Saturday, January 1, 2011

How to Frame the Question

Only one in five "likely voters" in America are for net neutrality, according to a new poll by Rasmussen. Fifty-four percent of respondents are outright opposed to regulation and 25 percent are not certain. ...the wording of the polling question querying these "likely voters" defines net neutrality in a very restricted way. The respondents were asked, "Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like it does radio and television?" With a topic as broad, and as complicated, as net neutrality, such a question addresses only one small part of the whole picture. For example, Rasmussen could just as legitimately have asked, "Should all internet users have the same access to the same Internet, regardless of how much they pay?" Or it might have asked, "Should broadband carriers have the ability to block or remove content based on their discretion alone?"

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