Daily Archives: December 25, 2007

Halftime report

Although today is Christmas, it is also a Tuesday, and so I feel compelled to write a column, something I have done practically every Tuesday for the past 18 years. Traffic to the Clarion Call Blogs has slowed to a crawl in the lead-up to the Holiday, but 54 people have responded to the Lowe’s poll posted last Thursday, and so I thought it was time to share the early returns in this halftime report.

49 of the respondents so-far are residents of Geneseo, which represents more than 2 per cent of the people who voted in this year’s town elections. Most pollsters would kill for such a sample, but I am hoping for a second wave of respondents before the polls close on Sunday. So, if you haven’t already taken the poll, please do, and please encourage your friends to as well. (No matter what their political beliefs!)

Obviously, the more respondents we get, the more accurate the results should be, assuming that people are honest in their answers and only take the poll once. Of course, it is unlikely we will totally overcome the bias that comes from the poll being posted on the clarioncall web site. So far, about 57 per cent of respondents are either totally against the Lowe’s or leaning against it. Judging from the election, that result is pretty much the opposite of the way people voted.

Another clear tip-off that the sample is biased is that I am leading in the Supervisor’s race with 15 votes versus 12 each for Bob and Will. Only one person admitted voting for Wes which is out of whack with his 25 per cent showing in the actual election. Are Wes’s supporters underrepresented on the Internet in general, or just on the clarioncall site? Probably both!

Interestingly, 10 people declined to say who they voted for. Could it be they doubted that the poll was really anonymous? They are perhaps wise to be skeptical about any claim of privacy on the Internet (see my previous column), however, if there is a way to figure out how people answered these questions, I am not smart enough to do it, and I really don’t want to know!

Now for the internals! The interesting thing about any poll is not the overall results but the correlation between answers to different questions. For instance, in the sample thus far, residents of the village were opposed to or leaning against Lowe’s by a 2-1 margin, while town residents were evenly split on the issue.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a person’s position on Lowe’s was a key indicator of whether they thought Planning Board member John Zmich should be re-appointed. Of the 32 people against/leaning against Lowe’s, 30 of them wanted to see John re-appointed, with none wanting him replaced and only 2 not sure.

In contrast, of the 23 who stated they were in favor of or leaning towards Lowe’s, 13 wanted John dumped with only two wanting him reappointed. Interestingly though, there was less certainty in this group, with 6 people, or 26%, not sure on the question and two not answering.

There seemed to be more of a consensus, however, on the type of person who should be appointed to replace John if he is not re-appointed. 54% of all respondents wanted a candidate with no known position on Lowe’s, with only 7 people (or 17%) demanding a pro-Lowe’s replacement.

Turning to politics, it is also noteworthy that 1/3 of those responding said that positions on Lowe’s were not the most important factor in choosing a candidate in the fall election. Proving that, two voters who were leaning against Lowe’s voted for Will, while Bob and I each got the vote of someone leaning in favor of Lowe’s.

There is much more data to be mined here, but for now you will have to be satisfied with this and the raw numbers reported here. However, as a special Christmas present I’ll list all those who got votes sp far to take John’s place on the planning board: Sharryn Duffy, Craig Macauley, Liz Porter, Lizz Savard, Soren Thomas, Jeremy Grace and Corrin Strong (And no, I didn’t vote for myself!)

Stay tuned for the complete final poll report to be published on the Clarion News Blog next Monday!