- Polls are a snapshot of the way people feel at that particular moment. Things can change. They often do.
- Polls that regularly release their findings to the public — with information about survey procedures and question wordings — are usually pretty good.
- Always look at the way poll questions are worded. That can make a huge difference.
- The best way to look at polls is to look at several of them taken at about the same time asking similar questions.
- Communications efforts themselves can promote social justice by changing the public’s mind about key policy issues.
- Very few non-profits integrate their communications strategies into broader, long term strategies of social justice.
- Many social sector organizations fail to use communications strategies to change the public’s mind about critical issues of the day. And that shortcoming can have serious policy implications.
It’s easy to forget that for a nine-month window between the 9/11 attacks and the summer of 2002, public anxiety about the Middle East didn’t have anything to do with Iraq. In August of 2002, the Bush administration deftly re-framed the national conversation by emphasizing the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his possible possession or acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, and the need to invade Iraq to mitigate that threat. Before that time, however, public anxiety coalesced around fears of an unfamiliar enemy, al-Qaeda, and the possibility that shadowy terrorists might somehow slip a nuclear weapon into a major American city. Often left unstated, these fears were deep.