Survey Sez:

The survey sponsored by the League of Women Voters is in.

  • About a third of respondents report doing their non-grocery shopping outside Oak Ridge;
  • Nearly 40% of respondents report traveling to Knox County at least once a week to shop;
  • More than half believe that the new shopping center would allow them to do more shopping locally;
  • Under the condition that City funds committed to the project would be repaid through future tax revenues, respondents are more likely to view the proposal favorably, but remain sharply divided on using City funds to support site development for the shopping center.
  • Under the condition that future tax revenues from the shopping center would assist the local schools, respondents are much more likely to support the proposed C8ty assistance to the project, but still about a third of respondents remain opposed to the idea.
  • Older persons and males are more likely to oppose the City’s financial involvement in the shopping center project.

But, who does the majority of the shopping? Younger people and women, perhaps?

To the question, “if the revenue produced by the shopping center would provide new money for the Oak Ridge Schools, Anderson County Schools, and Clinton City Schools, should the City agree to this request (for $10.5M in City financial assistance), the weighted response was 52% in favor.

Without question, the results are far from the decisive and positive as I had hoped.

Courtesy of the League of Women Voters, you can read the whole thing for yourself.

21 thoughts on “Survey Sez:

  1. I don’t think that this is an unrealistic result. We have a lot of retired folks that are fearful about having to bail the city out like for past bad decisions through increased property taxes. I liked the trend from a majority opposed to a sizable majority pro once the facts are known.

    This contrasts greatly from the “anti” crowd who believe that all the people they know are “agin it”.

    Point taken about the ladies doing most of the shopping. Perhaps we should encourage all of them to make that point known to their male partner at an appropriate time and in an appropriate but persuasive way.

  2. With a +/- 5% margin of error the 52% is a wash. Basically the survey showed that Oak Ridgers do not want to spend $17 million (principal + interest) on Pine development.

    I guess a referendum may be the only way to get a clearer picture.

    Those interested in the referendum can down load the form.  [edited: I don’t wish to advertise for the petition-gatherers here. — NM]
    I was impressed at the civility of the process and the professionalism shown by the city officials and the people who organized and carried out the survey.

  3. “I was impressed at the civility of the process and the professionalism shown by the city officials and the people who organized and carried out the survey.’

    Yeah, isn’t it amazing what those folks versed in Political Science and statistical measurement can do with a slide rule and abacas?

    Could have probably given you these results just based on the conversations I have observed. Over at the forums the real vocal guys as measure is 2 for and 2 against. The others really didn’t care one way or the other.

    The puzzler in my unscientific poll was daco. Couldn’t really get a feel for him. He seems to have quit. 😉 Based on his history I would have put him in the *agin* column. But he is a changin’…..

  4. ahhh, but I have *seen* the new Manland, and I have a feeling Daco’s undoing the pastel-yellow paint and lace curtains before he settles back down to his computer. There were also kind of a lot of boxes to be unpacked; Mrs. Daco may have subtly persuaded him that he needs to do that first.

    Going into this, I really didn’t know what Daco would think, but was pleased when he looked into the details and came to the conclusion (accurately, I believe) that this project is different than the other one was.

    Many are looking at this as an incentives package like the National Fitness tax abatement, but that’s not really what it is. It is an incentive of sorts, but in the realm of site prep, which is a more appropriate function of government. What many don’t understand is how much difference there is in the local taxes collected from retail versus industrial… we’re not trying to create jobs; we’re trying to create a revenue source. The jobs are tertiary (with revenue and quality of life being first and second).

  5. Netmom;

    I think it might help to normalize the distribution based on the total population.


    • About a third of respondents report doing their non-grocery shopping outside Oak Ridge; That’s 33% of Oak Ridgers.

    • Of the third – Nearly 40% of respondents report traveling to Knox County at least once a week to shop; That’s 12% of Oak Ridgers report traveling to Knox County at least once a week to shop.

