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Polling the Poll

Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in Washington D.C.:

"Like most surveys, there are aspects one could criticize. The most notable is that the basic question about support begins with a statement that the city has already made a commitment to it, which might lead some otherwise undecided or skeptical people to believe that the proposal has merit. One could also quibble that the question does not explicitly offer the 'no' option — even something as simple as '… or not.'

"But the very high percentage of support, along with the plurality of people who say that the city's commitment is about right, leads me to think that an alternative approach would probably still find majority support for the idea. The relatively large number of people who say they are likely to use it lends credence to that notion.

"I doubt that you could get support much higher with other arguments — given how high it already is. … It might also be the case that the center would fare less well than other potential uses for the city's resources if people had a chance to think about the comparisons. All of this is just speculation, though."

Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland:

"Those two little words at all at the end of the first question would not throw it off significantly. Basically, it looks fine. The conclusions drawn from it are reasonable. The question that comes to mind is: Did they weight the survey properly? It looks skewed high on education … 51 percent report having a college education. That's a question on my mind. But I don't want to overemphasize it. If they did weight it, or not, it would [likely only amount] to a few percentage points.

"If you were trying to predict a tight election, then these little subtleties in the wording might be enough to sway the decision. From what I can see here, it's a suitable interpretation of these results of these findings." — Scott Bass

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