CHSRA Poll: 76% Support High Speed Rail

Jul 27th, 2010 | Posted by

The California High Speed Rail Authority’s public outreach contractor, Ogilvy PR, recently commissioned a poll by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Public Opinion Strategies on Californians’ attitudes about the HSR project. The full memo is below. The “topline” is that 76% support the high speed rail project. Just over half of those folks express “concerns” about the project’s funding, but those concerns have not cooled their enthusiasm for the project.

High Speed Rail Research Memo

From the Authority’s press release:

Some 76 percent of Californians indicated support for the project, with 34 percent saying they would like to see the project move forward “as quickly as possible,” 42 percent saying they would like to see the high-speed trains built despite some concerns over cost and timing, and only 13 percent indicating opposition to the project.

Some might take the 42% stat to claim that the public is turning against HSR. But in response to a later question, clear majorities say we should move ahead:

When offered two statements about the project, as detailed in Figure 3, nearly twice as many voters indicate that the benefits of the train make it worth moving forward with the investment now, as opposed to delaying based on uncertainties about costs, ridership, or environmental impacts.

I read these as saying that the attacks on the project by opponents, going after the financing and ridership numbers, have caused some Californians to have “concerns” – but voters seem to believe those concerns will be addressed, because they are nowhere near a point of saying “we should not build this project.”

Any big public project that’s worth building will have questions and concerns about cost and timing. What matters isn’t that such concerns exist, but that they are effectively addressed, and that they don’t turn the public against a project. Some may quibble whether these issues are being effectively addressed – I believe they are – but based on this poll, nobody can say with a straight face that Californians don’t want high speed rail. They clearly do.

Some other details that are relevant: the more people learn about HSR, the more strongly they support it. Californians would prefer to take a train rather than fly or drive between two regions of California if the costs of the train were lower, and there is every reason to believe that by 2020 the cost of both driving and flying will be very high.

Some might respond to that latter question by saying the survey only asked about individual travelers, and that there might be savings for, say, a family driving to LA from SF rather than taking the train. That might be true here in 2010. It’s not likely to be true in 2020, thanks to peak oil and its impact on fuel costs. Further, driving has significant time and opportunity costs compared to the train, from loss of useful work or vacation time to loss of opportunity to be connected to your online devices and projects.

The memo didn’t break out the numbers by region. The sampling was weighted by region, so the proportion of those surveyed in the Bay Area, for example, was proportional to the percentage of Bay Area residents in the whole population of California.

However, I have seen other polling specific not only to the Bay Area, but to the Peninsula, that indicates similar levels of support exist there as well, and that these “concerns” are actually much less widely held there. You’ll all be hearing more about that specific poll soon enough.

But the takeaway here is clear: Californians still support high speed rail in very large numbers, and despite understandable concerns about making sure such an expensive project is done properly, they still want this project to go forward. Once long-term federal funding is secured, I would fully expect that the numbers of “as quickly as possible” supporters to rise significantly.

You’ll almost certainly hear some members of the media question why the CHSRA is doing a poll like this. On a conference call with the media, CHSRA Deputy Director Jeff Barker indicated that this was a common practice among state government agencies such as the Treasurer’s office, the CHP, and others.

But it’s probably not going to be enough for Tracy Wood of the Voice of OC. She’s written a lot of anti-HSR articles, and her bias has long shown through her work. Hearing her on the call today, however, removed any slight remaining doubt that she is a strong opponent of this project and not at all interested in giving the project a fair shake. Her questions were all based in the assumption that the CHSRA shouldn’t be doing this poll or that it somehow put its thumb on the scale to produce favorable results, despite denials from Barker and the pollster that any such thing was done.

Some of you might reply by saying I’m biased in favor of the project, so who cares if Wood is biased against it? The difference is that you all know I am a project supporter. I wear my enthusiasm for HSR on my sleeve. When you read this blog, you can’t miss that. In fact, here’s what I say on my About page:

Robert Cruickshank founded this site in March 2008 to fill gaps. There wasn’t a good, independent source of information online about high speed rail, and there didn’t seem to be any active grassroots advocacy for the project and Proposition 1A. During 2008 this blog played a key role in not only filling those gaps, but providing important facts, analysis, and arguments for California’s high speed rail project.

But if you go to the Voice of OC site you’d see no such disclaimer. You’d think you were getting unbiased, neutral coverage, when in fact you’re not.

