ARD Creates Biased Poll, Still Loses

Gate way

The transit-oriented-denialist group the Alliance for Rational Development published a poll regarding the Tenleytown Safeway a few days ago. Not content to only use sockpuppets to create the appearance of debate, they have gotten into push-polling. Yes, they created a voluntary internet poll, one that suffers badly from both self-selection bias and leading questions. For example:

I would prefer a mixed-use development on the site that would include five or six floors of residential housing along with a new Safeway. (Safeway at present, has indicated that it has no interest in building such a development.)

Out of 95 voters, 72 said yes to the question anyway. Then there’s this:

If you expressed a preference for a mixed-use development, would you still oppose Safeway’s current proposal if the result were that Safeway decided against any redevelopment of the current store?

81% of respondents still said yes. But all this poll indicates is that activists overwhelmingly support a Safeway mixed-use project. A self-selected poll is never accurate for representing a general population, as it attracts only the most interested individuals. This survey does not, and never could have represented neighborhood opinion, even more so than the Safeway postcards.

So, I guess my point is that ARD doesn’t represent the silent majority, and they don’t even represent a significant minority. The secretive organization is nothing but sound and fury crippled by ineptitude and a lack of web savvy. I don’t think they represent even a credible opposition – and they certainly don’t support anything on their own. Hopefully, people will see through their bluster and realize that they are done.

Alas, maybe more radical action is needed. MaKrel, who may or may not be my friends at ASR, suggests something more radical:

We could demolish the Safeway and return the land to agricultural production in a cooperatively owned CSA farm. Then we wouldn’t have to eat the GM cr*p that corporate supermarket chains shove down our throats; a good example:

God Bless Anarcho-Syndicalism. I’ve taken a screencap of the poll just in case it goes down, after the break.


6 thoughts on “ARD Creates Biased Poll, Still Loses

  1. It looks like the Alliance for Rational Development just updated their website ( It is really quite revealing and worth a look.

    “If you happen not to walk, there’s parking for a quick trip to 1-story Safeway.”

    I’ll leave it the the readers of this blog to come to their own conclusions but it seems that ARD is praising suburban big-box style, auto-dependent development. Surely, Z/Cassie/Sue had no part in this, since she is not a member of ARD.

    Next, on ARD’s photo-journalism tour, note:

    “Here are some other apartments, condos, and townhouses along Connecticut Avenue between Chevy Chase and Woodley Park, many of them quite beautiful, and most no more than 6 stories.”

    And more:

    “What we think of or remember as tall apartments are often really only 5-7 stories. Very few apartments along Connecticut Avenue are more than 6 stories tall.

    Why is ARD supportive of 4-7 story buildings for CT Ave, within walking distance of metro stations, but virulently opposes the same types of developments when these are proposed for Wisconsin Avenue?

  2. To say nothing of the fact that the Saratoga and other 9+ story buildings are not exactly imposing, sky-obstructing structures.

    But this is all nonsense, because we all know Ward 3 Vision is working with CIAM and the Freemasons to build 40-story cruciform skyscrapers and take away the cars of the valiant non-developers.

  3. An e-mail push poll:

    Sent: Saturday, February 06, 2010 11:34 PM
    Subject: Safeway Survey Outcome

    ARD Safeway Survey Outcome Message List
    Message #292 of 292 < Prev
    Thanks to all who responded, or tried to respond, to our Safeway poll. Based on
    the voting trends, the timing of the votes, and other evidence, we believe that
    the results have been significantly compromised and therefore are unlikely to be
    an accurate indication of your thoughts on the Safeway project. The poll was
    designed as an informal survey of ARD supporters to get some idea of where you
    stand on this issue. Both the audience and the scope of the poll were expanded
    by various bloggers and other interest groups to the point that we cannot have
    any confidence that the results accurately reflect your positions.

    Getting an accurate reading of the neighborhood’s views on this
    significant issue is important, so we hope that you will take the time to send
    us a short email, preferably not anonymous, and let us know whether you support:
    1) keeping the current Safeway; 2)building a new Safeway along the lines of the
    one proposed, assuming Safeway can work out a suitable agreement with the
    adjoining neighbors; 3) building a new Safeway only if it’s built below five or
    six stories of residential housing. We will not share your name or identifying

    This type of online poll is very easy to game, and all one can rely on is the
    good will and honesty of those involved. On the other hand, no matter how
    technologically hip we may be, there’s no substitute for one person or family
    communicating their messages to one another directly.

    So we hope you’ll take a minute to email us directly at arddcorg@…

    ARD Board

  4. The scope of their poll is contradictory:

    Getting an accurate reading of the neighborhood’s views on this significant issue is important.

    Which is not the same as:

    The poll was designed as an informal survey of ARD supporters to get some idea of where you stand on this issue.

    I sincerely hope that they don’t regard ARD as a sample of the neighborhood.

  5. This is simply laughable. I hope even Safeway, who presumably would be the beneficiary of such a ridiculous sample, would dismiss this for the sham that it is.

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