The American Tort Reform Association
-- the group that once deemed
the Illinois counties of Madison and St. Clair "judicial hellholes" -- has just released
the results of a poll on how U.S. citizens feel about lawsuits. Guess what they found?
That almost everybody agrees with them!
Among the findings:
- 89 percent of American voters call lawsuit abuse a "problem"
- 78 percent believe there are too many lawsuits in the U.S.
- 88 percent want safeguards put in place to protect small businesses from groundless lawsuits that could put them out of business
- 83 percent believe the liability lawsuit system needs to be improved
Now, nothing about their statistical methodology jumps out as objectionable.
They outsourced the polling to Luce Research, who called just over 1,000 people on landlines and cell phones. Then, says the report:
The data were weighted by age, ethnicity and region to ensure a representative sampling of voters by all demographics, including gender, education and party identification.
Fine and good; however, some of the questions themselves seem to lean one way. For example, folks were asked:
"How much of a problem do you feel lawsuit abuse is in the U.S. today?"
We're not polling experts, but wouldn't the words, "How much of a problem..." actively prime people to respond that something is a problem?
That said, if Luce is to be believed, everybody really does
think it's a problem:
This sentiment cuts across party lines: 94 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Independents and 86 percent of Democrats say it's a problem.
One might be tickled by the fact that, on one hand, most Americans believe lawsuit abuse is a problem, while on the other, Americans are the ones filing the lawsuits
But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. It reminds Daily RFT
of the broad distaste for congressional earmarks and "pork." It's all such a huge, selfish boondoggle -- until it fixes the highway by your house. Similarly, lawsuits are all frivolous -- until something horrible happens to YOU.