EMC survey of 400 carefully chosen city of Chico residents

28 Oct

Thanks Dave Howell, for sending me the EMC survey paid for by the city of Chico (meaning, you taxpayers). 

It cut and paste into a big blob, I have spaced the first three pages so you can read them more easily, and I’ve added my own remarks and highlights in red, but I haven’t changed one word or number of the information. Unfortunately, I only made it to page 4 this morning, I’ll have to get back later to fix the rest. That stuff is still readable, but it takes some looking, everything is all crammed together.

This survey is very leading, read it for yourself, and let me know what you think. I’d really love to hear from somebody who was actually contacted by EMC.

Hybrid Telephone/Email-to-Webi Survey of Likely November 2020 Voters
City of Chico, California
Conducted September 19- 30, 2019
n=400; Margin of Error +4.9 percentage points
EMC Research #19-7241

All numbers in this document represent percentage (%) values, unless otherwise noted.
Please note that due to rounding, percentages may not add up to exactly 100%.

GREETING: Hello, my name is ________, may I speak with (NAME ON LIST)?

INTERVIEWER: NOL ONLY  NOTICE: They have carefully chosen respondents and will only interview the person they’ve targeted, no other household members.

INTRO: Hello, my name is ________, and I’m conducting a survey for __________ to find out how people feel
about issues in Chico. We are not trying to sell anything, and are collecting this information on a scientific
and completely confidential basis.

1. SEX (RECORD FROM OBSERVATION)
Male 47
Female 53

2. Are you registered to vote in Chico?
Yes 100

No/(Don’t Know/Refused)  TERMINATE –

3. What would you say are the chances that you will vote in the November 2020 general election for
President, Congress, and other local measures—are you almost certain to vote, will you probably
vote, are the chances fifty-fifty, or do you think that you will not vote?
Almost Certain/(Definitely)  CONTINUE 92
Probably  CONTINUE 7
50/50 Chance  CONTINUE 1
Will not vote/(Don’t Know/Refused)  TERMINATE –

4. Do you feel that things in the Chico area are going in the right direction or do you feel things are off
on the wrong track?
Right Direction 30
Wrong Track 50
(Don’t Know/Refused) 20

NOTE: Here they admit that they have not recorded responses verbatim (word for word) 

i Telephone language shown in these topline results, adapted slightly for web version

EMC Research #19-7241 – Page 2-

5. What do you think is the most important problem facing Chico today? (OPEN END, RECORD
VERBATIM RESPONSE, ACCEPT ONE RESPONSE ONLY)

Homelessness/Poverty/Transients/Drugs 37
High cost of housing/living 17
Crime 10
Poor condition of roads/Infrastructure/Traffic 9
Public safety/Safety/Need more police 6
Political issues 5
Overdevelopment/Overpopulation 4
Issues due to the Camp fire 3
Climate change/pollution 2
Other 4
Don’t Know/Refused 1
NA/None 2

6. Would you say that the City of Chico has a great need for more money, some need for more money,
little need for more money, or no real need for more money?

Great need 38
Some need 39
Little need 8
No real need 5
(Don’t know/Refused) 10

EMC Research #19-7241 – Page 3-

7INT. Using a scale of excellent, good, only fair, or poor, please rate each of the following regarding the City
of Chico.

SCALE: Excellent Good Only Fair Poor  (Don’t Know/Refused)
(RANDOMIZE)

7. The overall quality of life in Chico
(E)10 (G)50 (OF)29 (P)9 (DK/R)1

8. The overall quality of city services
(E)5 (G)47 (OF)32 (P)12 (DK/R)4

9. The quality of police services
(E)15 (G)47 (OF)22 (P)11 (DK/R)5

10. The job the city government is doing  
(E)3 (G)33 (OF)29 (P)27 (DK/R)8

11. The job the city does managing taxpayer dollars
(E)2 (G)26 (OF)32 (P)25 (DK/R)15

12. The city’s fire and disaster management efforts
(E)22 (G)55 (OF)12 (P)5 (DK/R)6

(END RANDOMIZE)

13A. Next I’m going to read you a measure that may appear on the ballot in the future.
Shall an ordinance to fund essential city services such as preserving the number of on-duty police
officers and fire fighters, protecting 911 emergency response times, maintaining and repairing
streets, sidewalks and Bidwell Park, and funding othe  r general services and essential activity, by
establishing a 1 percent sales tax, providing approximately $18,000,000 annually until ended by
voters, subject to annual audits, with all funds staying local, be adopted?

This is reminiscent of Yuba County’s Measure K. Notice the emphasis on public safety and roads? But they add that sentence about “general services and essential activity,” so they can call it a general measure. I think this is misleading, and so did the judge that overturned Measure K. 

If the election were held today, would you vote yes to approve or no to reject this measure?

Yes 65 →70

(Lean Yes) 5

No 26 →27

(Lean No) 1

(Undecided/Don’t Know/Not Sure) 3

EMC Research #19-7241 – Page 4-

The next question gives a scale of 1 – 7. I typed the scale in () next to the answers.

