By the People is a special project organized by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions to bring the views of informed, “ordinary” citizens to a national discussion on the important issues of the day. Since its launch in 2002, BTP has supported well over 200 Citizen Deliberations around the country and more than 100 national and local PBS broadcasts, on issues ranging from national security to healthcare.
For the first time, over 200 California public high school seniors from the Bay Area participated in a Deliberative Poll on the issues of voting rights and the value of being informed about politics and public policy. Over the course of one school day, students deliberated with one another on the Stanford University campus and had the opportunity to hear from leading experts in the field.
The Power 2010 Deliberative Poll took place January 9th – 10th in central London. A scientific sample of the UK provided by YouGov were brought together to discuss the proposals for democratic reform submitted by members of the public, producing a shortlist to be put to the public vote.
What kind of Parliament would Europeans elect if they knew, thought, and talked much more about the issues? An experiment conducted in Brussels gives a picture of how the votes for Parliament might be different.
How might Deliberative Polling® be used on college campuses to engage students, faculty, staff, and/or members of the broader community in discussions of public issues? Could those deliberations contribute to a more informed community, to better democratic processes, and to the strengthening of the work of preparing undergraduates to be informed, engaged citizens?
By the People — through its local public television and community organization partners — hosted Citizen Deliberations in 11 communities around the country focused on the rights and responsibilities of citizens, as they relate to issues of local importance. The local deliberations were accompanied by a national Online Deliberative Poll exploring 21st century citizenship in America. Weekly discussions were held online using audio chat software developed for deliberative polling®. Participants joined a circular meeting space for a moderated discussion using their computer microphones.
One of the two leading political parties in Greece, PASOK, used Deliberative Polling® to select its candidate for mayor in the city of Marousi. Marousi is where the Olympics were held and is in the Athens area. This is the first time that a political party has used Deliberative Polling to democratize candidate selection. The Deliberative Poll serves the same function as a primary. If the experiment is successful, we anticipate wider use for the same purpose.
After day-long "Citizen Deliberations," Americans from ten cities across the United States said they believed establishing a democracy in Iraq was less important than ensuring the country has a stable government. They also strongly favored involving the United Nations or other countries in the rebuilding of Iraq and rejected the notion that the United States should be able to unilaterally invade other countries that appear to pose a threat, without international support.