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Network neutrality poll

Bipartisan Poll Shows the Majority of Americans Favor Video Choice Over Onerous Net Neutrality Regulations. Well, not exactly. The survey didn’t really “show”what the press release claims — surprise, surprise. The survey only shows that a small % of those polled has “read, seen or heard anything recently” about net neutrality. The press release claims that “an overwhelming majority of American voters favor video choice over onerous “Net Neutrality” regulations, ” but the poll doesn’t support that claim, and the poll question was deeply flawed (I must admit that I am not an expert on polling methodology). I took a quick look at the survey and the questions seemed just a bit biased. E.g.,

Which is Most Important to You?

Which of the following two items do you think is the most important to you:

(1) Delivering the benefits of new TV and video choice so consumers will see increased
competition and lower prices for cable TV
(2) Enhancing Internet neutrality by barring high speed internet providers from offering
specialized services like faster speed and increased security for a fee

Clearly (1), right? (1) sounds great and (2) sounds horrible. I wonder whether the outcome would be different if (2) said something like: Sustaining Internet neutrality by preventing internet service providers from discriminating among data packets routed on their networks based on the identity of users (i.e., who sends or receives the packet) or the identity of uses (i.e., how the packet will be used once delivered).

Well, that is probably too complicated for a poll question. But the point is that the question could easily be reworded to shift the emphasis from barring positives (better services) to barring negatives (discrimination).

Besides, even if the poll question wasn’t flawed, it doesn’t show what the press release claims: whether net neutrality regulations are “onerous” depends on which regulations you’re talking about and who you ask, and the poll question doesn’t mention the issue of how onerous the regulations might be.

In any event, I don’t usually have time to look at this stuff (press releases and polls) but a friend emailed the link to me and suggested it was important. It shouldn’t be.

1 thought on “Network neutrality poll”

  1. What’s really sad about this “poll” is that no one involved probably thought of it as in any way a scientific measure of public opinion (however relevant that may be to this extremely technical issue). It was designed to become a meme, unmoored from its laughable origins, a free-floating factoid to be strategically placed in the usual one-page think tank “backgrounder” designed for busy congressmen who, alas, have too little time to look at the footnotes.

    Sorry to go all Louis Lapham here, I’ve been too influenced by this Bewes book:

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