    • Off the 12% – More than half believe that the new shopping center would allow them to do more shopping locally; That’s about 6% of Oak Ridgers believe that the new shopping center would allow them to do more shopping locally

  6. Raj, you are nuttier than Grandma’s fruitcake.
    Question 9: Where do you do most of you shopping.
    Question 11: How often do you travel to Knox County to shop.
    Question 10: Do you think that the new center will help OR retain your external shopping.

    About a third of ORers do most of their shopping outside of OR. 2/3 do less that half of their shopping outside of OR.

    40% of all ORers go to Knox County at least once a week to shop.

    58% of all ORers believe the new center will reduce their external shopping.

    Question 11 did not say if you do most of your shopping outside of OR, how often do you travel to Knox County to shop. This explains why your analysis is so full of holes or perhaps there is some underlying dishonesty. You, like our current President, don’t have a high regard for the truth or for your fellow man.

  7. What idiot would put any stock in a survey by the League of Women Voters? Why not poll The League of Women Shoppers?

  8. I am angry that I do not have a mall. Why do I not have a mall? Maybe because Arnsdorf got tired of dealing in an arena where progressive thinking gets watered down by referendums. We elect city councilmen and women to represent us and then try to tie their hands by babysitting them with referendums. Now there is no mall and at this rate will be no Target. I am glad Turkey Creek is only 20 mins away. I wish they would build a mall.

  9. Questions 10 and 11 were follow up to question 9. I had asked John M. Scheb, Ph.D. in public if my understanding was correct and he said yes. Rather his next quote was “It is a tough sell”.

    Rather Mr. Scheb even acknowledge the fact that responses to Question 10 and 11 were only in relation to people who said they shopped in Knoxville.

    I have 5 land line numbers and I got call on 2 numbers on 2 different days. My response to Question 9 was – I do not shop in Knoxville hence I did not get asked question 10 and 11. My wife occasionally shops in Knoxville and she was asked question 10 and 11.

    Cracker I may be nuttier than a fruit cake but I sure have my facts straight. I like the nutty part in the fruit cake though.

    My complete work on the survey can be downloaded at [NM: see Raj’s site. I won’t advertise for him here.]
    Netmom – I respect you desire for the ‘anti’ not to advertise on your blog. Since I have special format and graphics I have only provided a download link to the related PDF file and not to the whole site. In the interest of a two sided discussion I hope you will not remove this link.

  10. Raj,

    Please do not use my site to advertise your own. Your IP address is logged, and although I have never blocked anyone from the site, I can and will if you continue to do so.

    Thank you,

  11. Ain’t that the nature of the beast?
    Raj, it would appear to me that the simple fact that you *don’t* shop in Knoxville would somewhat eliminate you from some of the conversation, eh? Personally, as the guy responsible for doing all of the shopping in the house, I detest the fact that this is a one horse town.
    But this, in my eyes, goes beyond shopping. It seems that your ilk (and don’t get me wrong, I hate the idea of camps pointing fingers) are the latest permutations of the ‘spend no money at any cost’ factions that have kept Oak Ridge where it is now. Last year, this mentality was working hard to keep the school system from getting adequate funding.

  12. No where on the survey results does it say that questions 10 & 11 are follow-up questions to #9. Leaving off such a condition on the results would be pretty sloppy.

  13. AT – No I am not a big shopper specially when I have to arrange for 10 grand a semester for first harmonic at the university. Sort of premium for my retirement policy. Neither do I like going in debt.

    I am all for more school funding a mandatory 1% annual increase over inflation is what I have been canvasing with the city council. I will be happy to participate in any referendum effort to make this happen. I think we should make this a part of our city charter.

    I support increasing retail. But I am damned by numbers that do not add up in my mind. Can’t help it – juggled numbers all my life. I don’t smell the benefits either for the school or the city in this venture if we have to take a $10.5 million debt.

    Without the debt servicing we can realize some direct benefits and plenty of indirect non monetary benefits.

