The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy


Public Opinion and Democratic Despotism

Filed under: Democratic Methods Polls & Statistics — eidelberg @ 1:18 am Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, June 25, 2007.

A waggish commentator defined opinion polls as foolish persons asking stupid questions of ignorant people. Nevertheless, it’s commonly believed that a country is democratic if public opinion more or less influences the government’s laws and policies. But what in all seriousness is “public opinion”?

A democracy can manifest four types of public opinion. I shall relate each type to Israel to see whether Israel is really a democracy, as its ruling elites would have us believe.

The first and most familiar type of public opinion is “media-generated” or “statistical” public opinion. (more…)