Mayor Bloomberg has proposed that New York City residents who are receiving food stamps not be allowed to spend them on sugary sodas. This raises the usual question of individual freedom v. the “Nanny State,” and this morning MedPage Today , a web application for health professionals, has a poll on its site to see what its readers think.
Online surveys are tricky, because they are a cross between traditional surveys with random samples, and focus groups. Less apt to be influenced by a single participant, like focus groups, they are still not totally reliable because only people who read the site and choose to participate do so. It’s only a compilation of volunteers, who presumably care enough one way or the other to answer.
Nevertheless, it is instructive to see that the people who answer, most of whom are nurses, doctors, and pharmacists, vote overwhelmingly in favor of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal. It’s about 80%.