Poll: Arcata Voters Like Corps Ain’t Peeps, Grow House Energy Tax Measures – October 26, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

News Release – Arcata Pre-Election Poll 2012  Oct. 26, 2012

Prof. Mark Larson, Journalism & Mass Communication Department

Pre-election poll results in Arcata for Measures H and I


 A recent poll of 474 registered “likely” voters in Arcata asking how they would vote on city Measures H and I in the Nov. 6 Arcata City election showed strong support for each measure.

For Measure H, 78.3 percent said “Yes” in favor (12.2 percent said “No”), while 61.5 percent said “Yes” in support of Measure I (23.2 percent said “No”).

Only 9.5 percent said they didn’t know how they would vote on Measure H while 15.2 percent said they didn’t know how they would vote on Measure I.

“These results, particularly the low ‘don’t know’ percentages, suggest that most Arcata voters have made up their minds on these ballot measures,” said Mark Larson, journalism professor at Humboldt State University, who sponsored the poll. Larson and students in his journalism research class have previously conducted polls on Arcata’s city council election and ballot measures from 1976 to 2000 and 2006 to 2010.

The error margin for a random sample of 474 is plus or minus 4.5 percent, with a confidence level of 95 percent.

“Both Measures have a comfortable lead at the time the poll was taken, given that the percentage of supporters easily exceeds twice the error margin over the percentage of opponents,” said Larson. “Polls should not be considered predictions, however, so the actual election may be still up for grabs depending on the turn out and how the undecided choose to vote.”

The random sample was selected from public records of Arcata registered voters who listed telephone numbers, including those with cell phone numbers. The poll was conducted between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Oct. 22-25. There was a refusal rate of 35.1 percent, a typical refusal rate found in previous telephone surveys in Arcata, said Larson. “We thought the refusal rate would be far worse, given that this week unexpectedly included evening playoff and World Series baseball games and the Presidential debate.”

The poll results cited include only the 474 registered voters who said it was likely or very likely that they would be voting on Nov. 6.  “We excluded 19 of the 493 registered voters who participated in the poll who said they were unsure or it was unlikely that they would be voting on Nov. 6,” said Larson.

The sample included 46.8 percent men and 53.2 percent women, similar to (within the error margin) of the population of Arcata voters.

The age of voters in the sample broke down to 45 percent from 18-29 years old, 14 percent from 30 to 39, 8 percent from 40 to 49, 12 percent from 50 to 59, and 21 percent 60 and older. “By chance, it appears this sample may have over-sampled slightly those aged 39 and younger compared to those who participated in recent pre-election polls,” said Larson.

“I always feel very proud of my students’ efforts to conduct this real-world experiential-education project,” said Larson. “They deserve all the credit for this important civic-journalism activity. Conducting a poll on just these ballot measures was just a very unusual experience for us all this year with all the incumbent city council candidates running unopposed.”

The actual questions in the pre-election survey read:

2.   There are two Arcata city measures on the ballot, Measure H and Measure I.  Measure H is an AN INITATIVE DECLARING THAT CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PERSONS.  This initiative makes a declaratory statement that within the City of Arcata, corporations are not natural persons and are not entitled to the protections granted by the United States Constitution to natural persons. The stated purpose of this initiative is a long-term goal of changing federal and/or state law to be consistent with this understanding of corporations.  ****IF THE ELECTION WERE HELD TODAY, how would you vote on Measure H – YES or NO?

Results for Measure H:

(# of votes)                        (percent)

YES                                                   371                             78.3%

NO                                                        58                               12.2%

Don’t Know                                          45                               9.5%

* Sample = 474 registered “likely” voters.

3. The second Arcata city measure on the ballot is Measure I. Measure I reads:  EXCESSIVE RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICITY USERS TAX.  Shall the City of Arcata impose an electricity users tax rate of 45% on residential customers whose electricity usage exceeds 600% over the established Baseline Allowance with a sole exemption for households receiving an extended Medical Baseline from the electricity service supplier, and automatically terminating in twelve years?  ****IF THE ELECTION WERE HELD TODAY, how would you vote on Measure I – YES or NO?

 Results for Measure I:

(# of votes)                     (percent)

YES                                                   292                            61.6%

NO                                                       110                              23.2%

Don’t Know                                           72                              15.2%

* Sample = 474 registered “likely” voters.


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