Op-ed: Can randomly selected groups of people decide complex issues, bring back trust in democracy?

By James Fishkin, 7 August 2018
Credit: Illustration by NISHANT CHOKSI
Credit: Illustration by NISHANT CHOKSI
The idea of deliberative polling is straightforward enough. We aim to give citizens a chance to think through difficult issues under conditions that encourage informed deliberation. To achieve this, we use pollsters to gather a random sample of people, a microcosm of society, but we don’t just ask them to react to sound bites and headlines, as is done in conventional polling. We start instead with an agenda put together by an advisory committee representing different points of view on an issue. They create briefing materials that strive for a balanced, accessible account of the debate. The people in our sample review these materials, question the competing experts and then deliberate about the best course of action. They offer their views in confidential questionnaires. Once they’ve decided, we compare these considered judgments to the views they had before going through this process.
Read the full article here: WSJ


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