This weekend we set out to one of Houston’s premier Arts & Craft festivals, Pop Shop, and tested out a new mechanism for quickly gathering public opinion data. We conducted separate polls with the following questions:
What background experience is most important for our future Mayor? (technology, accounting, criminal justice, education, or none of these)
Our first observation while conducting the poll was that ‘Education’ won by a landslide when people were asked what kind of background experience they value in the mayor. It looks like the mayoral candidate coming from the school board could be most appealing to voters, but the caveat is that there aren’t actually any candidates with an education background. Another interesting observation about this question is that people gave it a great deal of thought, whereas the following question about the Astrodome prompted much quicker responses.
What should we do with the Astrodome? (tear it down, create an event center, turn it into a park, leave it as is, or “I have no strong feelings”)
When asked “What should we do with the Astrodome?” the winning option was to turn it into a park, though it seems that most people ignored the financial consequences of the option, either through comments made aloud or nonchalance in voting for the option. Several people in the ’10+ years in Houston’ cateogory made comments about specific memories they had regarding the Astrodome and the nostalgia it brought about. Several people who voted to tear it down made comments about previously voting the same way in the past election.
What factor most heavily shapes your vote? (candidate’s racial identity, stance on a particular issue, or party affiliation)
We noticed a lot of sensitivity towards the question “What factor most heavily shapes your vote?” We saw several people read the question and blatantly walk away from it, and those who we approached directly were much more reluctant to participate. The winner turned out to be ‘issue stance,’ and a suspiciously low number of people (two) answered with ‘candidate’s racial identity.’ Perhaps it’s a bit negative to think that a majority of people voting based on issues is unrealistic, but it’s still interesting that the poll yielded these results. Did people vote untruthfully, or perhaps, idealistically? If it was truthful, then are the candidates addressing those issues on which people vote? Were people unwilling to admit that they have a racial or party bias? There’s no way to answer any of these questions without further polling, but we are treating the results with a healthy level of skepticism.
Which Houston celebrity would you elect as Mayor of Houston? (Bun-B, George Foreman, Joel Osteen, or Beyoncé)
Finally, Bun-B beat out Beyoncé for Mayor of Houston by a single vote. And he even tweeted about his excitement when Brian told him the good news! Better luck next time, Beyoncé.
**UPDATE: George Foreman has officially ‘favorited’ the tweet regarding the polling results. We are now waiting on Beyoncé’s response.
@raising_thebarr wow! Huge! I’m honored!
— Bun B (@BunBTrillOG) June 15, 2015
The polling data is shown in the figures below.