I don’t mind if Tracy Wood wants to oppose the HSR project and write articles tearing it down. That’s her right. But she should at least let readers know that she is against this project. That way, readers can judge for themselves what she writes with the full information they need to do so.

Overall, this poll proves what I’ve always been saying: Californians still support high speed rail and still want it built. Hell, I even have my own concerns about parts of the project, but like 76% of this state, I am confident those issues will be resolved and that the project will get built.

Let’s hope that our state and federal representatives understand that information. In fact, the occasion of this poll release was that CHSRA CEO Roelof van Ark will be traveling to Washington, DC shortly to present this information to Congressional leaders – exactly the people who need to hear that Californians want high speed rail to be built.

  1. Reality Check
    Jul 27th, 2010 at 14:43

    I wonder why HSRA/Ogilvy took over two weeks to release the results. The phone poll was conducted in mid-May and the letter reporting the results to Ogilvy is dated July 11.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I’m guessing they wanted to time it with some other newsworthy event, such as Van Ark going to DC. People tend to want to release polling at a moment for maximum impact. I know I do…

    political_incorrectness Reply:

    OT: Rob, what is your email?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    My last name at gmail.

  2. lyqwyd
    Jul 27th, 2010 at 15:27

    Ever since the election I knew that Californian’s were very supportive of High Speed Rail, but 76% support and only 13% opposition is truly amazing.

    It’s also interesting that the more people know about the project, the more likely they are to support it.

    HSRforCali Reply:

    I live in a community where everyone drives; yet they all say they’d love to see HSR connecting SF and LA! Of course, once I tell them it wouldn’t be done until 2020, it sort of pisses them off since they want to see it done NOW.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    A lot of people where I work also feel the same way they think it was going to be done at like four or five years… I said no not till 2020

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    Hey, 2020 is only 10 years away. That is not that far away for construction projects.

  3. Caelestor
    Jul 27th, 2010 at 16:29

    Personally, I think there are 3 camps nowadays: people who support HSR and the current proposal, people who don’t, and people who support HSR but believe the current project is terribly flawed. I haven’t seen anyone on this blog who’s completely against HSR in a while, and my opinion is that many people have been convinced about the merits of HSR, so the second camp is trivial.

    Now, the issue has shifted to more from ideological to technical aspects. According to the poll, however, 45% of HSR supporters support it unconditionally, while 55% have reservations (which undoubtedly encompasses a range of issues: money, flexibility, service range). You can see the debate amongst the people in this blog as well.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I don’t actually think there are very many people at all in camp 3 – at least not among the general public. Here’s how I see it:

    Group 1: Build it now! What the fuck are we waiting for? (This is where I would fall.)
    Group 2: Well, we should build it, but there are some things to address. It’s OK to wait a bit if we have to in order to get it right. (This is where people like CARRD would fall.)
    Group 3: Don’t build it! It’s a Berlin Wall that will destroy my community! Plus nobody rides trains! (This is where people like Morris Brown would fall.)

    Group 1 and 2 have a lot in common and can reach an accommodation, especially if there’s federal money to seal the deal. Groups 2 and 3 have some affinities, in that they are both worried about certain things, but also have a fundamental divide in that Group 2 really does think we should build it, and Group 3 doesn’t.

    The poll is pretty clear that those are the 3 groups among Californians, and that if you push people to a strict yes/no position, it shakes out at around 60/33 in favor of HSR, with 7% undecided and therefore not relevant to the conversation. Which would seem to validate my point about Groups 1 and 2 having a lot in common, more than Groups 2 and 3.

    Caelestor Reply:

    I think my unusual placement of the people with reservations as the third group might have confused you.

    Or did I confuse myself?

    jimsf Reply:

    I call group one. I like the plan exactly as it is. routing, stations, palmdale, transbay, pacheco 99 the whole thing. Not just because I want them hurry up, but because I think its the perfect routing for real.

    Caelestor Reply:

    Oh, I don’t think people are more worried about the execution rather than the route. As someone highly supportive of HSR but with reservations, I would not support the current project if it meant destroying existing transportation infrastructure in the process. But I’m naturally more optimistic than others.

