We are pleased to present the preliminary results of the Ashland Chronicle Straw Poll #1.  They are preliminary because we intend to leave the poll open for participation by new respondents.  Although they are preliminary, they will also be complete, meaning we will share all of the data collected up to this time.  We will provide a summary of the results here, but also provide a link to a full results page which updates in realtime.  Therefore as more respondents participate, the new totals and proportions will be reflected in those ongoing results on that page, and will vary from those presented here.

General Notes on the Straw Polls

These straw polls are just what the name implies: informal polling.  They are not intended to be “scientific” surveys, and are not to be judged as such.  Nevertheless, they can have significant value.

Conventional wisdom and practical experience have demonstrated that most public opinion surveys have limited validity and utility.  Their accuracy almost always leaves a great deal to be desired, as evidenced by election surveys, many of which are supposed to be “scientific”.  It all depends upon the way the questions are presented, as well as the way the respondents interpret them. We do not pretend that these results are an accurate representation of the overall opinions of the entire population of Ashland.  They are simply a reflection of the opinions of those individuals who chose to participate. 

These polls have multiple purposes.  First and foremost, they are intended to gauge public opinion and attitudes regarding issues facing our city government, and the policies implemented to deal with those issues.  They are NOT intended to offer solutions to any of the problems facing the city.  The City Council will have to determine the solutions. Second, given those results, we offer them to our city leaders to use as they see fit.  They can, and will, draw whatever conclusions they wish from the data.  It’s another tool for them to use. And third, they are a demonstration that public opinion can be obtained many ways.  The traditional method is talking to people.  We trust that our city leaders do just that at every opportunity.  Another way is to conduct inexpensive, informal straw polls such as these.  What is not necessary is to spend in excess of $30,000 for a formal poll which will necessarily have limited value.

The polls are NOT attempts to educate respondents about the issues.  There is no way to adequately present the pros and cons of any of these complex issues in a few sentences.  If someone taking the poll is not familiar enough with the issue, they can simply choose the “no opinion” option, or even skip a question.  Even better, they can do research on their own.  We are not offering links to that kind of material, since that would inevitably cause partisans on any side of the issues to cry foul and accuse us of bias.

A respondent does not need to be an expert or intimately acquainted with the details and nuance of any of these issues.  We are asking for opinions, not expert judgments.  Everyone has opinions.  We are giving the citizens an opportunity to share those opinions in a fashion that should make it possible to quantify public opinion to some degree.

We encourage every citizen to inform themself about the critical issues facing our city government. We encourage everyone to participate in this survey, if they haven’t already, and to participate in the additional surveys we will be presenting in the near future. Spread the word.

The Current Results

As mentioned before, the complete, realtime results of the survey can be found here.  To view the comments, In the question summaries, click on the “comments” link. The comments for that question will drop down. Alternately, choose individual responses. The numbers will change incrementally as more people respond. 

Below we present the interim results as of Sunday, June 5, 2022 at 4 PM.  At this point there have been 370 responses.  To get the full picture with all of the nuance, view the full results at the link above which includes the complete responses of each individual, as well as any comments. There was an average of 86 comments posted to each question. They were often quite revealing.

We present these results without additional analysis.  Interpret them as you will.

Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

Question 4

Question 5

Question 6

Question 7

Question 8

Question 9