Sponsored by:

vt.Buzz ~ a political blog

Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Town meeting survey says ...

Many of you are headed to town meetings tonight and tomorrow. When you get there, you'll see the familiar Doyle town meeting survey.

Sen. Bill Doyle, who was first elected in the Buchanon administration (slight exaggeration acknowledged), asks Vermonters every year to weigh in with their opinions on the issues facing the state.

Some of the questions will look familiar.

- Should use of cell phones while driving be prohibited?
- Should the drinking age be lowered to 18?
- Should Vermont have a mandatory seat belt law for adults? (It's not a primary, pull-over-able offense now)
- Do you support same-sex marriage?
- Should the gas tax be increased to pay for road/bridge repairs?
- Should we reduce the Vermont prison population with alternatives for non-violent offenders?
- Are you satisfied with the public schools?
- Are you satisfied with your health insurance?
- Are statewide cell service and broadband important to the state's future?
- Is Vermont an affordable place to live?
- Should Vermont Yankee's license be renewed in 2012?
- Is the Legislature doing a good job?
- Is Gov. Jim Douglas doing a good job?

You can find some early responses to the survey at billdoyle1.com.

- Terri Hallenbeck

The Doyle survey is actually a dangerous activity each year. Politicians have a tendency to believe the results when in fact they represent nothing. Conducting an annual self-serving survey with the complicity of many local and state elected officials is ridiculous. There is no statistically appropriate sampling used, no uniformity in how the survey is distributed, no regular set of procedures for collecting the surveys after town meeting, no systematic counting and/or codifying of the results and no oversight of the process. Unfortunately, the media picks up on this craziness and a few legislators consider the ad hoc tabulations gospel. Senator Doyle would do a more important service by using his years of experience and genuine wisdom to simply offer his own comments on each of the issues.
'older is better' makes a great point.

News organizations love to report on the results of this "survey" but they rarely do a good job of explaining how inadequate the data collection methods are for the survey.

Terri's blog post, for example, makes no mention of how unscientific Doyle's poll is.
Well these posts prove something, older isn't necessarily better. To state "they represent nothing" is just flat out absurd. there are tens of thousands of these surveys filled out each year and that's worth nothing? At the very least the survey reflects the opinions of those most interested in participating democracy by attending their TMD. Another way to say this is that the people that are actually paying attention to what's going on have this opinion about (fill in the blank).

And before you get all testy I am not saying there aren't folks out there that pay attention but can't go to TMD for one reason or another but for the most part the people that don't go are simply apathetic and therefore their opinion is worth squat.
There is all kinds of opportunity for fraud. One person who hates Vermont Yankee could stuff the ballot box with hundreds of ballots.

Some towns don't get surveys at all. Nobody brings them and they aren't represented.

The people who fill the ballots out are self-selected. Anyone familiar with statistics and data collection knows that surveys with self-selected members are not reliable.

And lots of people can't attend town meeting. To say that one is apathecic simply because you can't get to Town Meeting is very simplistic.

The fact is that many people vote and contribute to political campaigns who can't get to Town Meeting for any number of reasons. Their opinions matter ... but Doyle leaves them out.

This survey isn't reliable. It gets WAY too much attention.
There have been hundreds of surveys filled out that don't even get back to Doyle.

At my town last year, nobody picked the completed surveys up.

The whole town went unrepresented by Doyle.
Anonymous 5:21 PM, try reading the post before you reply. I made it very clear that I wasn't saying EVERYONE that doesn't go is apathetic but simply the large majority of those that don't are in FACT apathetic.

Here's what I said so you can maybe get it right the 2nd time around

"And before you get all testy I am not saying there aren't folks out there that pay attention but can't go to TMD for one reason or another but for the most part the people that don't go are simply apathetic and therefore their opinion is worth squat."

Also, you all seem to be focusing solely on its statistical value like a poll conducted scientifically. You are correct that that is not the value of the Doyle survey. Look at the raw numbers not the %'s. It's a lot of people expressing their opinion and that matters. It needs to be put into the appropriate perspective but to claim it as meaningless is absurd.

And come one with the "someone is sitting there filling out a hundred ballots" Even if this is true, which it is very unlikely, it would be equally true on both sides of the question therefore canceling out any effect it might have.

It's not a scientific poll but it has a ton of value.
The poll is not representative and the press should not report it as if it is.
"I wasn't saying EVERYONE that doesn't go is apathetic but simply the large majority of those that don't are in FACT apathetic."

How the hell do you know, Mr. Judgmental? You done a scientific (or non-scientific) survey of "the large majority" of those who didn't attend this year to find out why?

I've skipped many hours of work year after year to attend town meeting, but this year I couldn't. And I know that was true for many of my colleagues. Especially in these economic times. And the fact that your employer "has to" allow you off work doesn't mean you can do it.

Please get off your high horse.
Actually, Channel 5 news in their story on last years poll specifically said "The Doyle survey is not a scientific poll, but a sampling of views of voters taking part in Town Meeting Day.".

Channel three called it a "survey" in their story, but didn't specifically say it wasn't scientific.

Personally, I think it's sort of cool and does say something about what people are thinking.
Town meeting is not for everyone. And no one at mine has gone near the Doyle poll.
What a joke!!
Post a Comment

<< Home

Recent Posts

Recent Comments


June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   February 2010   March 2010   April 2010