James S. Fishkin has pioneered (and trademarked) deliberative polling as a way of combining the generalizability of a random sample opinion survey with the citizen–expert and citizen–citizen dialogue characteristic of high-quality public engagement. Deliberative polls also usually include a media component aimed at bringing the experience of deliberation to a wider audience.

The goal of deliberative polling is to find out what a random sample of citizens would think if they had the time and resources necessary to carefully consider an issue. In contrast, most public opinion surveys include many subjects with little knowledge or engagement on a topic, resulting in unstable answers and superficial opinions. Consistent with the political theory of deliberative democracy, deliberative polls include an opportunity for participants to hear from carefully selected ...

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