By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Suffolk University

An odd Suffolk/Globe/USAT poll on Israel and Hamas

I want to call your attention to what strikes me as a very odd poll that’s in today’s Boston Globe. A Suffolk University/Boston Globe/USA Today poll surveyed 1,000 New Hampshire voters and asked them about the war between Israel and Hamas. Support for Israel was high — 48.6%, with 15.8% supporting the Palestinians and 14.7% sympathizing equally with both sides.

But here’s the question that has me flummoxed: “When it comes to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, what do you think the US goal should be right now?” Take a look at the responses:

Respondents only got to pick one answer. Yet if a pollster had asked me this question, I would have answered “yes” to all four, with one caveat: I’d support a cease-fire only if it were accompanied by a demand that the hostages being held by Hamas be released simultaneously. Otherwise, provide military aid to Israel? Push for a cease-fire (and the release of the hostages)? Advocate for a two-state solution? Insist that Netanyahu step down? Yes, yes, yes and yes. I suppose the first two questions, calling for Israel to “eliminate Hamas” versus pushing for a cease-fire, are binary. But I’d have answered “yes” to both anyway because I support military aid to Israel and peace and justice.

I can’t imagine I’m alone in my thinking. Given that, I’m not sure that these polls results have any value. And I guess I’d have been with the 2.1% who refused to answer.

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A conversation about the local news crisis in a time of polarization

I’d like to let you know about a special program coming up on the crisis in community journalism. Titled “The Decline of Local News and the Rise of Polarization,” the event is part of the Masterman Speaker Series and the Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk Law School. It will be held next Thursday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m. in Sargent Hall, 120 Tremont St., in the Blue Sky Lounge on the fifth floor.

I’ll be moderating, and I promise to inject some optimism into the proceedings. We’ve got a great panel:

  • Joshua Darr, associate professor of political communication at Louisiana State University. Ellen Clegg and I interviewed Darr earlier this year on the “What Works” podcast about his research into polarization and local opinion.
  • Renée Loth, an opinion columnist for The Boston Globe and a former editorial-page editor of the Globe.She is currently an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
  • Charles St. Amand, practioner in residence in Suffolk’s communication and journalism department and a 31-year veteran of community journalism, most recently as editor of the Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg.

The program is free, but you do need to register. Just click here.

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