© 2002

Polling, Policy, and Public Opinion

The Case Against Heeding the “Voice of the People”

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Robert Weissberg
    Pages 1-16
  3. Robert Weissberg
    Pages 17-48
  4. Robert Weissberg
    Pages 49-70
  5. Robert Weissberg
    Pages 71-93
  6. Robert Weissberg
    Pages 95-138
  7. Robert Weissberg
    Pages 139-173
  8. Robert Weissberg
    Pages 175-193
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 195-232

About this book


The opinion poll has become commonplace in politics and typically reveals public desires for greater government social welfare assistance, such as more aid for education or health care. These statistics seem to proclaim the welfare state's enduring popularity. Though sincere, these desires largely reflect how questions are asked. Unfortunately, polls usually lack basic economic restraints. There are no costs, risks or disasters in the world of polling. Market-based solutions are routinely excluded. This book works to reveal these shortcomings and clearly demonstrates why a government ruled by the vox populi would be folly.


care disaster education Government health politics public opinion state statistics

About the authors

ROBERT WEISSBERG is Professor of Political Science at University of Illinois-Urbana. He is author of Democracy and the Academy (2000) and has written for Forbes, The Weekly Standard, and the major political science journals.

Bibliographic information


'Excellent, stimulating this book will help Americans understand what they already suspect but cannot fully articulate.' - Benjamin Ginsberg, Johns Hopkins University

'Weisberg argues that the obsession that today's public officials display for polls is not a celebration of direct democracy...' - Washington Post