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September 18, 2006

Doubts about Atlantic Yards poll

Project poll misses mark

Crain's NY Business, Letter to the Editor

Published on September 18, 2006

The Crain's poll purporting to show that 60% of New Yorkers approve of the Atlantic Yards project is biased (Sept. 4). Crain's doesn't report that 60% of survey respondent have doubts about the cost to the city, 58% question the scale and 72% have problems with the approval process.

The first clue that something's wrong with the poll is the first question: "How closely have you been following news about the Atlantic Yards development project?" Fifty-six percent say they haven't been following it at all. In other words, most respondents will learn what they know about the project from the questionnaire itself.

And the questions are leading. The question that got 60% of respondents saying they're somewhat or very favorable describes the existing site in negative terms. In a seeming attempt at balance, the survey asks three questions focused on criticisms and three about the project's purported benefits. In responses to the criticism, the researchers lump those expressing "some doubts" as being favorable.

The three questions about claimed benefits--affordable housing, construction jobs and bringing professional sports to Brooklyn--questions on which New Yorkers are more likely to have consensus, leave no middle ground for "some doubts," and the results sound more positive.

After hearing about benefits, respondents are asked if they approve of the project; their answers, of course, follow the script.

Daniel Goldstein
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

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Posted by lumi at September 18, 2006 9:15 AM