Self-serving polls

There has been a flurry of stories about the historic destinations on Rt. 15 between Gettysburg and Monticello, including the number of battlefields near that road. Accompanying this coverage was the announcement of poll results from a preservation coalition.

Maybe someone took a leaf from Civil War Preservation Trust's book: CWPT no longer enters a preservation dispute without poll results in hand. The results consistently say people like open space.

There's is a gentle and effective debunking of this poll in the Faquier Democrat today:
"Voters give overwhelming support to Journey Through Hallowed Ground Initiative," reads the headline of a June 2 press release from the JTHG Web site. But such claims may be overstated in terms of what the poll actually measured, and what margin of error accompanied those measurements.
Why do people whose self-image is that of doing public good consciously cut corners, misrepresent data, and shade the truth?

You can point to the human condition, but there are public service organizations that do not embarass their causes this way.

Moreover, what is being preserved by these coalitions? Read this statement carefully:
"The overwhelming majority of people like looking at farms ... more than strip malls," said Larry Harris, a principal with the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research firm that conducted the 2005 voter survey. "Is this any surprise or shock to anybody?"
Looks like the survey posited a false choice - starting off on the wrong foot.

If an historic property on Rt. 15 is to be preserved, buy the land and preserve it. Stop fooling with the broad anti-development coalitions, crooked surveys, and multipurposed battlefields.