Why Leaders Should Not Follow Opinion Polls

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Why Leaders Should Not Follow Opinion Polls Leaders usually seek all possible advice before they arrive at their decisions. They want to use every means available for determining what the people want and what people believe about current issues. Public opinion polls can furnish one form of evidence which they can use together with evidence from other sources. A Leader would probably not rely solely on the polls for an estimate of public opinion, but he could be expected to use the public’s opinion. To what extent should leaders rely on polling results to guide them in voting on legislation? Partially it will depend on how well the pollster informs the public on the Leader’s issues. It is not important to correct the prevailing opinion on popular questions as much as correcting the inaccuracies of polling results. Eighty-one percent say when making "an important decision" government leaders "should pay attention to public opinion polls because this will help them get a sense of the public's views." Only 18 percent of the public said "leaders should not pay attention to public opinion polls because this will distract them from deciding what they think is right." When the public was asked whether they think that "elections are the only time when the views of the people should have influence, or that also between elections leaders should consider the views of the people as they make decisions," an extraordinary 94 percent say that government leaders should pay attention to the views of the public between elections. Closely related to the dissatisfaction with the degree of government responsiveness to the public is the widespread perception that decisions are not being made in the public's best interest. When the public was asked, “Would you say that this country is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves, or that it is run for the benefit of all the
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