Deliberative polling is one of the tools which enable citizens to participate directly in making vital decisions on public life. Its advantage over a traditional poll is that it enables participants of social consultations to take a responsible and deliberate part in the decision making process of the authorities. It is deliberate because those invited to the debate have previously been given a package of reliable informative data on the issue and substantive support of experts. A random choice of participants warrants the objectivity of the consultation.
The author of the deliberative polling method is James Fishkin, American sociologist, Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University.
We owe the application of this method of social consultation in Poland to Social Project 2012, an initiative of the staff and students of the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw, who carried out the first deliberative poll in Poland last autumn. Conducted in Poznan, it was to decide on development of the Lech Poznan football team stadium. Krakow is another city where a deliberative poll is to be carried out: it is to be on development of the edge of Blonia Green proposed by the City of Krakow.