Friday, May 27, 2016

Learning About Athens

There's this huge new survey out about Athens-Clarke County (where I live). I hope to dig into its methodology and details on another day but while skimming the results I came across Question 14 in the appendix that asks:
Please indicate how much of a source, if at all, you consider each of the following to be for obtaining information about the Athens community and its activities, events and services:
Below are the rankings of those considered a "major source" by the respondents. The percentage who thought so is in parentheses (other responses were "minor source" and "not a source"). My comments are below the list.
  1. ACC web site (43%)
  2. Athens Banner-Herald online (36%)
  3. Athens Banner-Herald print (35%)
  4. Facebook (34%)
  5. Atlanta TV stations (33%)
  6. Flagpole print (32%)
  7. Flagpole online (28%)
  8. WUGA radio (27%)
  9. Emails from ACC Govt (25%)
  10. Other media outlets (23%) 
  11. Water bill inserts (22%)
  12. The Red & Black print (21%)
  13. Athens News Matters radio show (19%)
  14. R&B online (18%)
  15. Other radio talk shows (15%)
  16. (tie) radio ads and 102 FM's Magic Morning show (13%)
There are a few others, but you get the idea. Keep in mind these were provided to respondents, not volunteered by them. I'm shocked, frankly, that so many people consider the ACC site a major source. However, it seems to have been listed first in the questionnaire. Normally you'd randomly rotate the order in which these are presented but I can't find any suggestion that this was done. It's a subtle bias, if indeed it was not randomly handled. 

The R&B does surprisingly well given it's a student newspaper on the UGA campus.

As to methodology, I really want to dig into this. Briefly, 1,800 randomly selected households were sent a survey and 364 responded, which is a damn good response rate. You could fill it out in paper or online. That makes the margin of error here, if my math is correct, at 5.1 percent. So when you look at the results above, you'll find the MOE makes for very few differences and essentially the ABH and ACC sites are in a statistical tie for first. The survey undersamples blacks (17 percent in the survey, 27 percent in the county). There are other issues I'll write about at another time.

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