COLUMBUS, Ohio – George Barna, author, sociologist, pollster, researcher and culture warrior was the keynote speaker at Ohio Christian Education Network’s inaugural InspirEd Conference on Monday. Following his speech to the crowd, The Ohio Star caught up with Barna and he agreed to take some questions.
1) Since you began polling and analyzing polls, what has been the change that has surprised you the most and why?
“Several come to mind. One has been the huge increase in the number of people who say they prefer socialism to capitalism, although with the rise of AOC [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and the cost estimates from [Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren, such interest has recently been dropping a bit. My studies find that most of the people who claim to support it do not really understand what socialism is, and when they are given choices between socialist and capitalist solutions, they usually choose the capitalism approach. Another surprise has been the rising disinterest of young adults in getting married and having children. A third has been the rapid acceptance of polygamy,” Barna responded.
2) It appears many conservatives have lost confidence in poll results. Are there polling organizations out there now that you consider reliable or mostly reliable?
“Most of the ‘brand name’ polling firms do a good job. In 2016 the problem was that the media focused on national polls rather than statewide polls, ignoring the fact that it is not the national vote count but the Electoral College votes that determine the presidential outcome. As many of us went back and looked at the statewide polling results from surveys we had conducted in the swing states, we were impressed by how frequently the reliable polling groups got the outcomes right. It really was the media, in my view, that led the public astray. Having worked for a presidential candidate in each of the last three elections, I can tell you that the prime polling groups for the major candidates knew exactly what was happening,” Barna told The Ohio Star.
3) Is there anything you’re seeing in the statistics that gives you hope? If yes, what?
“There is a group of individuals known as SAGE Cons – that stands for Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians – who tipped the election for Donald Trump in 2016. They have remained active and aggressive in seeking biblical solutions to our nation’s problems.
Second, the energetic pushback against the socialist policies recommended and promoted by various public officials and candidates is also an important sign that people with traditional values and dreams are not willing to rollover and play dead just because the media and a political party are trying to bully their way into getting what they want.
Third, the diligence of young adults to seek compassionate and just solutions to social problems is encouraging, although I disagree with many of the solutions the Millennials have supported thus far. But I think getting that right is a matter of education for Millennials and a matter of motivation for older adults. Hopefully we can embrace the best from both perspectives without compromising biblical truth and values,” he shared.
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