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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Deliberative Polling in Canada Workshop

Report by James Fishkin

This report examines Deliberative Polling, a method for discerning public opinion developed by Dr. James Fishkin. This approach combines traditional public opinion polling with group deliberation. In order to explore this methodology, the Public Policy Forum held a workshop in November 2003, brining together some of Canada’s leading experts and practitioners on public consultation and engagement.

According to the Public Policy Forum, traditional opinion polling has serious flaws that limit their usefulness to policymakers. The main argument for this position is that citizens generally fail to acquire knowledge on policy issues before responding to poll questions. On the other hand, deliberative processes are found to yield better-informed and more reasoned opinions; that said, this methodology is not without its flaws as well. Accordingly, this report presents the advantages of and disadvantages of both traditional and deliberative polling.

At the workshop, the issue of same-sex marriage was chosen as a case study in order to explore the Deliberative Polling methodology. This report summarizes the workshop discussions, reviews the major themes in the same-sex marriage issue, and examines the key conclusions drawn. This report also contains a biography of Dr. Fishkin and a report from Justice Canada on the status of same-sex marriage in 2003.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): James Fishkin;
Publisher: Public Policy Forum [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2003; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Children & Family / Marriage
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Polling & Public Opinion Polls
Policy Articles / Children & Family / Marriage / 2003
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Polling & Public Opinion Polls / 2003
Policy Articles / Children & Family
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement

Keywords / Tags:

Deliberative Polling; public opinion polls; public consultation; citizen engagement; same-sex marriage; public education;