The Town has posted the "Draft Public Input Element" as part of the Comprehensive Plan process here. Two points will be awarded to the first Gadfly reader who identifies kt's participant quote on page three.
Putting aside for the moment the merits of surveys in general, as promised, here is my analysis of the Town comprehensive survey results - in terms of whether or not the resulting sample is representative of Town Residents.
As I said in my previous post on this topic, "Done well, random sampling methods include contact with a small number of people, the results of which can represent the entire population under study. The answers obtained from a scientific probability survey are not just answers from those individuals who responded but more importantly, because of the design and methods by which the data is collected, can be used to generalize to the population as a whole. We want a methodology that ensures results are an estimate of what would have been obtained if all adults in the New Paltz were interviewed."
With that in mind, I compared the demography of the survey results with that of the Census. (Admittedly, somewhat old since the last Census was in 2000.) My analysis finds that:
As far as the number of adults in household and age categories(except for age 65+), the data is not comparable to Census. With respect to the presence of children in HH, those age 65+, and college (only) graduates, the survey is representative. However, there are some significantly underrepresented groups: Renters, Residents not in the labor force, Households earning less than $50,000 per year, and Residents with less than a college degree. Correspondingly, these group are overrepresented (which skews the results towards the views of these groups): Homeowners, Employed persons, Households earning more than $50,000 per year, and Residents with post-graduate degrees. Also worthy of note, since certain questions were absent from the survey, we have no comparison to actual population for Gender and Race/Ethnicity.
Based on this, my conclusion is that, whether you like the content of the survey or not is irrelevant, as the survey results are not representative of the population of the Town of New Paltz.
kt Tobin Flusser