The Elon “poll” (scarequotes, because the methodology and presentation of the results strains the limits of legitimacy) found that 66% support a $2 billion statewide transportation bond. It also found that voters don’t want higher taxes on gas, cars, or property to pay for transportation projects. The question is, as one of my colleagues points out: do voters understand that bonds mean higher taxes?
Of course not. And Elon doesn’t want them to, either–otherwise we might see far different results.
I’m always astounded at how readily the press laps up the results of the Elon Poll. Just a tiny bit of critical analysis would yield all sorts of problems both in the approach and the execution. My little tinfoil hat theory is that the press is simply eager for stories of great big shiny public works projects that – while they destroy prosperity – make great frontpage stories. Of course, the media have also bought into light rail fetishism and urban planning backwardness. (Witness WRAL’s trips to Charlotte and sundry other attempts to convince people that rail transit is some sort of silver bullet.) Polls of under-informed voters are likely to validate the biases of the media and the pollster–all for the sake of a grand illusion that will pull the wool over the eyes of the citizenry and pluck more money from their paychecks.