    Peter Reply:

    There aren’t a lot of people in Group 3. They are just LOUD!!! Like the people who went to the town hall meetings on health care last summer and just shouted down literally everyone else. That way, outsiders looking on think that everyone agrees with them.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Yes… it seems to do with the large amount of old barking dogs that haunt these “waste of my tax dollars” bitch sessions

    Brandon from San Diego Reply:

    Yes. They are old and some have money to waste.

    flowmotion Reply:

    There is a distinct other group — “We should build it! But if it goes through my town, it’ll be over my dead body!”

    Most NIMBYs probably fall into this category, especially in more liberal/environmentally-friendly areas.

    lyqwyd Reply:

    I don’t really agree with that, I think those people are really opponents, who try to pretend to be supporters, you know “concern trolls”. I don’t think there are many who really support HSR, but don’t want it anywhere near them.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Really? You haven’t noticed that people drive on the freeway everyday, but don’t want a freeway near their house? Or people who shop at at walmart but complain about the traffic if they try to build one nearby? The reaction to HSR isn’t unusual at all. (Try building *anything* in downtown Palo Alto.)

    Sure there are NIMBY “concern trolls” who blather about (e.g.) ridership studies when they really just want it somewhere else. But for the most part people care far more about local circumstances over any general principles they may hold.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    It is very to state that 76% of people support a train in concept than to say 76% of people support this particular project. The devil is in the details, especially so for transit. The headline is actually that most people who have an opinion are interested in a train, IF it is done right. Of course, the headline is written by a PR agency, the same agency that commissioned the study, so what is an important nuance is lost.

    Initially, the comments I would give are:

    1) Unless arguments against the train were also presented, the only numbers that mean anything are ones where people are asked an opinion before being told that it WILL make $3 billion year for the state and create 600,000 jobs.

    The same firm that did this study actually did one for the city of Palo Alto. Notice that in this one, they phrase the benefits as “supporters say” and then give the arguments against “opponents say”

    2) The numbers that ask people about whether or not they would take a train are meaningless, unless there is some type of calibration done to account for the stated preference nature of the survey. The survey done for the ridership study showed that given a choice between commuting via auto, normal rail (ACE, Amtrak etc) and HSR, only 11% would drive and the rest were split between normal rail (34%) and HSR (55%). Please note: normal rail is available today and it has approximately a 1% share.

    We’ve requested the more full report with the questions (and order) and cross tabs. With polls like this, the devil really is in the details.

    Just one additional note: in our neck of the woods, generally 55% of people will support ANYTHING no questions asked, 25% of people will oppose ANYTHING and there is a key 20% consistuency who ends up deciding local bond measures (as they require a 2/3 majority).

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    In your neck of the woods, somewhat more than 55% still support high speed rail.

    Elizabeth Reply:

    We need to get cross tabs released to know what area supported what. They specifically oversampled each region with any controversy so that you could say something statistically meaningful about them, yet that data has not been released yet (and we have asked). I think it will be very interesting to compare Prop 1 support and current levels in the different regions.

    lyqwyd Reply:

    It would be great to get the specific details of the poll, and everybody knows that polls can be manipulated. If the opponents think this poll is a farce, or that support has turned since the election (as they have often claimed in the past), they could easily conduct their own poll, I just wonder, why haven’t they?

    Peninsula Rail 2010 Reply:

    This is the public’s poll. Public money paid for it, and it would be interesting to see how much was spent on it. Seeing the raw data of the poll would be very interesting, but a FOI request might necessary.

    Peter Reply:

    Ummm, depending on how the poll was conducted, the pollsters may not have to give out that information. FOIA only covers public documents, IIRC.

    The underlying methodology may be proprietary, the same way the actual model for Cambridge Systematics’ ridership study is proprietary, and Cambridge does not have to release it. Private companies don’t have to release information that could help competitors unless required to do so by law.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I would also disagree with you that the headline should be “most people who have an opinion are interested in a train, IF it is done right.” I don’t see the basis for that. What I see instead is “most people who have an opinion are interested in a train, IF they are assured that the financing works out.” That’s different than “done right” – most Californians don’t care about the details of where the tracks go or whether they’re above or below grade. They are much more interested in project costs not spiraling out of control.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ah the smell of FUD in the afternoon, so bracing….

    What does a poll result, good, bad, indifferent, done well, done bad, push, pull, or screamingly biased or hound’s tooth clean, have to do with whether or not HSR is done right? After all you say you want HSR done right, your only objective is it not?

    Nathanael Reply:

    Elizabeth, normal rail is not available today on the planned HSR route.

