ask respondents whether they wouldnsupport such programs. Instead, it askednwhether respondents would “favor ornoppose” such programs. Thus, Harrisnagain probably overstated public supportnfor these special school programs.nFurthermore, Harris’s paraphrasing ofnthe question is very different from thendescription of the special programs thatnrespondents actually heard:nStarting special school programsnwith young underclass childrennwhen they are 8 years of age,ndesigned to increase theirnmotivation to stay in school-andnto arouse hope within them thatnthey can lift themselves out ofntheir miserable life situation. . . .nThe last phrase of the question wasnreworded in Harris’s summary in a waynthat changed its tone considerably.nRephrasing questions and bunchingntogether answer categories is not necessarilynthe rule in Harris’s reports of theirnpolls. Indeed, the majority of Harrisnreports I examined did accurately characterizenwhat respondents were askednand what answers they gave. Furthermore,nHarris routinely publishes thenentire questionnaire from each of itsnsurveys in the final report, along withncomplete statistical breakdowns of answersnto each question, so any carefulnreader can directly examine the actualnresults of a Harris survey. Nonetheless,nthe cases described above illustrate somenproblems.nThere are at least three possiblenexplanations for Harris’s overstatement.nThe first is simply carelessness accompaniednby a motivation to make reportsninteresting and easy to read. The secondnis a desire to maximize the degreento which a poll appears to support theninterests of the client who sponsored it.nAnd the third is a political agenda.nI suspect instead, however, that thenmotivation for Harris’s occasional misrepresentationsnis none of these butnrather a fourth possibility: the desire tonmake opinion poll results seem morenimportant and compelling than theynsometimes are. Most social and politicalnissues are the subjects of lengthy andnvociferous debates precisely becausenthere are sharp disagreements amongnpeople about how to resolve them — asnwith abortion and gun control, and innfact for most big issues. But to reportnthat the public is deadlocked in disa­ngreement on an important issue is hardlynnewsworthy. Therefore Harris maynexaggerate the extent of agreement innthe American public on controversialnissues in order to enhance the apparentnstrength of the public’s will and therebynincrease the apparent significance of hisnfindings.nPublic opinion polls are cleariy tremendouslynvaluable in helping thenAmerican public keep its government inncheck when a majority of citizens agreenon how an issue should be handled. Butnunless reports of surveys accurately describentheir findings, the American publicnand our elected representatives cannhardly be expected to take these surveysnseriously. Making poll results morencredible is an important goal for bothnsurvey researchers and journalists.nJon A. Krosnick is an assistantnprofessor of psychology and politicalnscience at Ohio State.nSTAGEnThe Economicsnof the NewnYork Theaternby Mari CroniiinThe cost of producing on Broadwaynhas risen sharply, particularly innthe last ten to fifteen years, and this hasntaken its toll on American productions.nInflation, higher priced labor andnmaterials, theatrical union wage increases,nfeatherbedding, and the enormousnnncost of advertising — a full page ad innThe New York Times is upwards ofn$10,000, and the Times’ daily alphabeticalnlistings of shows must be paidnfor by producers — all are partly responsiblenfor soaring production costsnand ticket prices. These increased expensesnhave in turn forced a shift innwho produces plays and musicals,nchanging the face of Broadway, Off-nBroadway, and regional theater.nIt costs nearly as much to produce anrevival of a musical in a not-for-profitnOff-Broadway theater in New Yorkntoday as it did to produce one onnBroadway ten years ago. Take, forninstance, Sweeney Todd. Last springnthe nonprofit York Theatre, an Off-nOff-Broadway company housed in anchurch gym, mounted a highlyacclaimednenvironmental restaging ofnthe Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheelernmusical about a. murderous barbernwhose accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, bakesnhis victims into pies. The York’s production,nusing only eight principal actors,nfive chorus members, and threensynthesizers, was budgeted at $55,000.nFifteen thousand dollars of that wasnmade up in ticket sales, and the othern$40,000 came from corporate and individualnsponsors. Under Equity showcasenrules the designers, staff, andnactors received an honorarium thatnamounted, essentially, to carfare.nThe Circle in the Square’s transfernof the York company’s Sweeney Toddnto their 681-seat uptown theater, withnthe same number of cast members andnmusicians, cost $600,000. Ten yearsnago on Broadway the show was capitalizednat $900,000 —only a third morenthan The Circle in the Square budgetn— and cost $1.2 million to open. Todayna full-scale revival of the show at anlarge Broadway theater would run $4nor $5 million.nCosts have escalated to such annextent that nowadays a year of standing-room-onlynand eight-figure grossesndo not insure that a production, especiallyna musical, will recoup its investmentnand show a profit. Andrew LloydnWebber’s $8-million Phantom of thenOpera took 65 weeks at capacity tonreturn its capital. And the $7-millionnrevue Jerome Robbins Broadway,nwhich had an unprecedented sixmonthnreconstruction period and 22nweeks of rehearsals, was expected tontake 63 weeks to make back its invest-nFEBRUARY 1990/49n