Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Full results of the raise-my-taxes-for-CMS poll

With the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board slated to vote this evening on a potential $10.4 million cut from the Bright Beginnings pre-K program, a new poll showing strong support for a tax hike is stirring lots of debate. The poll, commissioned by Child Care Resources and the Council for Children's Rights, showed more than three-fourths of Mecklenburg residents surveyed support raising their taxes to help CMS and to pay for preschool for disadvantaged children.

Readers commenting on our online story joined commissioner Bill James in questioning whether the study was skewed by the sponsors and research firm Public Policy Polling to get the desired "raise-my-taxes" outcome. Officials from the two sponsoring groups say the questions were fair. I'm awaiting a response from Public Policy Polling, and will update with that once I get it.

So, here's a link to the full text of the study. What do you think of it?


Anonymous said...

Only in Charlotte, NC can you commission a public poll, in the middle of a recession/depression, and get a majority to say they're okay raising taxes.

Maybe it's time to commission a poll on how many people in Charlotte think their fellow citizens are plain stupid.

You'd probably see similar results....

Anonymous said...

Couple ofcomments about the poll--Question Q9--Do you have children living at home? Yes--38%. Question Q10--Do you have any children that attend Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools? Yes--60%. How can that 60% have children in CMS if only 38% have children living at home?

Secondly, if you look at the results for the amount that people are willing to be taxed, in each case the percentage of those willing to pay less than $100 more in taxes plus those not willing to pay any more at all equals ranges from 77% to 81% of those polled. It appears only 19 to 21 percent are willing to pay more than a $100 increase in taxes. And only 5 to 9% are willing to pay over $250. Not exactly a groundswell of support. Be careful how this is reported!

wiley coyote said...

Do you have any children who still live at
No ..62%

Poll of 1,000 people and 62% don't have a dog in the fight?

I also saw at the end where upwards of 59% of the people didn't want to answer certain questions.

Eric Frazier said...

Wiley and Anon: I've been wanting an answer to that question as well, but have not been able to get the pollster on the phone yet. I wondered if you were among the 62% answering no to Q9, the system might have opted you out of Q10. (Which would mean Q10 is saying 60 percent of the people who still have kids at home have those kids in CMS). Will update if I get an answer on this.

Ed Nozzim said...

Poll results need to be stratified by property tax payers and non-tax payers. Or have a new survey polling only property tax payers.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the 1,007 registered Mecklenburg voters who took this poll. The claim that the results of the poll show that “residents back higher taxes for schools” are inaccurate due to a flawed and biased answer structure to the questions posed.

The specific question mentioned in the newspaper, “How much of an increase in local property taxes would you be willing to pay to support Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools?”, the answer structure changed. Rather than using the same “least amount” to “most amount” approach as with all the other questions, the given menu of response options for this question went like this: “less than $100, press 1”, $100-$200, press 2”, $200-$500, press 3, “more than $500, press 4”, and “not willing to pay any more taxes, press 5”. The choices escalated 1 through 4, but then went down with option 5.

The menu response were re-ordered. There is no way that the pollsters claim that “residents back higher taxes for schools” can be considered valid.

Anonymous said...

Send this information on to school board members immediately!

Anonymous said...

Already did! And the Board of County Commissioners as well.

Anonymous said...

Good for you! One of the problems with these groups pressuring CMS is that they have a network of contacts both within the media and through the non-profit world. They also can spend their work hours on this. Ordinary citizens don't have that luxury, and as a very astute school member said, "Just because 100 people show up here that doesn't mean the rest of the citizens support what they're saying." Not everyone has the time or expertise to fight this thing. I would say that Janet Singerman and Brett Loftis are "cheating". You might also want to check out this link to the Orlando Sentinel: http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_education_edblog/2010/05/floridas-pre-k-program-big-but-low-quality-national-study-says.html. It discusses the Florida pre-k program that the above groups want us to emulate. As you will see, the benefits of the program are questionable.

Anonymous said...

If the budget is cut like this, it'll be a nightmare. Even under a regime that cared about the classroom (which Gorman does not) there would be teacher cuts.
If the County/City thinks even larger classrooms and less safe schools are a great idea, keep complaining about raising more taxes.

wiley coyote said...

As usual, the BOE capitulates under pressure, using "time" as an excuse not to do their jobs.

Thank you Kaye McGarry for having the guts to do the right thing and not go with the status quo.

We all know the deal here. CMS is banking on the BOCC to bail this farce of a program out.

I couldn't believe the local tv news was actually touting this bogus survey stating 69% favor higher taxes to support CMS.

Tell that to all the people who just got reassessments showing significant increases in value for their homes.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure many of the responders, as I was, were misled by some of the answer options which started with “less than $100, press 1”, $100-$200, press 2”, and higher.

I assumed that "less than $100" was the lowest possible option. So I did not wait to hear “not willing to pay any more taxes, press 5”.

After I hung up, I was dismayed that there was no option to say "zero increase". Had the poll been upright, press 5 would have been the 1st option and would have been my choice. They're tricky, these pollsters!

Read more: http://obsyourschools.blogspot.com/2011/02/full-results-of-raise-my-taxes-for-cms.html#ixzz1DT05J0gq

Veronica said...


You've buried the lead.

The story here isn't the result of the poll that has been reported but the way in which the poll was skewed to get the desired result.

As someone who polls for a living I'd venture an educated guess that most of the "less than 100" responders really meant "zero".

They chose "less than 100" because it was presented first and appeared to be the lowest option.

As to why the poll was designed that way one can only wonder but it's not at all unreasonable to conclude the pollster wanted to accumulate a majority as having voted for some increase.

Anonymous said...

It looks like several of the Observer editors are going to get their wish and be able to pay substantially higher taxes. Check out their property values on the Char Meck tax data base. Seems only fair.

Anonymous said...

This poll needs to consider those false positives for the "under $100" answer.

If nothing else, see if any of those answers were entered BEFORE all options were presented and report those as NA or INCOMPLETE.

Anything else is likely meant to deceive.

Anonymous said...

I seriously question whether this poll represents an unbiased sample based on this question alone:

Q22 What is the highest level of education you have

Graduate degree.... 38%

Thirty eight percent with graduate degrees?

C'mon. That can't be a fair sample.

Anonymous said...

Q20 answers were also presented in descending order.

I wonder how many people who put "graduate degree" really meant "HS graduate", but just didn't wait to hear all answers.

Again, something just looks wrong about these results.

Anonymous said...

Q22 (corrected from Q20...) answers were also presented in descending order.

I wonder how many people who put "graduate degree" really meant "HS graduate", but just didn't wait to hear all answers.

Again, something just looks wrong about these results.

Anonymous said...

The more this poll is examined the more you have to ask--why did the Observer jump right on this without doing a little in depth analysis first? Ann, Eric?

Anonymous said...

The poll was rigged by the questions and the set up of crying to the public. Only an idiot would consider this a representation of the community. Oh, that's right, the CO and Fraiser did. Surprise, the same firm that is used to promote all of the uptown crowds wishes.

Wiley said...

...what's disturbing is that Vilma Leake will believe the poll...

Anonymous said...

What's laughable is that you people actually believe that the monies raised would be spent in the manner intended. In other words, you would let them raise your taxes to save this program and then they would threaten to cut it again next year because they don't have enough money.