    The only route from SF to LA by rail involves a change of trains in San Jose, no through ticketing, and a “tourist-speed” train going far slower than your average Amtrak route from San Jose to LA. That’s sub-normal rail.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Oh, and that “tourist speed” train runs once a day. And is coming from Seattle.

    The Coast Starlight is better than nothing, but not much.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    45% of HSR supporters support it unconditionally

    45% of HSR supporters are fools. Is this a marriage or something? Even then, aren’t there conditions where you draw a line and say enough’s enough? We may disagree with where exactly to draw the line, but anyone who is unwilling to draw one – politicians in particular – lacks credibility.

    Here’s looking at you, Robert.

  4. Spokker
    Jul 27th, 2010 at 16:38

    They have to release the methodology of the survey for anyone but foamers to take it seriously. It is astonishingly easy to fix polls like this.

    Peter Reply:


    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    800 registered voters surveyed, random digit dialing, weighted by region (so that the 800 sampled are reflective of where people are around the state, so that you don’t wind up with 70% of your respondents from Fresno).

    I’m all for them releasing the methodology, but Fairbank, Maslin is a reputable pollster with a strong track record.

    Spokker Reply:

    We have to know more. What time of day did they call, for instance?

    There is a big difference in the kinds of people you get when you call at noon and 7PM.

    Call at noon and you discover that 76% of hosuewives and deadbeat losers support high speed rail.

    jimsf Reply:

    hey.. thats not true… if they called my house at noon, Id be home, watching Judge Mathis, but I wouldn’t be a deadbeat loser.. I ‘d be a fully employed person who works swing shift. Remember the part about how not everyone works a 9-5 white collar job. Probably a lot more of us working in cali than the the latter. and I though housewives were extinct anyway. Are there still woman who stay home all day?
    And if you call at 7pm the only difference might be that you are calling at a time when you are pissing people off for interrupting their dinner or tv show. Since we’re generalizing….

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    Fairbank, Maslin is a reputable pollster with a strong track record.

    Strong track record for what? If you read the pollster’s bio, their strong track record is in corporate image and polling for or against ballot measures. It’s like Spokker says, these guys are masters at fixing poll results. What’s to like or respect about that?

    My tax dollars, wasted again.

    Spokker Reply:

    I didn’t say they are masters of fixing poll results. I said that telephone surveys are easy to fix.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    Fine, then I say they’re masters at fixing poll results. I cite the pollster’s website as my source.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Libel is so unbecoming.

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    Naivety is quaint.

    Peter Reply:

    But libel gets you sued. Just being naive doesn’t.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    A waste of your tax dollars is the 9 billion that has been unaccounted for in the rebuilding of Iraq.. see today’s news.. AND after we are to spend 56 Billion rebuilding Iraq its about six times the amount spent on high-speed rail..

    jimsf Reply:

    but you know there is “concern” about spending and the deficit after all…. as you can see here….lots of “concern” about spending. WASHINGTON, July 27 (Xinhua) — The U.S. Congress on Tuesday approved a 59-billion-dollar funding measure that would pay for troop increase in Afghanistan, sending it for President Barack Obama’s signature.

    The House of Representatives approved the measure with a 308 to 114 vote. It passed the Senate earlier. In the measure, about 33 billion is earmarked to pay for the 30,000 troops surge in Afghanistan and expenses in Iraq. Provisions not related to the war brought the bill total to nearly 59 billion.

    The new funding is on top of the 130 billion Congress already approved for Afghanistan and Iraq this year. The Congress has appropriated over 1 trillion dollars for the two unpopular wars since 2001.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And if you actually poll people, the war spending is the one category of government spending where its popularity has been going sharply down. People think it’s pointless. (I can’t say I disagree. We aren’t getting jack for the war spending.)

    The popularity of “spending money building stuff. Here.” has gone up in the last year or so as far as all the polls I’ve read can tell.

    Congress is a little bit out of touch.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    What does Nate Silver say about them?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Fairbank, Maslin doesn’t do a lot of public polls – they’re not like Rasmussen or SurveyUSA or Field or PPP. They are focused on polling for campaigns and issues in California. In other words, not on Nate Silver’s radar.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Is their past record one of getting proposition results good or not?

  5. Spokker
    Jul 27th, 2010 at 16:44

    “What do you think about high speed rail?”

    “It’s good!”

