Do Polls Only Matter If They Support CRC?

by lewwaters

CRC Poll PiechartAs if we really needed a poll to tell us, recently the Columbian ran an article telling us that most of us would divert to I-205 to cross the Columbia and avoid the tolls planned to soon be in place.

As with most polls, demographics and question wording means a lot when interpreting the results, something the Columbian is quick to bring up now.

We read in their Saturday December 8, 2012 Cheers & Jeers column,

Jeers: To anyone who takes the results of an insurance company’s recent survey as proof that tolls on the Columbia River Crossing won’t work. PEMCO Insurance commissioned the poll, which found 77 percent of drivers in Clark County and 52 percent in the Portland area said they would avoid the tolls by taking Interstate 205. Although the survey’s sample size makes the margin of error fairly large — nearly 14 percent in Clark County — we don’t doubt the drivers’ resolve.”

“But when the rubber meets the road, we’ll need to remember the behavior of our brethren in Seattle, where new tolls on the Highway 520 Lake Washington floating bridge were imposed last year. Traffic instantly fell as drivers diverted to the Interstate 90 bridges or roads around the lake.”

“They soon realized, however, that inconvenience outweighed the cost, and the state reports toll revenues on the bridge are now meeting or exceeding projections. It’s unfortunate that tolls will be required to build the CRC, but they will serve their purpose, just as they did nearly a century ago when the original Interstate Bridge was constructed.”

Just as they have done with the recent resounding defeat of the sales tax increase to fund light rail operations & maintenance, results that show the public’s discontent with the bloated boondoggle of the Columbia River Crossing are quickly ignored or marginalized.

This isn’t too surprising considering that the Columbian is wholly in the CRC’s pockets and will not serve the public by publishing articles that reveal the corrupt nature of the CRC. As I have said before, it is like they have a vested interested in forcing the public to pay for this albatross through increased taxation and polls.

But looking back at previous efforts to convince us that the public actually does support the CRC and Portland’s financially failing light rail, the main reason Oregon is even considering helping replace the aging but functional bridge, polling was seen in a much different light.

The October 10, 2012 article, Poll has C-Tran measure leading led us to believe “C-Tran’s Proposition 1 has found favor among nearly half of likely Clark County voters, according to a poll released Wednesday” by a 48% to 42% margin.

The election showed the measure defeated by a 56% to 43% margin.

An October 14, 2011 article, CRC group claims Portland support was touted with the claim, “Sixty-three percent said they were strongly or somewhat in favor; 27 percent said they were strongly or somewhat opposed; and 10 percent said they were undecided. No Clark County residents were asked the question.”

A May 6, 2010 article, C-Tran survey suggests voter support for light rail would have us believe that Clark County residents abandoned our opposition to light rail seen in the 1995 vote, where we defeated it by a 2 to 1 margin and that now 61% of residents favor it.

Obvious problems with that $20,000 survey were left out of the article as they tried to continue the snow job on it.

July 5, 2008 saw the Oregonian run Vancouver appears ready to OK light rail touting, “If opinion polls are to be believed, if a recent public hearing is any guide, the popular consensus has opened Vancouver’s door to light rail.”

Left out is that of the 540 people polled in that opinion poll, only 104 were in Clark County. Hardly representative of Clark County, but the Columbian remained mum on that and within days were boasting of “Light rail idea gets city OK.”

Nowhere in any of the above polls were readers cautioned about the questionable polling. No, those polls were supportive of the CRC albatross that threatens to bankrupt our community paying for something we repeatedly let known we do not want.

Those older polls did not receive “jeers” from the Columbian editorial staff, only the one showing the public remains opposed to both light rail and tolling of upwards of $8 each way to cross the bridge.

The Columbian massively fails Clark County as they continue to try to manipulate public opinion concerning light rail and tolling to pay for a project citizens continue to show we do not want.

Light rail supporter and Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart, when campaigning for reelection in 2010 said he “doesn’t believe that tolling is an equitable or efficient way to collect fees” and “if Clark County residents don’t support it [light rail], then the states have the wrong project.”

Once winning reelection, of course, his tune changed.

But we also can see that the effort of the Columbian to ram Portland’s ill conceived and financially ailing light rail continue unabated.

Perhaps if they listened to the public more instead of trying to tell us what we should think, maybe their subscription rate would improve and they wouldn’t remain in deep financial straits as they have seen.

4 Comments to “Do Polls Only Matter If They Support CRC?”

  1. As I’ve said before…. there is no point in subsidizing a biased newspaper by subscribing to it. There are far better places to get news — unbiased news — through the Internet and through other media outlets. I have not — and will not — subscribe to the Columbian so long as it fails to provide truly “fair and balanced” reportage.

    In the past, I’ve noticed that many polls (apparently funded by advocates of a particular position) are badly worded to “force” answers in a particular direction. While I have not been on the receiving end of any CRC-related polls, I’ve been subjected to “polls” that clearly were advocating for tax increases for local taxing districts where the wording almost left no choice but to be “in favor.” Of course, these are not honest polls, but are rather used to claim “support” for a particular position. It’s wise to always dig past the headline on reports of polling data and try to read the actual poll wording and understand the methodology.

    I note that as part of my university program, a market research class required that the class form teams and administer a poll. We worked very hard to develop a “radio program preference poll” that would determine the shares for stations offering types of music or talk radio. We soon discovered that many of those contacted thought “easy listening” music was “classical” — stating that they listened to a particular station that was offering instrumental music in the easy listening style and then calling it “classical.” We had to toss out our preliminary results and reword our questions to get a more correct result. Even the professional polling organizations make (seemingly obvious) blunders in poll wording, leading to erroneous results.

  2. There is no lie the won’t tell, and no information they won’t sit on to screw this community when it suits their agenda.

  3. No matter what happens, Lew. I don’t think the special interests that want light rall to come into clark county give a damn about polling, whether it is positive or negative to one side or the other. All they care about is the adverb of the bridge being built and the financial resources, how EVER they get it cobbled together?

  4. My current question is, do the elected officials of varying levels from lowly city council member to federal representation actually CARE about a poll? And how they can be construed to support one side or another, depending on how they are worded???

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