Posted on Jul 09, 2010
John M Grau
I like to read the results of opinion polls and surveys, but I also have a love/hate attitude toward them. If the results agree with my own opinions, I think the poll is great and will use it to justify my point of view. If the poll tells me something I don't agree with, I question its methods and validity.
So I was really conflicted when I saw the results of a recent Harris Interactive survey about public attitudes toward groups that influence government policy.
The poll found that 57% of Americans believe that trade associations unduly influence government policy and politicians. (I guess they feel that’s a bad thing). Unions had the same percentage rating.
The top influence groups, according to the survey, are big business (87%), followed by banks, financial institutions, political action committees and lobbyists (all tied at 83%).
Other groups cited as having undue influence are the news media, entertainment and sports celebrities, and trial lawyers. (These would top my list).
On the other side of the equation, a whopping 93% say small businesses have too little power, and 67% say nonprofit organizations are not powerful enough.
So I started to wonder what the public would think of a lobbying, non-profit trade association of small union businesses that funds a political action committee.
I’d put it right at 50% – whether that’s too much or too little influence – you pick.