14INT. I’m going to read you a list of items that could be funded with a revenue measure for Chico. After
each one, please rate how important that item is to you, using a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 means not at all
important, and 7 means extremely important.

(1) – Not at all important  to  (7) – Extremely important;  (Don’t Know/Refuse)

SCALE: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (DK/R) Mean

(RANDOMIZE)

14. Protecting rapid 911 emergency response times                                  
(1) 2 (2) 2 (3) 3 (4) 7 (5) 13 (6) 23 (7) 50 (DK/R) 1   (Mean 5.13)

15. Preserving the number of on-duty firefighters
(1) 2 (2) 2 (3) 3 (4) 7 (5) 14 (6) 26 (7) 46 (DK/R) 1     (Mean 5.14)

16. Preserving the number of on-duty police officers
(1) 4 (2) 2 (3) 2 (4) 11 (5) 14 (6) 23 (7) 44 (DK/R) 1   (Mean 5.04)

Notice the numbers are very similar on the first three questions involving public safety, with over 40 percent placing it at 7 (most important).

17. Maintaining and improving neighborhood parks
(1) 3 (2) 3 (3) 6  (4)18 (5) 25 (6) 24 (7) 22 (DK/R) 0    (Mean 4.83)

18. Maintaining and improving Bidwell Park
(1) 3 (2) 3 (3) 5 (4) 12 (5) 25 (6) 22 (7) 29 (DK/R) 1     (Mean 4.87)

Notice the numbers are back up for street maintenance, especially fixing potholes.

19. Maintaining and repairing streets, storm drains and sidewalks
(1) 1 (2) 0 (3) 2 (4) 8 (5) 20 (6) 31 (7) 38 (DK/R) 0   (Mean 5.30)

20. Fixing potholes
(1) 1 (2) 1 (3) 3 (4) 10 (5) 17 (6) 26 (7) 41 (DK/R) 1   (Mean 5.10)

Notice how the responses for #1 (least important) start climbing here. This is notable because these are the subjects that are taking most of Council and $taff‘s time – global warming, and hand-out programs for transients and drug addicts.   

21. Maintaining street trees and city trees
(1) 2 (2) 2 (3) 5 (4) 14 (5) 25 (6) 21 (7) 30 (DK/R) 1  (Mean 4.87)

22. Making energy and water conservation upgrades to city facilities
(1) 5 (2) 5 (3) 5 (4) 13 (5) 19 (6) 25 (7) 26 (DK/R) 1   (Mean 4.77)

23. Supporting efforts to build housing for homeless and low-income residents
(1) 15 (2) 5 (3) 5 (4) 9 (5) 13 (6) 18 (7) 33  (DK/R) 2    (Mean 4.66)

24. Supporting efforts to build housing for all residents
(1) 9 (2) 6 (3) 5 (4) 10 (5) 14 (6) 22 (7) 34 (DK/R) 1   (Mean 4.75)

25. Lowering Chico’s carbon footprint
(1) 17 (2) 5 (3) 6 (4) 9 (5) 16 (6) 16 (7) 28 (DK/R) 3   (Mean 4.61)

Meanwhile, nothing about pot dispensaries, teenage vaping, or our “community drinking problem”? 

(END RANDOMIZE)

EMC Research #19-7241 -Page 5-

26INT. Next, I’d like to read you statements from people who SUPPORT the Chico City Services Measure.
After each one, please tell me how convincing that statement is as a reason to vote FOR the measure—very convincing, somewhat convincing, not too convincing, or not at all convincing.
SCALE:  Very convincing; Somewhat convincing; Not too convincing; Not at all convincing; Don’t Know; Total; Conv.Total; Unconv. Total

(RANDOMIZE)

26. The devastating Camp Fire of 2018 destroyed thousands of homes, and has resulted in a surge in Chico’s population. We need to pass this measure to make sure city services can keep up with the increase in population, keeping us all safe and protecting our quality of life.

(VC) 42 (SC) 39 [NTC) 10 [NC) 8 (DK)1 (CT) 81 (UCT) 18

27. Chico is facing a budget shortfall. The City has done everything it can to cut expenses and has
maximized what is possible with current revenue. This measure is the next necessary step to balance
the budget and protect vital city services.

(VC) 20 (SC) 40 (NTC) 18 (NC) 18 (DK) 4 (CT) 59 (UCT) 36

28. In the last year, the number of traffic accidents has increased dramatically in Chico – a direct result of
higher congestion and over-crowding of our road infrastructure. This measure will bring much
needed revenue for road upgrades and repairs that will save lives.

(VC) 36 (SC) 41 (NTC) 11 (NC) 10 (DK) 2 (CT) 77 (UCT) 21

29. When you dial 911, every second counts. This measure will protect the safety of Chico residents by
ensuring that our firefighters and police officers are ready to help when you need them the most.

