by Joel Wendland
A recent Gallup poll astutely found that language and framing play a huge role in constructing and reflecting public opinion. Focusing on the financial crisis late last month, Gallup asked people two questions: 1) "Do you favor or oppose the federal government temporarily taking over major U.S. banks in danger of failing in an attempt to stabilize them?" 2) "Do you favor or oppose the federal government nationalizing major U.S. banks in danger of failing in an attempt to stabilize them?"
54% of respondents to question 1 said yes. Only 37% of respondents to question 2 said yes.
Gallup's conclusion is that public support for the issue depends on what you call. Astute.
But Gallup's own method might be inherently flawed. Four additional questions, at least should have been asked in order to get at the truth of public opinion on this question: 1) Should major banks in danger of failing be allowed to fail? 2) Do you favor permanently taking over major US banks in an attempt to keep them from failing? 3) Do you favor permanently nationalization major banks in an attempt to keep them from failing? 4) Do you favor creating a permanent national bank to compete with private banks?
I might be inclined to say yes to all of these.
What's most amusing about the survey's results is the extent of support for "taking over" banks. Suggests may be that the new GOP mantra that President Obama is a socialist might not have much in the way of legs.