The results of an opinion poll, dubbed "Bean Poll" because opinions were expressed by placing dried beans in jars, seem to show many Ohio Valley residents want changes in our foreign policy. Another poll sampled attitudes toward the news media and censorship. Beyond checking the pulse of area citizens, the purposes of these opinion polls are to stimulate thinking and discussion about government and public affairs, and to promote awareness that contributes to intelligent voting and good citizenship.
The two "Bean Polls" were conducted at the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival on Sept. 27-30 by Ohio Valley PEACE. Similar "Bean Polls" were conducted at the Pumpkin Festival in the previous fourteen years. While Festival visitors were invited randomly to participate, those doing so volunteered. The results of these informal polls do give an indication of the sentiment of folks in this area, though a scientifically designed poll might produce more accurate numbers.
Both opinion polls consisted of six questions, each attached to a pair of Mason jars. Participants chose a response by dropping a dried bean in one of the jars.
The poll titled "Foreign Policy" consisted of the following six questions with the response percentages:
1. Should the U.S. be attacking countries that have not attacked us? (9% yes, 88% no)
2. Should the U.S. be attempting to overthrow governments of other countries? (10% yes, 90% no)
3. Should U.S. intelligence officials be prosecuted for lying about intelligence collected? (84% yes, 16% no)
4. Does U.S. foreign policy overuse sanctions? (65% yes, 35% no)
5. Should the U.S. be assassinating foreign leaders? (18% yes, 82% no)
6. Is drone warfare likely to create more enemies than it kills? (78% yes, 22% no)
A second poll named "News Media and Censorship" offered the following six questions:
1. Should we trust the government to censor offensive or non-factual news? (7% yes, 93% no)
2. Should we trust non-governmental fact checkers to censor offensive or non-factual news? (33% yes, 67% no)
3. Is it better to allow dissenting content and let the public decide what is factual? (74% yes, 26% no)
4. If offensive speech is censored, will that be an excuse to censor dissenting speech? (53% yes, 47% no)
5. Are there independent news sources that you trust more than the mainstream news? (80% yes, 20% no)
6. Are you concerned that Facebook, Twitter, etc. feel government pressure to censor alternative news? (66% yes, 34% no)