Edmonds Election Watch 2011: A tale of two levy surveys

Earlier this week, we received a note from Edmonds City Councilmember Michael Plunkett summarizing the results of a survey on the three city levy proposals, which he sent out to 650 people on his email list. Here they are:

PROPOSITION NO.1: Levy to Help Maintain Current Levels of Service in Public Safety, Parks, and Other City Services

Yes 52 %
No 37 %
Undecided 10 %
No Answer 1 %

PROPOSITION NO.2: Levy for Street Pavement Overlays

Yes 46 %
No  38 %
Undecided 13 %
No Answer 3 %

PROPOSITION NO.3: Levy for Building Maintenance and Park Improvements

Yes 43 %
No 42 %
Undecided 13 %
No Answer 2 %

My Edmonds News also posted a poll on all three levies, with the results shown in the box:

There appears to be more support in Plunkett’s poll for all three levies — general fund, the street overlays and building maintenance levies — when compared to the My Edmonds News poll. But it’s hard to gauge how reflective either of these surveys is of how Edmonds voters are thinking, because they are not scientific in any way.

There were 242 respondent to the My Edmonds News poll, so we thought it would be interesting to know how many people responded to Plunkett’s survey.

Here’s how the email conversation went:

How many total responses did you get? I’d like to compare it to the poll I did on My Edmonds News.


This was non-scientific anyway.  I read somewhere you have around 900 subscribers? I have less than that, my email list is around 650.
 Michael Plunkett


I am averaging 3,000 unique visitors a day to My Edmonds News right now but so far just a couple of hundred voted in the levy poll. (And mine is unscientific as well.) Can you tell me how many of that 650 voted in the levy poll?


I have already had this discussion with another person about my survey and yours. I don’t know where you are going with this. If you want to criticize my little survey and make assertions about yours you are welcome to do so. This is just a private, political, web-site activity. I’m not going to get into dueling surveys or debate about scientific aspects of polling or into analysis of results. I said in every email and result it’s a non-scientific poll. If you want to do dueling surveys I’m not interested. You or anyone else are free to disregard this private survey. I’ve received a lot of positive feed-back and sent out the results only to those who are on my list so if you or anyone else got the results that’s OK with me. But I’m not a professional researcher (like some in Edmonds purport to be) I’m only a citizen with an interest in the public events in Edmonds.

Michael Plunkett


Michael — my purpose in asking is only this (no hidden agenda) — the results of my survey so far show all three levies failing. Yet your survey shows two of the three passing. I just wanted to talk about the results of both so that people can think about what it might mean themselves. Does that make sense? I’m not in a position to disregard or criticize anything because my survey isn’t scientific either.
Thanks for any help you can provide on the total number of people who responded to yours.


So far, we haven’t heard anything more from Councilmember Plunkett. If he does eventually share his poll numbers, we’ll post them. And for those who are wondering, we ARE on Mr. Plunkett’s email list — this information wasn’t forwarded from someone else.

  1. Teresa-thank you for posting these results and the e-mail exchange with Mr. Plunkett. My, how defensive can one get. I didn’t read or feel that your responses or requests of Mr. Plunkett were critical or negative in any way-it is informative for the general public to know this information even though they were not scientific polls. As I’ve said in the past, I will not be voting for any of the 3 levies until the city can get back on track and show that levies are needed. There are many questions about the cities accounting practices, and the way $ are spent. Anyone reading the articles and the posted information through the web links can see that!!!

  2. I know this isn’t relevant her but: When a person plays nasty and dirty, that person always assume that others operate the same way. When a person play in good faith, that person assumes others are too. This is Michael Plunkett; he resides in the first camp. There was noting unreasonable or threatening in Teresa’s email. Glad to see it’s business as usual at the Plunkett camp.

  3. Teresa, Here is what Michael Plunkett said in his original email.

    ” Dear Friends of Edmonds.
    You have been invited to take part in this survey.
    This is a survey about the Edmonds Levy propositions that will be on your ballot this November.
    Overall results will be posted and sent back to you. This will give you an opportunity to view feedback from citizens regarding these important issues.
    This is your chance to give your opinion on the Edmonds ballot”

    I have email back to MP last week and asked when he was going to provide the send out the results as promised. He has not responded. If MP is using an email list and promising to the results to those on the list why has he not done that. We all know your poll and his is not scientific but so what. It does provide an expression of the views of the citizens and can be useful. I would hope MP is will keep his word and send out the results. The ballots are out soon and I would hope we see the results of all polling before the ballots are out.

    Teresa, Your statement above says “… while the GF levy is opposed in both surveys…” The numbers posted for the MP poll show 52% yes for the GF Levy???

  4. Darrol, my apologies for the confusion. I’ve rewritten that section so it accurately reflects the survey results.

  5. Darrol (regarding #3),

    Fyi… I received an email from Councilmember Plunkett on Friday (10/14) containing the same results as posted in this article. And I did not participate in the survey. Generally, I don’t participate in non-scientific surveys/polls.

    I don’t know why you didn’t receive the email; perhaps, just a mix-up. But if you’re interested, I can forward the email to you. But as I mentioned, the email only contains the results as posted in here.

  6. Thanks Rich, No need to forward if the data is the same. I will wait for my reply which I am sure will come any day now.

    1. I have not received any more emails from Mr. Plunkett so the number of those participating is still a mystery.

  7. Ron B. Thanks for the name dropping. First you have every right to not put much stock in my comments but I assure you I read with interest almost every thing you say. I have had little success DISCUSSING issues with you so I stay clear most of the times. Let me be real clear about the levies and my work on the levy committee. What I am MOST often promoting is the right for the voters to set their own priorities and vote yes and no on what those priorities are. I am not a fan of the catch all levy that trys to put something in it for everyone to get enough votes to pass. That can lead to what you call “blotted” government or something like that. By putting targeted, limited time levies on the ballot we all get to help set the priorities. So I am really happy that we get to vote for or against each levy and not have them packaged as one. We the people get to decide.

    For those not attending the Oct 17 Levy Forum hosted by MEN the information will be provided in another article. I will be commenting on the levy issues in more detail when that information is available. And when you get your voters pamphlet it will be very clear that I do support the Street levy for I helped write the pro position. If you review my presentation to the council from the levy committee on Feb 22 you can see quite more of my views about expense and revenue issues in Edmonds.

    Now to the point of this article. Only Plunkett can tell us his motivation for doing a poll in the first place. His voting record was to support the Streets Levy and the Maintenance Levy. (all but DJ voted for these 2) And Plunket joined Lora, and DJ in voting no on the GF Levy. His poll shows the greatest support the the GF Levy, the only one he opposed. Clearly MP is in lock step with those on his email list.

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