(This may be a limited, moderator-only option, but... who knows what kind of uses we can find for it.)
When conducting a poll or an election, earlier answers get much more exposure (and many more votes).
For issues where you want to weigh true community opinion...
...consider adding an option to hide the answers until some future date.
Add a notice at the bottom of the question:
This is a poll. Add your entry now. Answers will remain hidden until 3/5/2010.
The answers/submissions will all appear at once with zero votes each. The ordering of the post will start out as random and people can start voting, giving each entry the same exposure.