Fun with Polls: Sex, the Media, and You!

Q: “In your view, does the entertainment industry need to make a serious effort to significantly reduce the amount of sex and violence in its movies, television shows and music, or don’t you think they need to do this?”

Gallup Poll. Feb. 6-8, 2004. N=1,008 adults nationwide. MoE ? 3.
Need To Don’t Need To No Opinion
2/04 75% 24% 1%
6/95 83% 16% 1%

Q: “On another topic, there has been controversy over Janet Jackson’s exposure of her breast during halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl. Which of these positions comes closer to your view regarding Janet Jackson’s exposure? Television has reached a new low in bad taste. People who are protesting this incident are overreacting.”

Time/CNN Poll conducted by Harris Interactive. Feb. 5-6, 2004. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE ? 3.1 (total sample).
New Low Overreacting Unsure
18-34 years 29% 66% 5%
35-49 49% 46% 5%
50-64 58% 40% 2%
65+ 67% 28% 5%

Two interesting, if not terribly surpring and/or meaningful polls. The thing that most surprised me about poll #1 was the fact that such a high percentage of people agree (or pretend to agree) that the ent. industry should definitely do something about all the sex&violence that happen to show up in its products (imagine that! how did it get there? I dunno. think we should do something about it? nah, it seems to sell movies. you’re right, how foolish of me— let’s add more…). Less surprising is that fewer people today (assuming the drop is stat. sig., which is very well may not be) think the s&v are something for which Entertainment should take responsibility. This despite the probable increased incidence and prominence of s&v in entertainment today. Following a wildly unproductive vein of speculation: is this due to increased permissiveness, or decreased sensitivity? (And is there a difference?) My guess would be that it’s the sensitivity, not permissiveness. I’m basing this on the assumption that it takes more than nine years for any real, deep chances in what society’s prone to accept with open arms. Or red-eyed indifference, as the case may be. Just a thought. Thought #2 re: poll #2 is that, well, no surprise there. What’s most surprising is probably how unsurprising it is, in fact; how completely, devastatingly predictable the results are. I wonder if there are some highly unexpected and unpredictable factors playing into the ultimate picture of things. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were surprised by whatever an inquiring mind found. (That, for instance, this isn’t an inevitable trend that can be fitted equally well to any decade or period. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I’d expect it to have at least a grain of truth to it.)

p.s. both of these polls are drawn from