Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Friedman Exposes His Ignorance (or Hypocrisy)

A public opinion poll has revealed that phraseology in asking a question affects the answer given. This is not exactly news. Public opinion researchers have known this for decades.

So, Friedman uses these poll results to claim that if politicians explain the possible benefits of a $2 dollar a gallon gasoline tax, Americans of all economic classes will overwhelmingly approve it.

Baloney!

When people are asked a question such as: "Would you approve a $2 per gallon gasoline tax if the tax would help to reduce global warming?" respondents instantly recognize what the "right" answer is. So, they give the right answer. It does not commit them to anything and it avoids a potentially awkward situation.

Answers to hypothetical questions on surveys do not, repeat do not, predict behavior. Pollsters know this and most politicians know this. Friedman does seem not know this or maybe cushioned by his high income, just doesn't care.

Not a good move, Tom.

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