We were recently invited to conduct another Pop Up Poll in the Near Northside neighborhood. We set up our ballot box at the Community Center in the middle of Moody Park, and we asked the following question:
“Which of these topics do you care the most about?”
The options were traffic/infrastructure, pension reform, technology innovation, environmental policy, and crime. Results are shown below:
There wasn’t a specific event happening, so we were only able to poll the people who happened to be passing through the center, most of whom were parents and guardians picking up children from the daycare. There were several other individuals who came to the center to use the fitness center. Although there weren’t as many responses in this particular poll, it was easier to engage with each individual about their responses. If someone chose a token indicating they had not lived in the area long, we asked where they lived before. If a respondent was hesitant about which option to choose, we would ask what his or her second choice would have been, if they were able to vote twice.
There wasn’t a consistent response with the follow-up questions, but it was a chance for us to understand the individuals more and for them to ask questions about our poll. There were several instances where people asked for an explanation of each of the options before voting, and a few even remarked that they didn’t realize things like pension reform were relevant issues. The chance to engage and increase general awareness of the election made up for the low participation numbers.
One woman in particular took time to talk about her personal experiences and how they affected her vote. She identified herself as having lived in the neighborhood for between 2-10 years, and the issue she voted for was ‘pension reform.’ After voting, she explained that, though pension reform is a priority to her for the city, the issue really affecting her daily life within the neighborhood is crime. She described the residential area next to Lindale Park and said that having a recycling center there is problematic. She frequently has her trash picked through by people hoping to find recyclable scraps to exchange for money. As a consequence, there is constant theft in the area.
Even though there was not a high number of respondents in this poll, engaging with individual respondents was a meaningful takeaway that will inform future Pop Up Polls. ‘Crime’ received the highest number of votes, and other polls conducted in the Northside neighborhood can delve into what it means for people to care the most about crime. However, according to the State of Northside Annual Report, crime decreased 22% between 2010-2014 in Northside. If this is the case, it would be interesting to hear anecdotal evidence of what the changes over time have been for the residents.