Fruit Street Poll Results in



December 1, 2005 HopNews plans to continue to conduct these unscientific polls periodically on topics that have been discussed on our pages or in the halls of the meeting places of government. They are meant to spur dialogue.

     The poll results graphic on the top right is the latest one. It was  finished today, after common-sensing the first two. The one on the top left started the series. More people said "No, do not move forward with just the school."

    But the nearly the same amount of people in Poll Two, below left, said, "No, do not develop Fruit Street with all of the proposed projects."

     And although the question should have been split, more people expressed a preference to omit something from the plan.

    Therefore, the poll on the top right was written. In it, people who believed something should be omitted from the plan chose first the DPW. The choice of the second largest group of people was the Waste Water Treatment Plant. People could only choose one.

     Is it scientific? Not by a long shot. There is not large enough sampling, and there is not enough control on qualifying respondents. In addition, in the latest poll, the market rate senior housing component of the Fruit Street Plan was inadvertently overlooked as a choice by the writer.

    Is it as skewed as a detractor might imagine? No, the program limits it so that one person can only vote once. If people could vote more than once, we'd have thousands of votes. The down side of this is that only one person per family can vote, because the program recognizes sources (It doesn't know anything personal, and doesn't convey anything to HopNews other than the results.).

     Is the poll devised with some questions weighted on top in order to elicit positive responses to certain items? No! Actually, the poll questions as they appeared are represented on the bottom right graphic. It is clear that the components which have gotten the most anecdotal detraction were placed near the bottom, so as to prove the integrity of the respondents, and not bias in the order of the poll questions. The program sorts them so that the leading vote getters move to the top of the results graph. What does all of this mean?

    Nothing can be taken as proof of anything other than 129 HopNews readers voted in 3 days. Period. What can we speculate?

    We can speculate that 129 readers feel informed enough to make an opinion. We can also speculate, knowing the demographics of the internet reader, that a HopNews reader is perhaps younger, more professional, and more plugged in than the reader of another non-internet news outlet. A HopNews reader is more likely to be one who attends an occasional Board or Committee meeting, works for the town, or volunteers for the town. Perhaps they have children in sports, drama, or church, because these are some of our greatest strengths. It is likely that those are the people who voted in the polls. Are they representative of the rest of the population?

      Yes, but with the above qualifiers. The polls are meant for entertainment and dialogue. So have fun with it and don't take it too seriously.

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