August 3, 2010

Gallup's opinions on illegal immigration?

Gallup polls tend to get my attention less than Rasmussen polls because they don't focus on likely voters.  But those polls are better for gauging the mood of the country as a whole.  In any case, I never much looked beyond the polling from Gallup because of that fact.  That is until this post on Gallup caught my eye.
Frank Newport discusses "Doing What's Right" with respect to illegal immigration.
When an elected representative says that he or she is doing what is right, they really aren't telling us much. Basically, doing what “is right” is another way of saying “doing what I want to do.” (It is safe to assume that most politicians think that whatever they want to do is, by definition, the “right” thing to do.)
The significant question, to me at any rate, revolves around the specific inputs that an elected representative is using in deciding what is “right.” Any decision is based on something. Personal judgment? The judgment of advisers and aides? Instructions from party bosses? Political judgment of what has the best chance to win elections? The views of lobbyists, special interest groups, contributors? The position of the stars in the heavens?
Or. The views of the people who elected the person to represent the politician to begin with?
The latter is what constitutes doing what is "popular" in many of these elected representatives' minds. And I've never been entirely clear why these representatives are so quick to downgrade its importance. I find it hard to argue that taking into account the views of the people who elect the representatives is a bad thing.
If we substitute "the people" for "popular" and "what he wants to do" for "what is right," we have this paraphrased statement by Robert Gibbs: “The president was not elected to do what the people want him to do. He was elected to do what he wants to do.”
It's safe to say that the view expressed represent those of Frank Newport rather than Gallup itself.  But the article in itself is a refreshing insight into what someone at Gallup is thinking, rather than simply polling and reporting it as fact, with no frame of reference as to political inclination of the author/producer of the poll.

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