My poll, your poll!

My poll is bigger than your poll! Mine is more scientific. But mine is more academic. The “my poll,” “your poll” debate in Oklahoma between think tanks is entertaining, but not the kind of deep thinking one expects from these policy geniuses.

The Oklahoma Policy Institute put out a survey on Tax Day that shows waning support for more tax cuts if it means reductions in core services like education and transportation. OCPA operatives responded quickly to debunk the data.

But there’s really nothing new in the phenomenon. It’s like voters who claim to want to balance the U.S. government’s fiscal house. Everyone wants it balanced as long as it doesn’t touch grandma’s Social Security check.

Why are polls even considered in making public policy? I can write 50 questions in 50 different ways and find 50 different angles on an issue.

Now this is from me, the guy who has distributed his share of tax cut propaganda. The research that I have seen recently does suggest a shift in public opinion on the need for further income tax reductions if it threatens core services. Even Republicans are split on whether further reductions are necessary if it carves into education and transportation budgets.

How might we ask that question differently to get a different response? In my world of shameless political hackery, delaying the income tax reduction would amount to a tax increase, and that probably would not poll very well, especially among Republican primary voters.

I do wonder why policy-makers give an ounce of credence to polls unless they truly understand the complexity of the questions that were asked, and more importantly, were not asked. I’ll leave policy advise to those deep thinkers at the think tanks. But don’t blame the pollsters. They’re just making a few bucks, and chuckling as they bash each other’s data. “Your sample size isn’t nearly as big as mine, buddy!”

This post was originally published on Fount Holland’s political strategy blog. For more information about Fount Holland, please visit his official website.

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