    “But it will cost over 40 billion dollars.”

    “That’s bad.”

    “Travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco will be under three hours.”

    “That’s good!

    “But the ridership models are flawed.”

    “That’s bad.”

    “But you get your choice of topping.”

    “That’s good!”

    “The topping contains potassium benzoate.”


    “That’s bad.”

    “Can I go now?”

    I wonder how easy it is to coax some idiot on the phone into giving you the answer you want.

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I think it’s more like this:

    “What do you think about high speed rail?”

    “It’s good!”

    “But it will cost over 40 billion dollars.”

    “That worries me.”

    “Does it worry you enough to think we shouldn’t build it?”

    “No, not really. I still like the idea. I just hope they can find the money.”


    synonymouse Reply:

    Since the CHSRA has no intention of having any real referendum the water bond issue will have to suffice. If it wins Bechtel can crow. If not or it is pulled the majority has turned against any and all megaprojects(sacred cow freeways excepted, of course)

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    Huh? There already was a “real referendum.” It was called “Prop 1A” and it passed in November 2008, when we had record-high turnout, so it was a very clear reflection of the vast majority of California voters.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    And it passed with 52% of the vote, not 76%.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Before the Wall Street meltdown and after the high gas prices it was polling in the 59-62 percent for range ..

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    It’s entirely possible that support for HSR has *increased* since November 2008. Sure, that’s not what the media would report, but the media ≠ actual public opinion.

    Matthew Reply:

    2008 was before the federal government announced support for high speed rail and awarded a large chunk of that funding to California. I would imagine that would have made a lot of people realize this isn’t just a fantasy, but is actually a realistic technology that is backed by federal tax dollars. From that perspective, it’s quite realistic that more people would support HSR now than in November 2008.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    It’s possible, but unlikely. The mood has changed against government spending since the stimulus, and support for Democratic initiatives in general has gone down in the last two years.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Although the media claims that the mood is “against government spending”, this appears to be untrue. Support for practically every specific government spending project has gone up since the stimulus. Why? They *create jobs*. There are exceptions in some benightedly doctrinaire Republican states, but California isn’t one of them.

    wu ming Reply:

    when the water bond gets shot down, it will prove that the electorate does not want the water bond project. period.

    the two projects are extremely different, and will have very different political and regional coalitions for and against. i was very for HSR, and am extremely against taxing myself to destroy my local ecosystem with a peripheral canal. apples and oranges, man.

    quite grasping for straws and come to grips with the fact that the electorate just does not share your opinions on HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The same interests behind the CHSRA are behind the water bond issue – Schwarzie’s gang of Ritchie Riches.

    jimsf Reply:

    I grew up right here in northern california and the water system that delivers water to the rest of the state is crumbling, just like everything else around here. Remember the rolling black and brown outs… you can manage in the dark but you can’t shower with dust. The grid to my knowledge has also only had bandaids applied to it. or we may wind up pushing the high speed trains over pacheco pass.

    wu ming Reply:

    i wasn’t aware that the LA municipal water district and the south san joaquin valley westlands water district were major backers of HSR.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    NO that would be that billionare running for governor from Atherton

    Peter Reply:

    Conspiracy theories are much more interesting when there’s some level of truth to them. I’m not seeing it here. And no, I will be voting against the water bond, but am completely in favor of HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The CHSRA has no intention of seeking any feedback on route selections because the primary route has been so profoundly gerrymandered. The last thing the current insiders at CHSRA want is for the fix to come undone. I suggest that the malfeasance that has occurred at Bell has some relevance to Palmdale. It is more in your face at Bell where officials redirected funds to themselves whereas at Palmdale they have managed to misappropriate state-wide funds to a what is a local project, namely a high-end, overbuilt quasi-BART from LA to Palmdale. Same corrupt theme of misrule.

    The Tehachapi fire underscores the stupidity of gratuitously adding 30 route miles to the hsr. The longer the route the greater the exposure to acts of god. Simple math. Some “scientists” claim to have identified an asteroid on a collision course with Earth in the next century. I doubt that will hold up but it does help to put in perspective inflated worries about tunneling thru the Garlock fault.

    I consider Whitman’s opposition to the hsr highly tentative and pretty good strategy. The current scheme is unlikely to be built out without changes. By starting out negative she will be able to compel consideration of necessary modifications.

