18 Dec 2009

PPIC's pro-peripheral propaganda

The Public Policy Institute of California is supposedly a non-partisan non-profit, but they are engaging in some VERY partisan activities.

PPIC published a report favoring the Peripheral Canal.

PPIC's Ellen Hanak speaks in favor of this option all the time.

Now, PPIC has issued results from a survey it commissioned that shows that people are willing to pay for such a Canal.*

PPIC asked (p 17):
“The governor and legislature recently passed a water package that includes water conservation requirements and plans for new water storage systems, water clean-up and recycling, and a council to oversee restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This package includes a proposal for an $11.1 billion bond measure to pay for water projects. How important is it that voters pass the bond measure?”
79 percent of adults and 74 percent of likely voters answered that this is important or very important, but I wonder how they would have answered if the question asked: "Are you likely to pay or VERY likely to pay your share of this $11 billion" or [getting harsh, but realistic, here] "These water projects might fix the problems, but probably won't. In either case, we will ask you for more money and keep trying to make good policies. Still wanna pay?"

Really, I wonder why PPIC is pushing this so hard? Oh, yes, here's their vision: "Providing essential information and framing policy debates to shape a better future for California."

Framing, as any psychologist will tell you, is about changing the phrasing to change the message. I see.

Bottom Line: Tell me how you want them to answer, and I can write a poll that delivers that result.

* Even if the $11 billion bond and accompanying water bills do not authorize or specify a canal, and the bond will only cover a few $billion of its $10 billion -- on paper -- cost


  1. Odd survey question indeed. At minimum, why not ask people directly if they will vote for it.
    Elsewhere in the survey, the same respondents say that the budget deficit is a serious problem, and they want it solved with spending cuts.

    It was interesting to see PPIC defending agricultural water use so vigorously in their Chronicle op-ed last week.

  2. I don't mind PPIC as an advocate for ideas, in general. This one was based on such bad science, however, that it really stinks, and has lowered my estimation of them. It also makes me curious as to who/how/where they get funding. This particular issue has become very fishy, indeed.

    The PC, however, is apartisan; that is, people coming down with a position are doing so for reasons other than party affiliation.


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