We’ve been hearing plenty of public opinion polls on the presidential race and a variety of issues in New Jersey. Now, a new survey is getting residents’ opinions about the polling process.
Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, said most New Jersey residents believe that public opinion surveys play an important role in the democratic process.
“Fifty-five percent think that they do influence government decisions and policy making<” she said. “And 77 percent feel that political leaders should use poll results to help them understand public opinion on issues.”
More than half of those who responded to the survey said they trust the polls, but almost no one thinks they’re always accurate.
Koning said those with more education have the most faith in the process.
“Perhaps with more education there’s either more following of polls, more familiarity of polls,” she said. “Polls are based on the magic of statistics and things that you learn throughout college, those who are more educated seeing more of a role for polling in the political process.”
People participate in polls for many reasons, she said.
“Most people, it’s because they simply have the time to talk,” she said. “But there was also a strong showing for New Jerseyans who said that they wanted to be a part of the democratic process; they wanted their voice to be heard; and they even wanted to help out New Jersey, as if there were doing a good deed for New Jersey.”