political weapons as social descriptors. Obviously, the better pollsters go to great lengths to avoid bias.
One couldn’t cast a healthy dose of skepticism on Oil Industry polls purporting that ‘America’s want to drill public lands’ in good faith without imparting a similar suggestion to be thoughtfully critical of polls that claim otherwise. With this in mind – some good news ! :
Evaluate the questions for yourself – National Survey conducted by Belden Russonello & Stewart