LETTERS: Online survey about dogs on promenade contains no meaningful information

Editor: Has anyone on council ever considered how reliable online public opinion surveys really are?

Editor:

Re: Dogs-on-Promenade survey shows majority approval, July 9.

Does it really?

White Rock council wanted to know what residents were thinking when it comes to dogs on the promenade, and so it is that we have now had two public-opinion surveys showing major approval.

However, has anyone on council ever considered how reliable and accurate these online surveys are?

To be sure, public-opinion surveys can be accurate and reliable if conducted by professional polling organizations who have the expertise to conduct an accurate, scientific and reliable poll. However, they are expensive and time-consuming. Council opted to do a couple of cheap and quick internet polls.

Internet polls, according to experts, are by far the worst kind of polls because they are not randomized and therefore appeal only to those with a vested interest in the question. There is no meaningful information at all, except perhaps in the number and passion of people who respond. Unless questions are carefully crafted, they can be misleading.

Wharton statistics professor Robert A. Stine is unabashedly blunt when it comes to his appraisal of internet surveys: “they are worthless, except for the purpose of idle entertainment.” Perhaps that statement is a bit too harsh for council to swallow.

Then what about the corporate report submitted to mayor and council for the June 29 meeting, which states that “there were other areas considered for assessment, such as environmental/wildlife impacts, negative dog interactions, that would not be captured by these online surveys.”

Perhaps that was a bit too subtle for council to notice.

Council has to stop endorsing and then using these meaningless and inaccurate online public opinion surveys. They do make good headlines – and what politician doesn’t like a good headline?

Chris Plettenberg, White Rock

Letter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock’s top cop calls for ‘healthcare led intervention model’

Review aims for better understanding of crime related to mental health, substance use

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

New collective debuts with Crescent Beach show

Nela Hallwas and Lyn Verra-Lay team for ‘Flow’

‘Lifting Hands’ mural on White Rock wall celebrates community’s COVID efforts

High school students, grads inviting health-care workers, emergency crews to add handprints

Former students’ mural showcasing Delta elementary school’s new logo on hold, for now

Ashriya and Karam Purewal painted the spirit logo last spring; formal logo mural delayed due to COVID

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read