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"Deliberative Polling" Shows Boise Residents Willing to Change Opinions

discussion participants Boise-area residents remain open to reconsider their political views even weeks before the November election - given the right environment and information.
After 117 Boise-area residents gathered Saturday to hash out issues on national security and economics, their collective political view softened on a central election-year issue: penalizing outsourcing.

Because they were selected through random sampling, Boise-area residents invited to PBS Deliberation Day matched the demographics of the area, but those who chose to participate in the event tended to be somewhat better educated and disproportionately Democratic and supportive of Sen. John Kerry for president than the larger sample.

participantParticipants met in small, moderated discussion groups before quizzing a bipartisan panel of experts to help clarify the issues. Each participant took a survey by phone during the selection process and then again after Saturday's event to see what people think after they have had a chance to learn, reflect and consider a range of opinions with their neighbors, a technique called "Deliberative Polling."

    Statistically significant changes include:
  • When they were first interviewed, only 89% of the participants were certain to vote, up 10% to 99% after the deliberation.
  • Before deliberation, 39% of the participants agreed either strongly or somewhat strongly that we must not hesitate to invade other countries that pose a serious threat to the U.S., even if we do not have the support of most of our allies. Post deliberation, 57% agreed with this statement.

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