Pumpkin festival 'bean poll' reveals public’s sentiment

Special to the Enterprise

The results of an opinion poll, dubbed a “bean poll” because opinions were expressed by placing dried beans in jars, seem to show Ohio Valley residents are divided in their views about our foreign policy.

Another poll sampled attitudes toward gun control.

Beyond checking the pulse of area citizens, the purposes of these opinion polls are to stimulate thinking and discussion about government and public affairs, and to promote awareness that contributes to intelligent voting and good citizenship.

The two “bean polls” were conducted at the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival on Sept. 24-26 by Ohio Valley PEACE (http://ohiovalleypeace.org/).  Similar “bean polls” were conducted at the Pumpkin Festival in 17 previous years.

While festival visitors were invited randomly to participate, those doing so volunteered. The results of these informal polls do give an indication of the sentiment of folks in this area, though a scientifically designed poll might produce more accurate numbers.

Both opinion polls consisted of six questions, each attached to a pair of Mason jars. Participants chose a response by dropping a dried bean in one of the jars.

– The poll titled “Afghanistan” consisted of the following six questions with the response percentages:

1. Should the U.S. have invaded and occupied Afghanistan after Sept. 11? (42% yes, 58% no)

2. Do you agree with the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan? (62% yes, 38% no)

3. Should fleeing Afghans be admitted to the U.S.? (55% yes, 45% no)

4. Should the U.S. limit humanitarian aid to the country now? (41% yes, 59% no)

5. Did Afghan government corruption and the U.S. occupation boost support for the Taliban? (84% yes, 16% no)

6. Should the U.S. begin withdrawing from other countries in the Middle East? (66% yes, 34% no)

– A second poll named “Guns and Stuff” offered the following six questions:

1. Should assault rifles (such as AK 47s) be banned in the U.S.? (48% yes, 52% no)

2. Do you support a “right to carry” firearms in public places including campuses and churches? (53% yes, 47% no)

3. Should a background check and permit be required to own a firearm? (91% yes, 9% no)

4. Should we continue to spend tax dollars maintaining about 800 military bases around the world? (54% yes, 46% no)

5. Do you support using military force against Iran without authorization from Congress? (31% yes, 69% no)

6. Should Venezuelans determine the governance of their country without (uninvited) U.S. intervention? (79% yes, 21% no)