VOSD Podcast: 'Reasonable Representation' in Stadium Polls
Pollster John Nienstedt joins us on the podcast to talk careful wording in polls, “reasonable representation” in surveys and more.
One of our gauges in the ongoing battle over building a new Chargers stadium comes from polls. But those outcomes are largely influenced by choice wording in pollsters’ surveys.
John Nienstedt, president of Competitive Edge Research, carried out one such survey a little while ago with financing from the Lincoln Club. His survey, which included what he called a “reasonable representation” of what a stadium financing ballot measure might look like when placed before voters, showed 51 percent of respondents support a plan in which one-third of the money for a stadium comes from the city and county.
The Chargers, meanwhile, commissioned their own surveys, the first of which used this wording: “Do you favor or oppose spending at least $375 million of taxpayer money from the city and county general funds to build a new NFL football stadium in Mission Valley?” As the San Diego Reader reported, 66 percent opposed using taxpayer money, 28 percent favored it and 6 percent weren’t sure.
Which poll results can you trust? Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani has said Nienstedt’s poll didn’t “provide the information necessary for respondents to make up their minds.” So we asked Nienstedt about it on this week’s show.
During our chat, we got some good insight on pollsters’ general approach.
“American pollsters have been much more often right than wrong,” Nienstedt told us. “When we do miss, we try and learn from that.”
Also on this week’s show: the aggressive tactics of the developer behind Lilac Hills Ranch, a massive project planned for Valley Center in North County; a City Heights resident’s campaign to boost recognition for his neighborhood; why U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy is our Goat of the Week; and the apex of Kiefer Sutherland’s career.
Finally, the specially selected cool jams for my last podcast as co-host (and last week at Voice of San Diego – I’m heading to D.C. to work at The Atlantic, beginning Sept. 8): “We Found Love” by Rihanna and “Love on Top” by Beyoncé.