In a recent Gallup poll, 60 percent of respondents opposed raising the price of postage to solve the financial problems of the postal service. Only 38 percent favored a postal rate increase. Interesting that the respondents were heavily opposed to raising the price of a stamp. I can drop
a letter in a mailbox in Chicago and it will be hand-delivered to a
doorstep, across town or in California, usually within 1 to 3
days--for just 44 cents. To me, first class postage still seems like a bargain and I can remember when the price of a first class stamp was only 4 cents. Of course, the post office doesn't have competitors for first class service so I don't really know if 44 cents would be a bargain in an open marketplace.
But it's funny how people will blow $7.00 at Starbucks, while 49 cents to hand-deliver a letter to a recipient 2 or 3 thousand miles away would be too much. Okay, maybe people who spend $7.00 a day at Starbucks aren't the same people who object to raising the price of a stamp, but herein lies the problem with this sort of poll question: what do you expect most people would say if polled on how they feel about raising the price of anything? Remember, most of us prefer lower prices to higher prices. So, does this poll question really tell us anything about what the price of first class postage ought to be? I don't think so.
This could lead us into a discussion about prices, markets and the rationale behind a government monopoly for first class mail, but really I just wanted to comment on the weakness of that poll question.