Independent third party expert says findings can’t be trusted
A poll commissioned by opponents of building a newer and safer Brent Spence Bridge Corridor has been thoroughly discredited by an independent third party expert as an unscientific and unreliable survey.
In a column written for the The Kentucky Enquirer, Ronald E. Langley, Ph.D., the director of the University of Kentucky Survey Research Center, said results of The Northern Kentucky United poll on the Brent Spence Bridge project as well as a statewide smoking ban legislation “are not likely to tell us what people in Northern Kentucky really think.”
Langley wrote that the pollster’s methodology was so flawed that the results cannot be considered legitimate. Instead of practices used by legitimate professional pollsters – such as interviewing respondents — bridge opponents hired a pollster that used an unreliable method of conducting more than 50,000 automated robo calls to Northern Kentucky residents.
“A key problem with this method is that you don’t really know who the respondents are, or even if they are adults,” Langley wrote. “This is the same technology that was used for the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Bluegrass Poll, which was off by double digits in predicting the McConnell/Grimes U.S. Senate race.
“Of larger concern, however, is that only households with landlines were included,” Langley continued. “As of the end of 2013, over 40 percent of all households in each of these three counties were cell phone only. Don’t those people’s opinions count? Alas, robo-polls that, like telemarketers, use auto-dialers cannot by law be used to dial cell phones. Legitimate attempts to determine the preferences of Northern Kentucky residents … would have used a methodology that didn’t exclude nearly half the population.”
Read Langley’s column here:
“The flawed ‘polling’ can be added to the growing list of actions and assertions that leads one to question the legitimacy of the arguments bridge opponents have been making about the Brent Spence Bridge project,” said Matt Davis, director of the Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition, a broad-based partnership of businesses, labor organizations, government leaders, community groups, and individuals advocating for the bridge’s replacement.
“The bridge opponents’ ‘poll,’ like many of their arguments and claims, are not valid or serious,” Davis said. “Bridge opponents are willing to say anything to delay the construction of a bridge that will improve safety and create thousands of jobs. Commissioning and releasing this type of ‘poll’ is shortsighted and dangerous.”
“When Kentucky lawmakers return to Frankfort this week for the remaining six weeks of the Kentucky General Assembly session, they need to disregard this bogus ‘poll’ and enact legislation that would allow Public Private Partnerships, also known as P3, which will accelerate the completion of construction and lower the cost of transportation projects like the Brent Spence Bridge,” he said.
A vote on P3 will not enact tolls on the bridge, but it will allow a P3 to potentially be used on the corridor project. A financial plan for the project would then be developed, and it would be voted on during the 2016 legislative session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
The 50-year-old Brent Spence Bridge is an unsafe, overcrowded span that carries more than 172,000 vehicles a day, more than double the capacity it was built to accommodate. Each day, 30,000 trucks carry more than $1 billion in freight across the bridge. Daily backups on the bridge contribute to gridlock, lost productivity, and dangerous, time-consuming commutes.
Further delays mean that every day we wait for a federal handout that is never coming is another day that 215,000 people travel across an outdated, overcrowded, and unsafe bridge.