Issue Polling Predicts Results of 2023 Ballot Initiatives

The ballot results in Ohio and Maine have revealed yet again the accuracy of policy polls in predicting support for numerous policy proposals. The accuracy of policy polls shows that they can be a useful tool in addition to ballot initiatives. In our new article in The Fulcrum, Evan Charles Lewitus describes how legislators can and should rely more on policy polls to determine the views of their constituents.

On numerous issues, polling has been congruent with ballot results. Polls have shown consistent majority support for term limits, decriminalizing marijuana, increasing the minimum wage, and putting redistricting in the hands of independent commissions. All ballot measures on those policy proposals over the last decade have passed.

In Maine, prohibiting foreign spending to influence ballot measures and candidate elections was supported by 86% of voters, in line with a national survey by PPC that found 79% support. In Ohio, enshrining a right to abortion was passed by 57% of voters, in line with an Ohio poll that found 58% support, and with national polls that found similar majorities: 57% by Program for Public Consultation (PPC), 61% by Pew Research, and 64% by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist.

200+ Policy Positions Supported by Bipartisan Majorities

In our recent Baltimore Sun op-ed about how public consultation can safeguard democracy from artificial intelligence, Voice of the People announced it has now identified more than 200 policy positions on a wide range of federal issues supported by majorities of both Republican & Democratic voters, all issues on which Congress has been gridlocked.

While some believe that polarization in DC mirrors a divided public, public consultation has revealed far more common ground among the American people than in Congress.

The new findings of common ground include: restricting federal policymakers from buying stocks and lobbying former colleagues, federal funding for substance use disorder treatment, term limits for Congress, a $12 minimum wage, and not criminalizing abortion. These common ground ideas offer citizens good starting points for political conversations this holiday season.

Public Consultation’s Impact on the 2024 GOP Presidential Primary

Public opinion data, which shows that term limits in Congress are favored by a large bipartisan majority of voters, has made its way into the Republican presidential primary. Governor Ron DeSantis is the latest candidate to add this policy to his platform. And coverage of his support for term limits has included public opinion data from the Program for Public Consultation’s survey, which found 83% support (Republicans 86%, Democrats 80%).

Groundbreaking Cambridge University Research on the Power of Deliberative Town Halls

A new Cambridge University paper on the idea of “recursive representation” in democracies – an ongoing deliberative engagement between representatives and constituents – argues that town halls can be an effective addition to legislators’ toolbox. Town halls, specifically Deliberative Town Halls can provide a way, not only to reveal public opinion, but also re-engage and re-invigorate the portions of the public who have been ignored by their government or who have checked out due to cynicism about their political institutions. Such town halls have been recommended by numerous civic organizations, including the National Civic League, as a key method to “rebuild democratic relations.”

Substance Use Treatment

Put yourself in the shoes of policymakers by trying our policymaking simulation on federal funding for treatment of substance use disorders. In this simulation, you’ll get a briefing about the issue, learn the arguments for and against funding substance use disorder treatment for all who want it, and determine your recommendations. Once you finish the simulation, you’ll have a chance to send your recommendations to your Congresspeople.

Supporting our work this holiday season!

With the support of generous readers like you, Voice of the People has continued to give the people a greater and more effective voice in government. Please consider including us in your plans for charitable giving this year. You can donate online and all contributions are tax deductible.