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Internet poll results draw favorable responses, curious reactions

Robb Hicken

Robb Hicken

A couple weeks ago we conducted, on idahobusinessreview.com, an Internet poll asking people to tell us their support or nonsupport for construction of a nuclear power plant somewhere in Idaho.

The unscientific poll was available to electronic voting beginning April 7, 2010, until April 13, 2010. It was available to general visitors on the Idaho Business Review‘s homepage. The poll wording read: “Do you support bringing a nuclear power plant to Idaho?”

The limitations were one vote per IP address. Promotion of the poll was solely conducted internally on the homepage and social media sites.

The poll yielded 548 results with 356 – Yes; 192 – No; 5 votes were removed due to registered user restrictions, showing a 1 percent sampling error.

Idaho Samizdat blog site author Dan Yurman was kind enough to push the homepage web poll along, saying “an influential Idaho business weekly magazine, Idaho Business Review, is conducting an online survey to gauge support for nuclear energy in Idaho.”

However, I doubt the poll would do as Yurman suggests that “the highly unscientific collection of data in this survey could possibly be used against the Idaho National Lab, Areva’s enrichment plant, and future nuclear energy development in the state.”

After all, it’s like I say: “This is not a scientific research on the issue, rather an informal general query of sentiment.”

An interesting side to it was the number of e-mails that asked to add their opinion on the survey days after the poll had been taken down. Surveys, like those on Web sites, are read with great interest and show there is a public interest in what’s happening in Idaho.

The other interesting fact, as demonstrated by folks like Yurman, is this shows how polls can be used to rally people for a cause.

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  1. INL was heavily promoting this poll through their facebook page (~2000 fans). So were Snake River Alliance folks (~300 fans). I’d say this alone could account for the difference in voting.

  2. This is odd, because on April 9th at 10:30, the poll showed. 137 No, 25 yes. I’m very suspicious of the results.