Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on January 30, 2000 · Page 7
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 7

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Ukiah, California
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Sunday, January 30, 2000
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Page 7
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL overnment SUNDAY, JAN. 30, 2000 — A-7. The Board of Supervisors' Tuesday agenda includes issues ranging from mental health to r<5ad projects. - The day is expected to begin with a closed session, in which the board will work on negotiations to buy two properties, one at 731 S. State St. and one on 1120 S.Dora St. Supervisors also will discuss lawsuits, one anticipated, one in process and finish interviewing library director applicants. ' They will then move on to open session, which will include a request for proposal for a consultant to analyze mental health issues, including forensic and inpatient issues. They then plan to approve the purchase agreement for the So'uth State Street property discussed in closed session. The Yokayo Building is expected to serve as an addition to Social Services. ..Other board agenda items include: >A request to waive the practice of requiring that members of the Workforce Investment Board and Private Industry Council be registered voters. •The appointment of Donna Montag as the Private Industry Council member. •Approval of the Mendocino County investment policy. •Approval of a grant for a youth drop-in center. v ;Approval of a contract order for an asphalt concrete overlay program on various county roads. 1 The board meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday with closed session. Open session is expected to begin around 9:30 a.m. Sunday TV hews shows *' Associated Press ;'ABC's "This Week"Topic: Bill Bradley candidacy, (quest: Democratic presidential contender Bill Bradley. ; CBS'"Face the Nation" Topic: Campaign 2000. Quest: Republican presidential contender George W. BXish. NBC's "Meet the Press"Topic: New Hampshire primary, with guests: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., GOP presidential hopeful; Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Gore supporter; ! CNN's "Late Edition" Topic: New Hampshire primary/campaign 2000. Guests: GOP presidential hopefuls Sen. John McCain and Alan fteyes. Karen Hughes, press secretary for George W. Bush; Sen. Bob Kerrey, D- Neb., Bradley supporter; and Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., Minority Whip, Gore supporter. "Fox News Sunday" Topic: New Hampshire. Guest: GOP presidential contender George W. Bush. David'/ Drain Cleanly Drain and fewer OleaniA9 Service Lie* 4463 24 HOUR SERVICE $45/hr. In Uklah NO AFTER HOURS CHARGE 468-5947 Pollsters: Sound poll is about quality, not quantity By DOUG WILLIS Associated Press Writer SACRAMENTO — If you are a registered California voter, your chances of being inter viewed for the next Field Poll are about one in 14,000. They improve to one.in 10,000 for the Los Angeles Times Poll and one in 7,000 for the Public Policy Institute of California poll. With so few people interviewed in a state with 14.6 million registered voters, those whose candidates or ballot proposals get low poll ratings regularly, dispute'the premise that a survey of a few thousand people reflects the public mood. One is Al Shugart, chairman of an initiative campaign to add "None of the Above" to the list of ballot options in all candidate races. He is furious that the latest Field Poll shows his March 7 measure trailing 10 percentage points after leading in earlier polls. Field's sample in that poll "equates to one out of 17,505 voters," Shugart said, adding that it is so dishonest Field should change polling methods or get out of the polling business. Replies Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo: "I get that question all the time. "It's a matter of statistical theory, and you can prove it yourself," he said. "If you toss a coin 1,000 times, statistics will tell you it will come up heads between 470 and 530 times." And that shows how an accu- rate picture of a large population can be drawn from relatively small numbers of people, DiCamillo said. It's the quality of the poll, not the quantity of the polled, that matters most, he said. The most important guarantees of accuracy are the poll's independence, assuring the poll truly reflects the population being surveyed, and wording questions carefully to avoid introducing a bias, DiCamillo said. He said he is concerned about phrasing questions in a way that might prompt a socially acceptable response rather than a true description of a voter's feelings. "This can come about especially on questions involving race or religion or immigration," DiCamillo said. "If people are responding to our survey like it's a test and they are trying to give the right answers, then we're compiling misleading information." The Field Poll, California's oldest, has a remarkably good record when its final pre-election polls are compared with final returns. In its 53-year history, the Field Poll has been embarrassed by only two of its 1,950 political polls. And both, one in 1948 and the other in 1982, involved unusual circumstance that prompted changes in poll methods, DiCamillo said. In 1948, the Field Poll reported Republican Tom Dewey nar- rowly defeating President Harry Truman in California. But the