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An innovative polling model can move us past political polarization

A Stanford professor explains how the deliberative polling model can get people to listen to one another and even compromise on some of society’s most complex policy issues.
The prospect of holding thoughtful discussions on policy issues seems impossible — but it doesn’t have to be. | iStock/Nvard Akopyan

In our deeply polarized society, the prospect of holding thoughtful discussions on policy issues seems impossible. But it doesn’t have to be.

In this episode of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything, James Fishkin, a professor of communication at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences, describes the deliberative polling model, a system of structured and moderated small group discussions that can help bring people together and bridge differences in perspective on even some of the most politically fraught issues. Together with host, bioengineer Russ Altman, Fishkin discusses how deliberative democracy has been successfully used in more than 30 countries, including Chile, Denmark, and Japan, and how it can be scaled up through technology. Listen and subscribe here.

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