    My guess as to the root of her opposition is that the hsr is coming off as a sort of welfare program, an entitlement of the kind that is breaking the state budget. The CHSRA will claim it is entitled to public subsidy much as BART does. The whole issue of the level of government support of public transit is quickly coming to a nasty head. AC Transit and its unions are posturing toward a major dustup and SF Muni can’t be far behind. AC is talking about dumping all weekend bus service. Remember this is Oakland, not the boonies.

    Whether you like it or not(to quote Gavin)all of you hsr foamers have unknowingly become Bechtel’s running dogs. Any PB infrastructure scheme, like the water bond projects, that goes down to defeat undermines the overall Bechtel agenda, of which the hsr is but a part.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Still bullshit, Syn. The route selection is explained carefully in the studies, which give very clear engineering reasons for all the choices. I’ve read them end-to-end.

    The only choices eliminated for non-engineering reasons were eliminated for cost/benefit analysis reasons.

    Those are first and foremost the Second Transbay Tube (excellent ridership, fast route, probably the ideal, but very very expensive) and Altamont (the bridge across the Bay is unusable due to going through a wildlife reserve; as a result, in order to make it fast enough while going around the south end of the Bay, it required very expensive property acquisition.

    The Grapevine was eliminated for pure engineering risk reasons, *as you well know*.

    I regret that the Second Transbay Tube was rejected for sticker shock reasons, but given that I cannot find fault with any of the other choices.

    AndyDuncan Reply:

    If they offered free frogurt on board, I bet that would boost ridership. I smell a Pinkberry sponsorship!

  6. D. P. Lubic
    Jul 27th, 2010 at 18:04

    Checked the memo, 800 telephone calls plus another 400 interviews gives a total of 1200 surveys, which is a fairly standard number for this sort of thing (it’s the same number television and radio rating services use).

    One thing that doesn’t seem to have been done was to tabulate results by age. It would be interesting to see a professional marketing or surveying firm confirm and publish the generational aspect we have been noting here, and it would be especially interesting (and perhaps entertaining!) to see the reaction to such published results, particularly from people in “that difficult, in-between age.” :-)

  7. Observer
    Jul 27th, 2010 at 18:14

    The extent that you’ll stoop to, to lap up the koolaid, and indeed help administer, is astounding. Robert – it says here that a full 53% of people who have ‘heard a great deal’ about this project do NOT want it to move forward as quickly as possible.

    What this says is that while 76% of people support HSR in concept, only 34% want THIS project to move forward no matter what. On the other hand, a full 55% either oppose it outright, or DON”T want THIS project to move forward ‘no matter what’ – They want their concerns addressed!!! In other words, this study is confirming what PCC and all these Palo Alto nimby’s have been screaming all along – that the voters DID NOT hand the state a blank check to do whatever, at any cost.

    Robert – it all boils down to how big your ‘but’ is. See, when someone says “I like you, BUT, you’re a liar.” That means they don’t like you cuz you’re a liar. When they say “Your a liar, BUT I like you” – that means they still like you, even though you’re a liar. In a sentence containing a ‘but’, the thing that comes after the but negates the thing that came before. Simple common English. Take another look at the question.

    Also, read the fine print. 800 random samples (yes, lets just find out how random), PLUS another 400 from SF, SJ, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno and Anaheim, and something mysteriously called menlopark/Atherton/Palo Alto. In other words, 33% of this sample has been loaded (and depending on how these were gathered, and how and where they found these 400 from – just how loaded – god only knows.) But I’m sure Hamilton will fill us all in shortly. The fact that you left that 400 out of your answer above – speaks volumes.

    I can’t WAIT til CAARD get their hands on this piece of crap.

    AND the kicker – as voters were fed PROPOGANDA through the course of the survey, they became MORE in favor? Wow, amazing. Tell us what kind of factual information they were fed through the course of the survey…

    And by the way – THIS GARBAGE is being paid for from the $7M PR funding – from our Prop1A bond funds.. Really? Fantastic. The more they spend on this crap, the sooner the whole thing caves in.

    Is it really that you think the general public are really that big of idiots? Are you just doing your job? Or are you just that lacking in judgement? moral compass? powers of reason and logic? What?

    Peter Reply:

    Wow, “Observer” showing his lack of observational skills yet again. This is as entertaining as your claims based on your “personal observations” of how many trains per hour go by on the Caltrain ROW.

