To NBC and the Wall Street Journal: Bring back a pair of great poll questions

In July, Hart/Newhouse, the polling firm behind the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, included a pair of questions about the riskiness/safety of John McCain and Barack Obama as president.

When asked who “would be the riskier choice for president – John McCain or Barack Obama,” the results were 35 percent for McCain and 55 percent for Obama. When asked who “would be the safer choice for president,” the results were 46 percent for McCain and 41 percent for Obama.

The numbers should be mirror opposites, but a clear framing effect skews them. The question never appeared before July, and was dropped in the August poll. To NBC and the Wall Street Journal: On behalf of behavioral economists, political psychologists, and generally curious American voters, throw us a bone and bring back the questions.

Addendum: @ Tristan. Check out this post if you haven’t already.

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  • Tristan

    I’d love there to be this question:

    Would you be willing to personally to pay to reduce the effects of climate change? (Possibly “how much per week would you be willing to pay).

    Would you be willing to accept an increase in the tax on gasoline?

    Essentially they are talking about a similar, if not excatly the same thing (even more so if the tax money on gasoline was diverted directly into a fund to work on reducing the effects of climate change through innovative stratagies). However, my guess is that the first question would yeald a much higher percentage than the second.

    I’m from Australia and the government was elected on a platform that included climate change policy changes, but the same voters seem to be kicking up a stink about the government not reducing tax surcharge on petrol at the pump…