Lane Jail Levy Polling Trends

This is going to be relatively long post. There is a lot of information to get through. This is the first in a series of posts about May’s jail levy.

Above is the countywide polling trend for the Lane County Jail levy. There was a slight trend downward in the polling and a sharp uptick to the victory percentage. As usual, the best way to interpret the data is to assume all the “No” and “Undecided” voters will vote no.

The overall variation from one poll to the next is not so large. All polls were above 50 percent and predicted a win. All were within margin of error of the final result. Two of the three were within two points of the final landslide percentage.

The early poll appears more accurate than later polls. It is rare that money measures in Oregon move very much or increase over time. See for the 4J Bond trend and for the Eugene Service Fee trend.

It’s the downward trend that’s interesting.

The variations get to the issue of timing of polls. First, the public relations snafus regarding the county administrator’s pay, the attempted Metro Partnership coup, and a commissioner’s very public attempt to remove a newspaper reporter from a meeting had an impact.

Second, due to the early lack of funds the Yes on the Jail Levy campaign was only able to start advertising May 2. This was just a few days before the last countywide poll was fielded (May 6-7). Essentially, only the snafus were in the public’s mind.

Together this makes it clear why the Lane County polling went downhill.

The next step is to look at the polling of City of Eugene voters.

This graphic covers the Eugene polling. The Eugene poll picked up the support increase the Lane polling missed because it was fielded one week later. It was all in the timing.

The Eugene polling shows a steady increase over time. The final boost, between April 29-30 and May 13-14 was huge and definitely statistically significant. The increase was nine points. Well above the margin of error. This was a clear indication of a movement.

What happened? It appears the yes campaign happened. The yes campaign’s advertising didn’t start until after the 2nd Eugene survey.

It is rare money measure support increases this significantly.

This graphic combines the trends of yes vote percentages for the Eugene and Lane polling series.

By May 13-14, the yes campaign was in full gear and it showed. The Eugene polling jumped dramatically. The last Lane poll, from one week earlier, showed a drop.

This makes it clear how important the jail levy campaign was.

The plan is that posts in subsequent weeks will examine more details about the Jail Levy campaign.

If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no on Measure 20-213: For Jail and Critical Youth Services, a five-year levy. Shall County restore jail beds and critical youth treatment levying $0.55 per $1,000 assessed valuation for five years commencing 2013/14?
IF YES/NO: Is that strongly or somewhat? IF DON’T KNOW: Which way do you lean?

LANE: 200 live telephone interviews were conducted of likely May 2013 Lane County Special Election voters on each of March 18-19, April 22-23, and May 6-7, 2013. The margin of error at the sample median was 7 percent.

EUGENE: 200 live telephone interviews were conducted of likely May 2013 City of Eugene Special Election voters on each of April 2-3, April 29-30, and May 13-14, 2013. The margin of error at the sample median was 7 percent.

We won’t know the results of the measure in the City of Eugene until the precinct results are released not later than June 10.

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