Sunday , September 26 2021
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Pollsters are people too

Summary:
This poll caught my eye: This shows everything that is wrong with polling.  I wouldn’t even know how to answer the second question, because I don’t see what they are asking.  Required by whom?  Should there be a law requiring that everyone be vaccinated before boarding an airplane?  Of course not.  Should airlines require vaccination?  That’s up to them, but it certainly makes more sense than requiring that people take off their shoes before boarding, or that they wear a seatbelt. Perhaps I’m unusual, although I know many people that feel the same way.  On the other hand, maybe the “many people I know” are all quite unusual. For some reason, poll questioners really struggle with the distinction between, “is X a good idea” and “should X be mandated.” I see the two

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This poll caught my eye:

Pollsters are people too

This shows everything that is wrong with polling.  I wouldn’t even know how to answer the second question, because I don’t see what they are asking.  Required by whom?  Should there be a law requiring that everyone be vaccinated before boarding an airplane?  Of course not.  Should airlines require vaccination?  That’s up to them, but it certainly makes more sense than requiring that people take off their shoes before boarding, or that they wear a seatbelt.

Perhaps I’m unusual, although I know many people that feel the same way.  On the other hand, maybe the “many people I know” are all quite unusual.

For some reason, poll questioners really struggle with the distinction between, “is X a good idea” and “should X be mandated.” I see the two getting mixed up quite frequently.  On the other hand, maybe the public also struggles to distinguish between those two views.  After all, pollsters are people too.

PS.  Should children be required to brush their teeth?  And if so, by whom?  Parents?  Government officials?

Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment". In May 2012, Chicago Fed President Charles L. Evans became the first sitting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to endorse the idea.

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