public opinion

On civility in public policy discourse

Is the polite facade crumbling?

“There are winners and losers in every election, but just because you don’t like the results or how the results were achieved doesn’t warrant what’s going on right now,” said Jeanette Doran, the executive director of the conservative N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law. “There used to be this measure of Southern gentility. ... But when things get hardball, it sort of shocks the gentility.”

And very often that Southern gentility masked a deep undercurrent of bigotry, injustice, and undue influence being wielded by shadowy business interests that were anything but genteel. I'd rather have a public brawl, which just may reveal deeper motives, than a backroom deal that goes virtually unnoticed, any day of the week.

Poll details vast opposition to education cuts

Republicans love to talk about "mandates". Well, here's your mandate from the people:

78 percent said they would support keeping the one-cent sales tax increase if the money was used to limit cuts to public schools, community colleges, and universities. 73 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents, and 80 percent of Democrats support it.

And in case any on the right (or whichever side) doubt the accuracy of this poll, read on.

Holiday project: Taking the pulse

One of the good things about the holidays is that families are drawn together to celebrate. One of the bad things about the holidays is that families are drawn together to celebrate. You'll not find deeper love nor deeper ideological divisions in any other association, which is why many people anticipate these gatherings with both longing and trepidation.

It's also safe to say that many reading this consider themselves to be very well-informed, and with good reason. And you probably have a low tolerance for the meme-spouting, mean-spirited types who love to place the blame for the world's problems smack on the shoulders of those who suffer the most and are least responsible for said problems. Every family has a few of these types, but instead of arguing with them or clenching your teeth and ignoring them, there's a third thing that I'd like you to try, and it may just help both of you see better.

From the boardroom to your livingroom

You often hear people complain that our elected officials ignore the needs and desires of the folks on Main Street, but that's not really true, is it? Public opinion and perceptions play a major role in political campaigns, and a candidate ignores them at his or her own peril. But that doesn't mean we're getting closer to sound policy solutions either. Those opinions and perceptions can be manipulated by powerful people with an agenda, who sit back and watch each act of the play unfold.

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