Friday, April 4, 2008

Real-time survey -- from phone to net -- on controversial issues

Rep. Tom Brower recently launched an Oahu-wide survey on four controversial issues --tax rebate, death with dignity, civil unions and rail transit -- on his personal legislative website.

So, how does the survey work? An automated telephone poll will randomly contact over 50,000 registered voters over a 10-day period that began on April 1, posing the following questions:

1. If there were a $100 tax rebate, would you want the money back or would you let the state use it for construction and repairs?

2. Should terminally ill patients be allowed to die with physicians assistance?

3. Should Hawaii legally recognize civil union partnerships for same sex couples?

4. Do you support a rail transit system in Hawaii?

You can also take the survey online at here.

I gave it a test drive a few minutes ago. After clicking on the survey link, the website prompts you to type in a 7-digit telephone number. I inputted my cell phone number and started the survey. Less than a minute later, after submitting my survey, real-time results were displayed. You can also see the results of the the survey without taking it here.

The internet survey has an approximate 28.0 percent margin of error, which is a given since anyone around the world can go online and type in any number from the Oahu phonebook to take the survey. So far, only 12 people have taken the survey online.

On the other hand, the telephone surveys that get calculated automatically on the website has an average 4.2 percent margin of error.

Here are the results of the phone survey, out of 499 responses, as of 11:41 a.m.:
  • 57.9 percent of respondents would want their tax rebate of $100 back.

  • 66.5 percent of respondents say that physician assisted death should be legal.

  • Civil union votes are split with 43.3 percent of respondents saying yes to same sex couples being recognized in a civil union, and 41.3 percent saying no.

  • Support for the rail transit system is also split with 47.3 percent opposing the rail and 43.1 percent in support.

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