Funny thing about polls. People love them when they support their position and hate them when they don’t.
On November 7th, we published a poll that asked about the Rockland County Executive’s first budget. The amazing thing is that many of the people who applauded our poll when we first published it, were the same ones to question the veracity of the poll when we published the results.
On the other hand, there were those who took exception to the way the questions were posed feeling that it was biased toward the “Ed Day went too far” camp. When people on both sides of an issue are unhappy, that is usually a good indicator that fairness isn’t the issue.
As we try to do whenever possible, we gave the poll an entire week for people to vote and share with others. Without going into great detail that would bore everyone except the most ardent mathematicians, we have to account for factors over and above what a traditional telephone poll takes into account including randomness, and we do. In general, the greater the sample size, the better, more accurate the results.
Yes, I was very surprised at the results. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been. There are the inevitable loudmouths who shout from the rooftops thinking that the louder they shout, the more valid their argument. And then there is the silent majority–the ones who have their own opinions but are hesitant to express them so openly. It certainly happens in national politics; the loudmouthed crazies on the far right and far left are heard and catered to at the expense of the silent majority every day.
Then there are the regular folks who are passionate about their pet projects. They are upset that funding is being cut and in some cases eliminated. I certainly get that but clearly, there are more people who have come to realize that Rockland County is in serious financial straits. As a result of years of bloat and fiscal mismanagement action must be taken now in order to save the county from hurtling into the financial abyss.
One thing I have never been able to get my head around is this: how come people show up with problems but rarely ever bring a potential solution to the table?
I understand people being upset when funding gets cut. How then do they propose that we pay for these things? There are many things that I wish had not been cut but I also understand that desperate times call for desperate measures. As a result, I don’t holler about my pet projects however I do offer a platform and an audience to those who wish to be heard.
I for one don’t envy County Executive Ed Day and the position that he’s in. Whether it’s Ed or anyone else in that position, regardless of political affiliation, difficult, unpopular decisions have to be made.
I for one would really like to see funding restored to Hi Tor–I like animals and I think the volunteers at Hi Tor do a fantastic job, others will chime in with their own favorite organizations that they feel should be spared and I have no doubt that the people in these organizations do a great job as well. Again the question looms: How do we pay for these things without increasing the burden on taxpayers and stifling investment in our county?
A number of people who clearly are not happy with the results have questioned the fairness and/or bias of the poll and of my publications as well so I’ve offered to run another poll–this time asking about budget cuts that specifically affect the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department. I’ve even incorporated a suggestion on how the question should be posed. My hypothesis is that the numbers will swing back in the other direction; I think we’ll see a 4-1 margin in favor of eliminating these specific cuts–I have my reasons for feeling this way and will share them when that poll closes.
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