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Definition of a Strong Majority

We will take a position on a given issue when our briefing and polling process for that issue produces a strong majority either in favor or against.

The reason for taking a position only when there is a strong majority and not when there is a narrow, simple majority (50.1% to 49.9%, for instance) is that we only want to advocate positions for which there is a reasonable consensus among our members.

The question we need to answer now is just how strong a majority we think we should have before taking a position. Should we require 55%, 60%, two-thirds, or a three-quarters majority?

There are obvious trade-offs. The stronger the majority, the more persuasive our positions will be and the less we will risk splintering our own membership. However, if we set the definition of strong majority too high, we will not take positions even when we have a reasonably strong majority view on on issue. Also, the higher we set the definition, the easier it is for a small minority of our members to block our collective action.

It probably makes sense for us to make our results public regardless of whether we take a position or not. We can simply report the exact percentage on each side of a given issue. However, only those issues for which we officially take a position will go into our legislative scorecard. Only on those issues will we actively try to persuade the legislature to vote with our position.

As you consider this question, it might be useful to consider various possible outcomes. For example, imagine that 65% of the members who reviewed the briefing materials for a given issue were on one side and 35% were on the other. We would take a position under a 55% or 60% rule, while under a two-thirds or three-quarters rule we would not. Is it better to take a position that 65% of us support or not to take a position that 35% of us oppose?

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