As first mentioned on the Columbian and this blog in Of Increased Decibels, Cutting Bait and the Four P’s, the much anticipated poll results are in with Editor Lou Brancaccio claiming, “the poll showed slim support for the entire project.”
Of course, given the polling method chosen, targeting certain zip codes where support might be stronger than outlying areas within the county, it is no surprise and actually a result I would expect to show an even larger degree of support.
But is this really how the County feels? Does this interpretation really give the outlook of the majority within in Clark County? Lou Brancaccio seems to think it does. But what if we applied the same logic to this poll that Identity Clark County President Paul Montague applied to the overwhelming defeat of last year’s C-Tran Proposition 1 to increase sales tax to fund light rail operations and maintenance? (Video after jump)
C-Tran Proposition 1 went down in defeat in the 2012 election by a 56.51% to 43.49% margin, seeing those voters who rejected it exceeding those wanting to approve it by nearly 20,000 votes.
I don’t know where Montague collected his data of “60,000 voters voted against and about 46,500 that voted in support of the sales tax measure” but his numbers are far off. Actually, 83,563 voted to reject while 64,299 voted to approve.
Totaled that amounts to 147,862 voting, or about 60.1% of the 243,155 registered voters in the county. But let’s face it, if you shirk your privilege of voting on important issues, that’s on you and your silence marginalizes your opinion.
But from his mistaken numbers, Montague arrives at the conclusion of, “by no means can you realistically say that the majority of the voters of this county, or the majority for that matter of the 400,000 residents of this county are in opposition to it.”
But what of this “scientific poll” he eagerly looked forward to? Turns out it amounted to calling 400 people in the county, targeting urbanized zip codes for more responses than zip codes less populated in outlying areas.
From that 400 we are expected to believe “And despite many CRC opponents hammering an anti-light rail drumbeat, the poll showed there may actually be slim support for it: 49 percent of respondents said they’d favor light rail as part of a new Interstate 5 Bridge, compared to 43 percent opposed. Seven percent answered ‘don’t know’.”
But what if we apply Paul Montague’s reasoning? Is 0.1% of the county really representative when the 20.9% who voted against the operations & maintenance funding measure for light rail is not representative of the county?
Montague also said in his testimony, concerning the poll, “I think having a good scientific poll would probably give us some good results.”
Did he already know that the polling was going to target zip codes considered more favorable to light rail over the rest of the county?
And still, with such selective polling they could only get 49% or 196 people out of the same 400,000 Montague uses to say they support it? And, I do not find in the article just how many people from each zip code responded to the call.
Little wonder Bob Moore, president of Moore Information that conducted the poll says, “This is not an overwhelming margin for the CRC.”
Given that the poll has “sampling error of plus or minus 5 percent” there may be much less support than believed. Of course, the same holds that there might be a little more support than believed too, but given that every single funding measure presumed to support light rail has been defeated in Clark County, I doubt it.
But there are some other interesting factors given in the print edition of the paper that didn’t make it to the online edition.
That being, 79% claim to be “very familiar or somewhat familiar” with the CRC, but in attitudes towards the CRC, those that approve gained only 1% after the project was explained while those that oppose the CRC jumped up 8% after the project was explained to them.
55% either see no or don’t know if the CRC will economically benefit Clark County.
41% support a third bridge while 38% support a new I-5 bridge and 21% don’t know.
87% though, want a vote on the CRC.
Not surprising is seeing that only 28% of Republicans support the CRC, 69% of Democrats support it while Independents account for 38% support.
So what does all of this mean?
Obviously it is another effort to comply with Governor Inslee’s cry of “increase the decibels,” seeing citizen opposition growing rapidly, that is a given considering the legislative opposition seen lately.
But also, applying Paul Montague’s line of reasoning used at the C-Tran Board meeting, “there are no clear results from that [poll]. And anybody can make whatever they want of those results.”
This poll really shows little.