    Yes, some people have reservations about the project. But if you’ll direct your attention to Figure 3 on page 3, you’ll see that only 33% do not think the project should go forward because of those reservations. The others feel that the risks are outweighed by the benefits. Now, an observant Observer would have observed things like that.

    “AND the kicker – as voters were fed PROPOGANDA through the course of the survey, they became MORE in favor?”

    Education often helps shape people’s opinions. An observant person would have observed that through his or her life experience.

    Observer Reply:

    yes. Read the bullet right above figure 4.

    I can’t WAIT to find out what kind of “detailed information” and “MESSAGES articulating its benefits” that the respondents were “provided” with by the surveyors “Over the coure of the survey”…

    YesonHSR Reply:

    And what kind of NIMBY detailed information have all naysayers been putting out ?? Remember we the voters said YES on prop 1A! And this Poll underscores that commitment.. Nimby/Naysayer spin notwithstanding the vast majority of the citizens in this state want High speed rail!!

    Drunk Engineer Reply:

    Whatever “detailed information” was fed to respondents is irrelevant. It goes without saying they were not provided info from Transdef or CAARD.

    This is clearly a “push-poll” effort. The purpose isn’t to measure public sentiment, but rather generate positive poll numbers for a PR campaign. When Trandef, or CAARD, or PCC raise serious concerns about the project, CHSRA can just say, “well, 75% of Californians disagree with you.” Can’t argue with that logic, right?

    Spokker Reply:

    You are as much of a shithead that Robert is. He likes the poll because it says what he wants and you dislike it because it says what you don’t want.

    How about seeing the questions first before either of you start flipping out?

    Robert Cruickshank Reply:

    I like the poll because it appears to be an accurate reflection of public opinion, which is that HSR is a good idea and should move forward, and that any “concerns” do not rise to the level of “pull the air brake chain.”

    Sure, I’m happy that its conclusions and mine are the same. But then I already knew that based on November 2008.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Whoo–ee, what chemistry, as in, what a reaction!

    This is as bad as anything I got when I suggested an interurban line instead of a highway in West Virgina, even when I had numbers to back up what I had to say.

    I wonder if Observer fits the generational pattern.

    Does anybody know? An inquiring mind wants to know!

    YesonHSR Reply:

    Most definitely!!!!!

  8. John Burrows
    Jul 27th, 2010 at 21:34

    I would not read more into this survey than is actually there— 34 per cent for HSR— 13 per-cent opposed—- 42 per cent leaning toward HSR, —- and 11 per-cent not responding.

    It would be better if there were more unconditional support for HSR. According to this survey, the more informed you are, the more likely you are to support it.

    I have had numerous conversations with family, friends, colleagues and neighbors regarding this project, and although most indicate some degree of support, the thing that strikes me most is how little they actually know about it. Tons of information on HSR is already out there, but there needs to be more; or maybe it needs to be presented differently.

    jimsf Reply:

    Lots of people ask me when its gonna be done. I tell them hopefully soon but probably never with everyone arguing about it. When I point out the nimby issue the response is .. “ahh yeh that always happens”

    Caelestor Reply:

    Numbers are a powerful tool and I estimate 100x more effective than words. They’ve been used by all camps involved: 3 hour train ride vs 7 hour car trip, $33 billion -> $42 billion, just to name a few.

  9. TomW
    Jul 28th, 2010 at 06:19

    It would be good if the exact survey methodoly and the pre-weighted survey data was released, so that any accusations of bias in the methodology can be addressed. Polling firms often do this for political polls (even if done for commerical organisations), so there’s reason why they can’t be done for government-sponsered polls.

    I also think that when the CHSRA is considerign route options in a community, it should send a letter to everyone in the community, explaining what the options are, and personlised to say exactly what the impact of each option on them would be. Of course, for most people, there would be no impact on their home, and they should be told that. Where the exact route has already been decided, a similar process should be used. I wouldn’t be hugely expensive, and would do a lot to inform people and address their fears.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Send a letter to everyone’s house and then people will scream that they were: wasting money sending a letter to everyone’s house; that the customization wasn’t detailed enough or that the customization was papering over problems or that it was scaring people off, take your pick; that is somehow violates the the notification provisions of NEPA/CEQA and therefore voids everything back to the creation of light; ….. there’s a well defined process in place, it’s been tested and changed over the decades. They are using it. If people aren’t paying attention that’s unfortunate.

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