Americans Don’t Understand The Facts, and Polls Aren’t Helping

A Pew Research poll from February of 2008 showed that 21% of American Atheists believe in God. I want you to take half a second to absorb the absurdity of that fact…

I’ve been watching the heath care reform debate with as much interest as I had during the last presidential election, and I’ve come to this conclusion: our government needs to completely ignore the opinion polls on this issue.

21% of Atheists believe in God. No matter what the issue, and no matter how seemingly simple the question, there is going to be a significant portion of the people polled that simply don’t understand the question well enough to provide a valid answer. Add to that the websites, TV ads, chain e-mails, and even congress people spreading complete falsehoods about what is and is not being proposed that it’s no wonder the American people are confused, scared, angry, and ignorant. Most of this stuff is easily debunked (FactCheck.org), but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s toxic to any opinion sampling.

You’ll probably have noticed that both sides of this issue like to quote various polls that support their position. The problem is that people don’t understand the issues to begin with, which means any poll about that issue will be complete crap. Add on top of that the fact that even the pollsters themselves can’t always be trusted to understand the issue, and that even the slightest word choices could skew poll results wildly, and we’re left with the conclusion that there’s no way to validly sample public opinion about the current reform bill.

Thus, the government should ignore opinion polls on the health care issue.

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