SAN FRANCISCO, CA A coalition of non-partisan reform organizations, academics and journalists today announced that they will partner with Stanford University’s Center for Deliberative Democracy to conduct California’s first-ever deliberative poll. This weekend event, called “What’s Next California?” will bring a randomly selected sample of the state’s registered voters together in Torrance for representative and thoughtful deliberation on a wide range of governance, finance and constitutional issues.
Unlike standard public opinion polls conducted via telephone, this “poll with a human face” allows participants to educate themselves on key issues, talk in small groups, question experts with competing perspectives and give reasoned answers to complex policy questions. The participant’s views will be recorded in identical before-and-after surveys.
“This event will give hundreds of everyday Californians who do not usually have the chance to weigh in on policy to make their voices heard on issues that affect each of us every day,” said Lenny Mendonca, an event organizer with California Forward and the New America Foundation. “We sincerely hope that the valuable data we glean will be taken seriously by lawmakers and reform organizations as they move forward.”
What’s Next California is being convened by a non-partisan, non-profit coalition of reform, academic and policy organizations including California Forward, the New America Foundation, the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University, the Public Policy Institute of California, the Nicholas Berggruen Institute, the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, and California Common Cause.
“A deliberative poll will provide a route to responsible advocacywhat the people of California would think about the issues if they really focused on them with good information.” said James Fishkin of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University.” . It will represent everyone under conditions where they can think about the difficult trade-offs in possible reforms “
The “What’s Next California?” Deliberative Poll will be held in Torrance, Calif., from June 24th through 26th. Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour will moderate the questioning of the expert panels by the citizen participants and anchor a documentary report on the event produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and broadcast on California’s PBS stations. .
To learn more please click here to read an op-ed by David Davenport and Lenny Mendonca from this weekend’s San Francisco Chronicle.