Public opinion is a slippery concept

Source: EconLog
by Scott Sumner

“I frequently argue that there’s no such thing as public opinion. There is such a thing as public opinion polls. And there is such a thing as election results. But ‘public opinion’ is an ambiguous concept. What does it really mean? A few weeks ago, I did a post pointing out that when abortion bans were put on the ballot in North and South Dakota; they were defeated by a very substantial margin. And yet we are constantly being told that conservatives oppose abortion, despite those being two of America’s most conservative states. Another test of my theory occurred yesterday in Kansas.” (08/03/22)