final tally gave Truman a win by 1 percentage point. DiCamillo. who joined the Field Poll in 1978, said sampling techniques were less sophisticated then and many polls around the nation underreported Truman's strength. In 1982, an election day Field Poll of voters leaving their precincts said Democrat Tom Bradley defeated Republican George Deukmejian for governor. DiCamillo said that poll didn't take into account an unexpected increase in the number of absentee voters, who voted overwhelmingly for. Deukmejian, giving him a narrow win. Mark Baldassare, pollster for the Public Policy Institute of California, has essentially the same list of priorities as DiCamillo to avoid bias in his polls. But while the Field Poll normally takes a sample of 1,000 voters, Baldassare polls 2,000. That doesn't make a great difference in the accuracy of the total population polled: there is a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent in a sample of 1,000, compared with 2 percent in a sample of 2,000, Baldassare said. But a larger sample allows statistically significant measurements among subsamples, such as Hispanic voters or Northern California Republicans. California voters also get calls for polls that aren't independent, or even real polls. The easiest way to tell is the caller's failure to say at the start of the phone call who they are and why they are conducting a poll, Baldassare said. Other tip-offs include questions casting doubt on one candidate or citing the virtues of another. Then it is probably a call on behalf of a candidate or a cause, Baldassare said. Questions such as age, race and education are normal, but no legitimate pollster will ask for your Social Security number, and many don't even ask your name, he said. For aboveboard pollsters, the most important factor in accurate polling is ensuring every voter in the population the poll will measure has an equal chance of being surveyed, Baldassare said. That is done by using computer-generated random residential telephone numbers with all California prefixes, and when there are no answers, calling back repeatedly to the original numbers selected to avoid a bias against hard-to-reach people, he said. Once a call is completed, a second random selection is made by asking for the adult who had the most recent birthday. "It's as important to randomize who you speak to in the household as it is to randomize the household you select," Baldassare said. "If you didn't, you'd primarily get women and older people." Nearly all polls adjust their numbers if they find any demographic group is significantly.. under- or over-represented. Totals of an underrepresented group might get a 1.1 multiplier, on their answers, while another- 1 group might get a 0.9 multiplier.- , That is fine-tuning, rarely more than 1 percent, DiCamille' said. If it is much more than that, the poll is probably flawed, Baldassare said. '. • But critics contend that evenif those safeguards for accuracy ate followed, polls still have a dis* - turbing influence on elections.' <' "The thing that bothers me is ' that I really think the polls infill-. ence elections," Proposition 23's ' Shugart said. "They can be self j , fulfilling prophecies." ' . • Veteran Republican consultant Sal Russo, said polls can have a troubling impact on fund raising: > "In federal races, with .a. $1,000 limit, any setback can,absolutely doom your cam* '. paign," Russo said. "And a lot of • contributors want to be with tbe '. winner. If you slip in the polk,' they cover their bets. So you not • only have your fund raising. stalled, but it accelerates fund raising for your opponents." J '. However, Russo said, he has found legitimate public polls are a good indicator of what is hap-, pening. "Every time we've been behind (in a poll) and I've said, "That poll can't be right,' I was- wrong," he said. AG disputes ad against insurance proposition Associated Press LOS ANGELES — California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said a multi-million insurance industry ad campaign wrongly states that a March ballot measure allows drunk drivers to sue insurers. Lockyer issued the written statement Thursday in response to a question from Senate President Pro Tern John Burton, D- San Francisco, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. *He descfibed tropositW 30 on the March 7 ballot as "clear and unambiguous" on the subject of drunk drivers. "(The proposition) does not authorize or permit drunk drivers to file lawsuits against insurance companies," Lockyer said. Proposition 30 would restore the right of accident victims to sue responsible parties' insurance companies if they dishonestly deny or delay payment of legitimate claims. However, it bars anyone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol from filing such a lawsuit. Proposition 30 was created by the insurance industry to under- mine law signed last year by Gov. Gray Davis that allows victims of auto accidents to sue other drivers' insurance companies when they believe their claims have not been handled fairly. . Proposition 30 says approximately the same thing as that law, so its defeat would effectively nullify Davis' bad-faith- lawsuit law. When the measure qualified for the ballot, the law was put on hold. mm^mm The Nation's #1 NORWEST Mortgage Lender A Wells Fargo Co. Inside Wells Fargo pulton R. DauglM Kly«» NlniURou ADemitny, JR. 462-0290 245 B. 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