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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

polled publics and government « Previous | |Next »
July 31, 2009

A report from the World Public Opinion people finds that majorities in 15 out of 19 countries surveyed want their governments to make climate change a higher priority. Germans think it's already high enough on the priority list, and Palestinians understandably have other things on their minds.

The naysayer campaign has had some success, in a roundabout way:

The poll also found that people tend to underestimate how high a priority their fellow citizens place on addressing climate change, with twice as many people saying they are above average than saying they are below average.

It's called the Lake Wobegon effect, believing that you care more than your fellow citizens. That must work in favour of governments looking to do as little as possible, if people think there's not much public enthusiasm for action. Clearly we need more opinion polls to counter the impression that the "debate" hasn't been settled.

Last night on Q and A, Anna Bligh was talking about abortion in Queensland, where a young couple are currently in trouble for an illegal termination. The transcript's not up yet. Even though it's well known that majority public opinion is pro-choice, Bligh said that any attempt at legislation would likely result in more pro-life legislation than we currently have.

What's with the huge disconnect between parliamentarians and the rest of us? Personally, I'd like to see a landmark electronic billboard, like the Coca Cola sign at Kings Cross, in every major population centre, constantly updating poll results on the issues of the day. We could get to know ourselves a lot better, and it would be harder for politicians to ignore a public that was more sure of itself.

| Posted by Lyn at 8:39 AM |