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Carnival

US PBS TV's Point Taken Programme asks "Should Paying For Sex Be A Crime?"

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The chairman of the debate did a good job of keeping the discussion balanced but the standard of debate was awful on both sides. It was ill-informed and neither side presented much in the way of evidence nor was able to challenge assertions from the other side.

At the start of the debate 28%, of the studio audience, said buying sex should be illegal. By the end of the debate this had risen to 47%. Of the wider audience (on-line poll), at present, 73% think buying sex should be made illegal (ie. they support the Nordic Model). This is maybe not surprising, given the puritanical attitudes that are widespread in USA.

These is a lesson here, I think. Anyone participating in public debate needs to be well informed and have evidence to refute false claims from the other side.  

 

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41 minutes ago, Dave451 said:

The chairman of the debate did a good job of keeping the discussion balanced but the standard of debate was awful on both sides. It was ill-informed and neither side presented much in the way of evidence nor was able to challenge assertions from the other side.

At the start of the debate 28%, of the studio audience, said buying sex should be illegal. By the end of the debate this had risen to 47%. Of the wider audience (on-line poll), at present, 73% think buying sex should be made illegal (ie. they support the Nordic Model). This is maybe not surprising, given the puritanical attitudes that are widespread in USA.

These is a lesson here, I think. Anyone participating in public debate needs to be well informed and have evidence to refute false claims from the other side.  

 

Where did you get that figure from Dave? As far as I can see from the detailed results of the wider poll conducted in association with the programme (see http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/usapolls/us160524/Point Taken/Prostitution/Exclusive Point Taken-Marist Poll_Prostitution Banner 2_May 2016.pdf#page=2):

49% of adults said that prostitution between consenting adults should be legal

44% of adults said that prostitution between consenting adults should not be legal

As you say, attitudes in the USA are a lot more puritanical than over here where similar polls tend to evince a pro-sex work majority of nearer to 80%, but nevertheless the pros in the above poll did outnumber the antis.

What does seem odd about this poll, however, when you look at the detail, is that although 49% of the adults surveyed said that prostitution between consenting adults should be legal, when asked "Should the sex worker, that is, the person who sells sex for money: Be criminally prosecuted, Pay a fine, or Not be  given any penalty?", 59% said they should be criminally prosecuted or pay a fine, while when asked "Should the client, that is, the individual who pays for sex: Be criminally prosecuted, Pay a fine, or Not be given any penalty?", 62%  said they should be criminally prosecuted or pay a fine. So between 15 and 18% of those surveyed appear to simultaneously think that prostitution between consulting adults should be legal but that nevertheless they should be punished in some way. 

Maybe I haven't fully understood the survey methodology, or maybe some people are simply turned on by the idea of punishment even if no law has been broken. Perhaps we should offer to set them up with a session with our own stern and strict Laura Lee :angry:

 

Edited by Carnival
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12 hours ago, Carnival said:

Where did you get that figure from Dave? As far as I can see from the detailed results of the wider poll conducted in association with the programme (see http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/usapolls/us160524/Point Taken/Prostitution/Exclusive Point Taken-Marist Poll_Prostitution Banner 2_May 2016.pdf#page=2):

......

Maybe I haven't fully understood the survey methodology, or maybe some people are simply turned on by the idea of punishment even if no law has been broken. Perhaps we should offer to set them up with a session with our own stern and strict Laura Lee :angry:

 

There is something very odd going on here. The PointTaken web site poll shows Yes=73% No= 25%. Their Twitter poll shows the opposite: Yes=15%, No=76%. Neither poll shows the number of voters (N). Is it possible that Twitter users are more liberal? Or, has something gone wrong with the polls? I don't think it is likely that the Anti brigade have flood-voted the web site poll and I would hope the PBS people would have procedures in place to detect that.

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1 hour ago, Dave451 said:

There is something very odd going on here. The PointTaken web site poll shows Yes=73% No= 25%. Their Twitter poll shows the opposite: Yes=15%, No=76%. Neither poll shows the number of voters (N). Is it possible that Twitter users are more liberal? Or, has something gone wrong with the polls? I don't think it is likely that the Anti brigade have flood-voted the web site poll and I would hope the PBS people would have procedures in place to detect that.

Very odd indeed. When I responded to the poll prior to the programme being broadcast, 69% said NO. After the programme was broadcast people were asked to say if they had changed their minds and only 6% said they had. Yet after the programme the survey was showing 25% said No. There is no way that the 6% of people who changed their minds could have effected such a rapid change around, so I think we must assume that there was a surge of voting by antis after the programme. Given the power of the American conservative religious lobby to motivate and mobilise their supporters, it doesn't seem unlikely that there were campaigns to flood vote the poll and I don't really see how that would be detectable, given that you couldn't vote twice from the same computer and each mobilised vote would come from a different IP address.

In that respect the associated poll at http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/usapolls/us160524/Point Taken/Prostitution/Exclusive Point Taken-Marist Poll_Prostitution Banner 2_May 2016.pdf#page=2), although quite small, may give a better reflection of overall US opinion on the issue as it was a lot more controlled than the web poll:

After the interviews were completed, the two samples were combined and balanced to reflect the 2013 American Community Survey 1-year estimates for age, gender, income, race, and region. Each percentage point represents 3.2 million people including children or 2.4 million adults 18 years of age and older. Results are statistically significant within ±4.3 percentage points.

This more controlled poll showed that:

49% of adults said that prostitution between consenting adults should be legal

44% of adults said that prostitution between consenting adults should not be legal

And as a  blog post at reason.com pointed out:

It should be noted that while pollsters use the terms "legal" and "illegal," they did not define these terms for respondents. The ambiguity of the terms becomes evident in subsequent responses. For instance, around 40 percent of those who said prostitution should be illegal also said criminal charges were not appropriate. And overall, some 63 and 60 percent said selling and buying sex should not yield criminal penalties.
 

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9 hours ago, Dave451 said:

There is something very odd going on here. The PointTaken web site poll shows Yes=73% No= 25%. Their Twitter poll shows the opposite: Yes=15%, No=76%. Neither poll shows the number of voters (N). Is it possible that Twitter users are more liberal? Or, has something gone wrong with the polls? I don't think it is likely that the Anti brigade have flood-voted the web site poll and I would hope the PBS people would have procedures in place to detect that.

The Twitter poll does now show the number of voters - 2,102 and the final result was:

Should paying for sex be a crime?

YES = 15%

NO = 76%

NOT SURE = 9%

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Thanks for the update Carnival, I did not see the number of voters on Twitter. The number of voters, compared with the adult population of USA, is very small so it seems this issue does not rate very highly over there. They may have bigger political issues to worry about right now!

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