The Institute for Legal Reform recently commisioned a survey to largely address people’s feeling towards lawsuits and arbitration.  Lost in this poll was a statistic about mediation.

The poll was conducted by respected GOP pollster Bill McInturff along with Barak Obama’s pollster Joel Benenson for the Benenson Strategy Group.  800 likely voters were polled by telephone for this survey in late December 2007.  The voters were read the following question: “I am going to read you a list of different ways to resolve disputes between companies and consumers. Please tell me, as I read each one, is your opinion of that way to resolve disputes between companies and consumers very favorable, mostly favorable, half-and-half, mostly unfavorable, or – very unfavorable. If I mention one that you are unfamiliar with just tell me and we’ll move on to the next one.”

The choices were mediation, arbitration, class action lawsuit and filing a lawsuit.  59% found mediation favorable while only 8% found mediation unfavorable (for a net of 51% positive).  For arbitration, 51% found it favorable versus 10% unfavorable (or a net 41% positive).  Class action lawsuits were nearly even between favorable (32%) and unfavorable (31%) while filing a lawsuit was seen as a net negative (29% to 33%).

While any survey can be crafted in a way to give you the answer you’re looking for (this was commissioned by a group pushing arbitration and defeat of a measure before Congress to limit arbitration clauses in consumer agreements), it is nonetheless interesting to see how favorable most people consider mediation to be as a way to resolve disputes.

If you’d like to learn more about mediation and how it may be able to help you, please feel free to contact me.