Contrary to George Bishop's claim, collective deliberation and cue-taking permit even poorly informed individuals to form opinions that can accurately reflect their values and interests in light of available information. Statistical aggregation of poll results can smooth out offsetting errors and uncertainties and reveal collective preferences that are real, stable, consistent, coherent, differentiated, and responsive to information: preferences that policy makers should pay attention to. Media polls tend to be more useful for this purpose than academic surveys that encourage don't know responses and use information-based filters that bias estimates of collective preferences against lower-income citizens, minorities, and others who tend to be less well informed. Media polls frequently ask about specific policy issues relevant to policy makers. Even biased poll questions of certain kinds can provide useful information about collective policy preferences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations
- Literature and Literary Theory