  14. “10 & 11 are follow-up questions to #9”

    I was in the LVW meeting where the presentation was made on 2/26/07 and I asked John M. Scheb in public on this matter during his presentation. Referring to his results he acknowledged that the results of Q-10 and Q-11 applied to the main target group for 27% who responded a yes on Q-9. I raised my eyebrows in surprise and asked if it was correct to say that about 12% to 13% of Oak Ridge residents would bring their shopping dollars back to Oak Ridge from Knoxville. His response was it is more like 15% and the next thing was the famous quote “It is a tough sell”.

    I am also surprised that this piece of information was not a part of the report but I have observed other surprising things in there.

  15. That was not said during the public portion of the meeting (I was there too — that’s where I was when this post was written). If Dr. Scheb at any point said that questions 10 & 11 were asked only of those responding in a certain way to #9, it must have been in your private conversation afterward.

    Personally, I don’t think that someone of his expertise and reputation would neglect to note something so crucial in the report. Thus, I put more confidence in his written report than your word for what he is alleged to have said in the meeting that I also attended.

  16. Whether Dr. Scheb said it or not we could differ on our recollection –

    Q-10 “Do you think the proposed shopping center would help Oak Ridge retain more of your shopping that is currently being done in other areas?” applies to the people who do not shop in Oak Ridge as defined by response to Q-9.

    Q-9 asks “Other than for groceries, do you currently do most of your shopping in Oak Ridge, Knox County, or some other community?”

    So if you reply that you shop in Oak Ridge then Q-10 is a mute point because you are already shopping in Oak Ridge so the issue of retaining something that is already retained does not make sense.

    On Q-11 – “How often do you travel to Knox Co. to go shopping: every day, a few times a week, twice a week, once a week, or less often?” again applies to people who answered in Q-9 that they shop in Knoxville.

    Again the issue of traveling to shop in Knoxville does not apply to people who have responded in Q-9 that they shop in Oak Ridge.

  17. So am I getting this right — the folks that don’t want the Target are older males? You know it is one of those things were people think they can pick and choose which taxes they want to pay. They think they can simply “invest” in things about the commmunity that effect them. Like older folks that don’t have kids say they don’t think they should pay taxes because they don’t have kids that go to school. Why not think a little beyond your damn front door and realize that those tax dollars are being invested in a community that you, old/male or not, are benifiting from? So the schools go to hell — you think you won’t be affected old/male? Yeah right, tell that to the kids that who, rather than going to school in your pretty world, would be out on the street slashing your tires and ripping out your stereo for kicks and then selling it at a pawn shop in Knoxville. Oh, but don’t worry your little head about calling the cops because for a lack of tax rev. there won’t be enough on patrol and they will simply shunt your little issue to the bottom of the list. The fact is that in the economy that we live with cities and town have to put up to bring retailers to town. That is just how it works. And once to get the ball rolling others will follow. And the shopping is not just for OR either — you got people in Clinton that will come in, Oliver Springs, Andersonville, Norris –etc. So this 10 million up front is not going to simply be an OR thing to pay back. You may even get some folks from upper northwest knox that will come to OR rather than go to the zoo called turkey creek.

  18. Question 9 is not an all-or-nothing type of question. It asks where you do most of your shopping, not all. I could do 51% of my shopping in Oak Ridge, and 49% in Knoxville, and still accurately answer “Oak Ridge” for that question. From that perspective, questions 10 & 11 certainly apply to those who answered Oak Ridge.

  19. Pingback: Citizen Netmom » Survey Debate

  20. Raj, despite your creative memory of the meeting, I have asked Dr Scheb to clarify and he said:

    As I said in the meeting Monday, all questions were asked of all participants. There was no branching (i.e., contingent questions). So the 53% who said they expected to modify their behavior was 53% of the 405 persons who answered the survey.

    Seems like your “analysis” and “demystification” belong in the Fiction section.

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