Are we inconsistent with surveys or consistently being led by surveyors?

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I saw this and wondered what it was about people that at the same time as many are opening up to the idea that the war on drugs has been a monumentally expensive failure, and that we should at least be having an adult discussion about alternatives to prohibition, many others are responding to surveys about tobacco and alcohol by saying yes, there should be more health warnings, restrictions on advertising, sales and marketing, more price controls and more banning – all the stuff that’s a prelude to actual prohibition, basically. Is this yet another example of people’s propensity for cognitive dissonance, or is there a hint of what’s going on in the first few paragraphs (my bold)?

More than half of Australians support reduced legal penalties for use of drugs like cannabis and ecstasy, an analysis of a government survey shows.

The findings contrast with the Nielsen poll released yesterday which showed that two-thirds of people opposed decriminalisation.

But that is explained by the different way the poll questions were structured says Alison Ritter, who heads a drug policy modelling program at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

Wow, this seems strangely familiar. Where have I heard something like this bef… oh, yes, now I remember.

British sitcom again blurring the lines between comedy and doco. So if opinion polls are saying that we should be going easier on drugs at the same time as cracking down on smokers, drinkers and everyone else in the health nannies’ gunsights suspect the people asking the questions of inconsistency and cognitive dissonance at least as much as those responding to them.

Posted on May 22, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. michaeljmcfadden

    Excellent points and excellent clip Angry! I’ve made a similar argument about the smoking ban polls over the years. Here’s one of my notes about it regarding the consistent Anti results of 70% or so being in favor of whatever sort of ban they want:


    One of the tricks that antismoking polls depend on is the likelihood that most “Socially Responsible” people will be against smoking and “Socially responsible” people tend to be regular and likely voters, and, while I don’t have the stats on it, my guess is that parents with children (another demographic group more likely to be generally in favor of a ban because they see “no ban” as equal to “people smoking in McDonald’s like they used to”) are more likely to be voters than people without children. So limiting a poll to likely

    The net effect is likely to bump the numbers in favor of the ban by 5% or 10% or more all on its own. The result is going to be obvious… particularly when 75% of the population being polled to begin with doesn’t engage in the activity being asked about and probably at least mildly disapproves of it. See my more extended analysis of the poll in two comments at: {also reproduced below the body of this email for your convenience}.

    As one of the responders to the news story on this poll pointed out, these polls are xerox copy polls that have been done in dozens of towns, cities, counties, and states where bans are being considered and they always give the same results: as they are cleverly and professionally designed to do. Remember the Mellman Group Pollsters’ promise on their website:

    “Some pollsters simply report on opinions. We use the most sophisticated analytical tools available to understand the motivations of consumers and voters so we can intervene in their decision-making processes to produce the outcomes our clients want.”

    Pollsters are clever: Imagine if I wanted to change a law that would make punishments slightly greater for those who commit certain types of crimes. Chances are that 80% would approve … since most folks are law-abiding and see nothing bad about punishing those who aren’t.

    BUT NOW… imagine how the vote would go if I described the punishment increase as being borrowed from Muslim Sharia law! Same punishment, slightly different (but accurate) description of it, but the poll would probably be 80% AGAINST it instead of 80% for it — because of the widespread degree of prejudice against Muslims in a largely Christian country!

    One thing you’ll note if you look around the country at these polls is that there have been a LOT of them (always with virtually the same results of course!) but that you will never, ever, EVER see a poll of “the workers” that the Antismokers are claiming to represent and protect. Will those in favor of a ban support such a polling or voting of the workers?Of course not: because they know those workers by and large want nothing to do with them and their ban and hate them with a passion for threatening their lives and livelihoods.


    – MJM

  2. Yet another example of policy based evidence. Don’t add it to the files, though, they may undergo gravitational collapse due to the sheer density of the cunts that authorised them.

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