Information and Analysis We Can All Use

Published: October 19, 2020

By Jim Lichtman
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The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue. – Edward R. Murrow, 20th century journalist.

No doubt Murrow would be outraged by Donald Trump’s daily false information and governance by tweet, but… he and his staff would be working overtime to get the honest information out there.

John Zogby has been working to provide honest information and analysis through his polling for more than 30 years. (He has also conducted several polls for this writer.)

While his surveys measure the political horse race of the moment, Zogby’s interested in digging deeper to understand how people think and feel about issues. Another distinction is that he draws responses from a near even number of democrats and republicans. A recent poll shows the race between Trump and Biden to be closer than others claim.

Teamed with his son and partner, Jeremy — who adds a strong background in history — the two complement one another in their weekly podcasts. In calm, clear voices based on current data and events, they offer their analysis and opinions as to what that information may foretell.

And here’s the part I like: when you’re listening, you can clearly tell the data exchange from the opinion exchange, unlike media pundits who opinionate the day’s events with messaging that tends to tell the listener what to think.

In addition, the younger Zogby distills the latest polling and analysis along with occasional historical perspective into his IntelligenSEER, a weekly report that asks us to step back from the “brush fire” of the moment and look at our political and cultural future —  information that is more relevant than ever.

For millennials, think of Jeremy as Zogby 2.0.

In the current issue, “The Search for Common Ground,” Jeremy’s data shows us that “common ground does exist among Americans,” something clearly absent in the halls of Washington.

When asked, How willing are you to concede to the other party on one of your top two issues to move forward with the other? — virtually half of Americans (40 percent/willing vs. 42 percent/unwilling) would concede to the other party on top issues such as Covid-19, and healthcare, in order to move the country forward. And yet, Washington continues to be less interested in common ground than maintaining their Us vs. Them mindset.

In analyzing the question, Jeremy writes, “A cynic could say that in our search for unity, we found division. But on the contrary, amidst all of this disunity, it is a surprise that so many Americans are willing to meet halfway on one of their top two political issues. It is like the biological equivalent of giving one kidney to an opponent in need.”

“Regarding reform, such as term limits for House Representative, Senators, and bureaucrats at federal agencies, do you agree or disagree? — a whopping 83 percent of both Democrats and Republicans agree.

“Regarding reform, such as removing big-money influence entirely from election campaigns, do you agree or disagree? — 87 percent agree vs. 6 percent who disagree.

“The obvious question,” Zogby asks, “is, who are the people who disagree with such wildly popular sentiment?

“The obvious answer is those who benefit from the lack of term limits and the ability to pour money into election campaigns. …our political system,” Jeremy emphasizes, “has been hijacked by a tiny class who profit handsomely, while all the rest inherit the chaos of a rotten system.

“Americans are unified in their sentiment for term limits and removing Corporate-PAC donations from election campaigns,” Zogby concludes. “However, as long as the ethos is that the two political parties are agents for change, the public will remain stuck in the political equivalent of the boom/bust cycle in which one party gets elected with just enough enthusiasm that the nation will move forward until the expectation bubble bursts 4 or 8 years later, and the next party comes in. And so on. Eventually, Americans, like a hamster on a wheel, will grow tired.

“The question is, will the nation muster up enough courage to go forth with the changes that our poll shows they emphatically rally behind? As of now, it does not appear so.”

Other reports similarly dig deeper: “Change is Gonna Come,” and “What a Renaissance Would Look Like Today.”

Wading through the flood of information we face daily makes it more and more difficult in choosing who and what to believe. For many, the task is so frustrating and confusing that they just give up, which is the worst choice of all.

Reading the IntelligenSEER will cause you to think about what we believe and where we are heading rather than relying on others to do our thinking for us.

“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people,” Jefferson wrote.

But if we abdicate our responsibility to that essential; if we fail to properly inform ourselves before making decisions that affect us all, we fail as a country.


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