Gallup Polls, How to Bamboozle the Public

    The Gallup Poll question:

    In your opinion, which of the following will be the biggest threat to the country in the future - big business, big labor, or big government?

    The poll seems like some stupid question on a grade school standardized test:

    'Billy is playing his plug in radio while bathing in the bathtub, in your opinion, the biggest threat to Billy's future is big water, big electricity, or big slippery soap?'

    ANSWER: For Billy, it's the combination of the electricity and the water that's the threat. But that's not a choice!

    Similarly, big business and big government can present a threat to the nation's future.  Think of the water as money, and electricity as the power of government.  Money attracts the power. Money is a threat that the Gallup poll doesn't address. We can assume for a reason. There is a method, framing and bias, in the poll.

    The framing of the poll assumes that the three entities mentioned are mutually exclusive.  Gallup implies that there are no connections between business, labor and government. Gallup ignores the obvious, there are, of course, deep connections between government, business and labor, and you can tabulate them on a spreadsheet with dollar signs in front of the numbers.

    Both business and labor try to get the kind of 'big government' they prefer. With dollars. Call it big money. In recent elections, big business has had far more money in the game then labor.

    Big money, which isn't a choice in the poll, is the biggest player in our elections. Money can bend government to it's will and it's interests over all other national needs, issues or policy. Big money and big business are nearly synonymous, one goes with the other. Big business generally does not support 'big government' programs like Medicare or Social Security that most Americans would not consider a 'threat' to the nation's future.

    The Supreme Court says money is speech, and corporations are people.  If money is speech, than the rich have the loudest voice in the nation's capitol. With the Citizens United ruling, the sky is the limit for big money to fund politicians and gain influence in government.

    Money and politics have a long, often corrupt connection with government in America. A tie which the Gallup organization isn't apparently interested in evaluating or polling on. How can this corruption harm the nation?  War is a big business, and 'defense' industries can profit from war. Those profits can, and are, fed back to the politicians in government who instigate a war. Business makes profits while the nation pays in blood and treasure. Business may also push for less pollution controls, less financial regulation, lower taxes for themselves and special government favors, monopolies, special rates, laws and exclusive contracts. All to make it legal to fleece the public.

    On the Gallup poll 'threat' graph, one of the lowest levels of 'threat' for 'big government' was when the poll started, in 1965, when LBJ increased US troops in Vietnam by a factor of 10, and the US fully committed to the Vietnam War. It turned out to be a huge disaster for both the US and Vietnam. But Bell Helicopter in Texas made a lot of money, as did other 'defense' companies.

    Although there is no question that big defense business approved the push to war in Vietnam, at no point during the Vietnam War did citizens primarily blame any of the three, business, labor or government for the war, as all three ended up the same level of threat in the mid to late 70's as in 1965. Citizen threat assessment was nearly equal in all categories, with business faring best and government worst.

    There was an uptick for the threat of big government from 1966-1970, perhaps related to the Civil Rights Act of 1968, or the Medicare and Medicaid legislation of 1965. Medicare was touted by the right wingers as tantamount to socialism and a slippery slope to the likes of communism. 'Big labor' was considered a 'threat' over 'big business' until the late 1970's, once 'big business' was able to cut union participation and wages, it seems Americans no longer considered labor a threat. Make sense? Not to me. I believe the nation would be better off with stronger unions.

    The 'big government' threat took a big drop in 2001, the year of 9/11, when 'small government' George W. Bush took office. Bush brought anything but smaller government. Showing that Americans perceptions of threats may have more to do with expectations created by media, political propaganda and rigged polls than what is really going on. The Bush administration brought us 9/11, and two pointless, bloody and expensive wars, and an economic collapse which required the biggest 'big government' bailout in US history. Apparent Americans briefly recognized that big government may be necessary in times of national economic collapse, as 'big government' as a leading threat dropped back below 50% briefly in 2009.

    The Gallup poll is listed by Jeffrey Jones, Princeton. Don't they have anything better to poll on than this? Gallup has been asking this poll question since 1965, showing at least that they have carried on a tradition of rigged, deceptive polls for 50 years.


    You gloss over some of the arguments re: Citizens United - some items that Greenwald covered pretty well a while back.

    If I as a citizen want to grab my camera, film Bush keeping protesters away from the 2004 campaign, and put this on TV - I wouldn't be allowed, because I'd fall foul of the FCC's rules on campaign spending. My effort would be "campaign spending", and all of that was already paid for.

    The Constitution allows for "free speech", but doesn't specifically say you're allowed a reasonable distance from where you want to speechify, so if we go with the bizarre, they can put you off in the woods with the Rainbow Festival so no one ever hears all that glorified speech.

    Aside from "location, location, location", many things we speak out about require funds to make that speech reasonably effective (not just overblown). Presumably all that free texting and tweeting during campaign 2008 could have been calculated to have a dollar value - including bandwidth, consultant time, obvious value as advertisement, along with campaign organizing, etc. - and could have been subject to spending laws.

    The backdrop of Citizens United is also a near monopoly on effective advertisement by TV media and the ever-more consolidated print media and the horribly manipulated presidential debates. If I can't get my opinion on a TV station or near front page, my opinion sinks like a stone in the ocean. Citizens' United put together a low-budget film compared to the billions in corporate media, but that anti-Hillary film was prevented from screening due to spending laws, and the obligation to filter everything through the dysfunctional and manipulated US elections system.

    Of course there are lots of problematic repercussions from Citizens United - but many of the complaints ignore the unsustainability of the current system in this MSNBC/General Electric day and age, when the Washington Post is indebted to Kaplan education & the Department of Education, and Judy Woodward / NYTimes/Fred Hyatt/WaPo are helping our DoD, and the media keeps Iraq protests off the air, and 60 Minutes is busy helping conservatives bolster a debunked Benghazi "scandal" through another Oprah/Million Little Pieces-like huckster job.

    Good points. With all the chicanery and secret campaign spending from politically connected 'public welfare' tax free organizations, GOP vote suppression, no doubt big money is the number one threat to good government, and the nation. Why, because it suppresses what is bad for big money. Money makes it's own rules in this country, before, during and after elections.

    With collapsing infrastructure left over from the 60's, rising sea levels and climate change, huge economic inequality and a myriad of other issues facing the nation, government is the only institution we have to meet the challenges we face. Gallup didn't poll on the threat of big money, or what threats people were afraid of, Gallup/MSM, play polls like horse races. Clearly the data from this poll going back to 1965 is a product of media hype and propaganda. The data is worthless except as an indicator of media control of citizens opinions of reality.

    The establishment media has been a sycophantic servant to power for as long as big money was to be made from newspapers, radio or TV. I no longer watch any network news or pay any attention to the pundits. I recall the punditry saying 'no one could have known there were no WMD in Iraq!' when millions were in the streets protesting before Bush launched the invasion in March, 2003. No sane person would have believed Iraq was a threat to America, only people too brainwashed by MSM TV. The protestors knew it was a ginned up war for oil $$$. It didn't work out exactly as the war profiteers planned, but they made a lot of money anyway.  No surprise.  I remember 'small government' Bush putting fences around protestors and calling it 'a free speech zone' as you mention. This from the Party that flaunts the Constitution as justification for everything they want to do or say.

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