There is a very interesting article in the Washington Post regarding group dynamics and political perception. It focuses on the “Majority Illusion” and how the global perception of an issue can be dictated by how the individual believes other people feel about it.
Author Kevin Schaul summarizes, “…our flawed perception of some networks that relies on a logical proverb: We just don’t know what we don’t know. And in some networks, the information we do have, our sliver of local knowledge, can lead us to the false conclusion. Click here to read the article.
The article uses a fairly benign example of a small town and their consideration of baseball caps as a fashionable item. However, one can easily see how the example can be translated to larger public policy items among “small groupsâ€ of elected officials. The contrast between perception and reality is instructive on how many political decisions are made among like-minded individuals driven by their perception of what the majority thinks.
In politics, elected officials typically act based on what they perceive to be the “majority opinion“ which is often driven by precinct committee meetings or interactions with the primary voting electorate. These opinions can be counter to the majority of the electorate and often serve as a main reason behind fierce partisanism. The result is dissatisfaction in the political system and a perception that nothing ever gets done.
What’s the solution? As the article says, “Polling is an effective antidote to the majority illusion.
We here at HighGround are firm believers in strategies driven by data and tactics developed from experience. Not only do we help our clients get to the bottom of how the public feels about a particular issue, we help them understand how to talk about it. Click here to learn more.
HighGround has more than a decade of experience in determining and measuring statewide, regional, and local voter behavior. If you want to impact public policy, run for office, make a difference, or conquer the majority illusion, we can help you with the first step â€“ accurate, strategic survey data. Let us know how we can help you.