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Citizen panels and opinion polls: convergence and divergence in policy preferences

Faculty Advisor




public deliberation, public opinion polls, Canada, longitudinal study

Abstract (summary)

Citizen panels offer an alternative venue for gathering input into the policy-making process. These deliberative exercises are intended to produce more thoughtful and informed inputs into the policymaking process, compared to public opinion polls. This paper highlights a six day deliberative event about energy and climate issues, tracking opinion changes before and after the deliberation, as well as six months after the deliberation. In two of the five policy domains, opinions change as a result of the deliberation and these changes endure six months after the deliberation. The tracking of opinions across the three points in time reveals a pattern of convergence between panelists’ views and poll results for three of the five policy domains. Panelists were overly optimistic about many of the policy options prior to deliberation, but became more critical of these policies post-deliberation, moving their opinions closer to those of poll respondents.

Publication Information

Boulianne, Shelley, Kristjana Loptson, and David Kahane. 2018. "Citizen Panels and Opinion Polls: Convergence and Divergence in Policy Preferences." Journal of Public Deliberation 14(1):article 4. Retrieved October 16, 2018 (



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