You get what you pay for with opinion polls |

You get what you pay for with opinion polls

Sierra Pacific Industry’s recently conducted community values poll suggests there is wide disparity among community members regarding resources issues in Nevada County.

The reliability of any poll should always be carefully scrutinized by the public to determine if the polling questions are asked fairly and thoroughly. For example, question No. 8 is an intentional set-up. “Should the Nevada County Supervisors make it more difficult for timber companies to harvest trees on their own land?” The general public will tend to reject a question or suggestion that something (anything) should be made more difficult. But ask question No. 8 another way. Should the Nevada County Supervisors provide the public, through their elected officials, with an opportunity to develop local rules for review of timber harvest plans based upon the need to protect fish, water and wildlife that are owned by all Californians? You would register a very different answer.

The polled audience will also determine an outcome. If SPI would have polled a subset of biologists, forest ecologists, conservations, or even Forest Service employees regarding SPI’s forest practices, you would have seen a dramatically different answer regarding the need for logging reform, since that audience knows and sees the destruction, Sierra Nevada-wide, from SPI’s massive clear cutting program.

Polls and pollsters should be understood for what they are, an often-abused tool to create a public response for the purposes of a specific political end. In this case the industrial timber owner, SPI, bought and paid for an outcome which they will now use for their personal political goal which is to defeat needed logging reform and any supervisor that supports it.

The bottom line with polls of this sort is you get exactly what you create and pay for. SPI’s new public manipulation campaign is upon us.

Barbara Rivenes

Nevada City

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