(VC) 37 (SC) 42 (NTC) 13 (NC) 6 (DK) 2 (CT) 79 (NC) 19

30. By law, revenue from this measure cannot be taken by the State or County, ensuring our tax dollars
stay local for the benefit of Chico residents.

(VC) 39 (SC) 40 (NTC) 8 (NC) 8 (DK) 3 (CT) 80 (NC) 17

31. Homelessness has surged in Chico, with people living in illegal camps, and it has resulted in
community concerns about Chico’s quality of life. Revenue from this measure will support our work
with regional partners in finding local solutions that help get people off the streets.

(VC) 36 (SC) 36 (NTC) 11 (NC) 15 (DK) 3 (CT) 71 (NC) 26

32. A sales tax is the best way to increase city revenue to ensure City services become more proactive,
because visitors pay their fair share and reduce the burden on Chico residents.   (There really should have been a choice of “TB” or Total Bullshit for this question!) 

(VC) 19 (SC) 40 (NTC) 21 (NC) 17 (DK) 4 (CT) 59 (NC) 38

33. By law, essential purchases like groceries and medicine are exempt from the sales tax.

(VC) 41 (SC) 34 (NTC) 10 (NC) 11 (DK) 3 (CT) 75 (NC) 21

(END RANDOMIZE)

EMC Research #19-7241 – Page 6-

34A. Given what you’ve heard, I’d like to ask you about the measure again:
Shall an ordinance to fund essential city services such as preserving the number of on-duty police officers and fire fighters, protecting 911 emergency response times, maintaining and repairing streets, sidewalks and Bidwell Park, and funding other general services and essential activity, by establishing a 1 percent sales tax, providing approximately $18,000,000 annually until ended by
voters, subject to annual audits, with all funds staying local, be adopted?

If the election were held today, would you vote yes to approve or no to reject this measure?

Yes 71 →74 (Including “Lean Yes” listed below)

(Lean Yes) 3

No 23 →24 (Including “Lean No”)

(Lean No) 1

(Undecided/Don’t Know/Not Sure) 2

35INT. Next, I’d like to read you statements from people who OPPOSE the Chico City Services Measure. After each one, please tell me how convincing that statement is as a reason to vote AGAINST the measure—very
convincing, somewhat convincing, not too convincing, or not at all convincing.

SCALE: Very convincing; Somewhat convincing; Not too convincing; Not at all convincing; (Don’t Know)   Total Conv.  Total Unconv.
(RANDOMIZE)

35. There are no guarantees with this measure on how funds will be spent. The money just goes into the City’s general fund where the City Council can use it for whatever they want.
(VC) 38 (SC) 33 (NTC) 17 (NC) 9 (DK) 3     (Total C)71    (Total NC)  26

36. Chico doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. A new tax ignores the reality that the City spends too much on government employee salaries, benefits and pensions.
(VC) 29 (SC) 33 (NTC) 17 (NC) 17 (DK) 4      (Total C) 62     (Total NC) 34

37. A sales tax is regressive and hurts those who can least afford it, including low-income families and seniors living on fixed-incomes.
(VC) 27 (SC) 37 (NTC) 21 (NC) 12 (DK) 2      (Total C) 65      (Total NC) 33

38. There are already too many taxes in Chico and this measure will cost the average resident more than one hundred dollars in additional taxes per year. That’s just too much.
(VC) 19 (SC) 28 (NTC) 27 (NC) 23 (DK) 3       (Total C) 47      (Total NC)  50

39. Most tax measures have an expiration date, but this measure has no end date. That means we’ll continue getting taxed, even if the funding is no longer needed.
(VC) 33 (SC) 32 (NTC) 17 (NC) 15 (DK) 3       (Total C)  65      (Total NC) 32

(END RANDOMIZE)

EMC Research #19-7241 – Page 7-
40A. Now given everything you’ve heard, if the election were held today would you vote yes to approve or
no to reject a 1 percent sales tax measure for Chico?
Yes 64 →67
(Lean Yes) 3
No 31 →32
(Lean No) 1
(Undecided/Don’t Know/Not Sure) 1
41A. And what if the proposed sales tax were set to expire after 9 years, would you vote yes to approve or
no to reject a 1 percent sales tax measure for Chico?
Yes 63 →66
(Lean Yes) 3
No 32 →33
(Lean No) 1
(Undecided/Don’t Know/Not Sure) 1
DEMO. Now, I’d like to ask you a few questions for statistical purposes only.
42. Do you have any children under the age of 18 living in your home?
Yes 26
No 69
(Don’t Know/Refused) 5
43. In what year were you born?
18-29 (1990-2001) 20
30-39 (1980-1989) 15
40-49 (1970-1979) 16
50-64 (1955-1969) 22
65 or over (1954 or earlier) 26
(Refused) 1
44. What is the last grade you completed in school?
Some grade school 0
Some high school 0
Graduated High School 6
Technical/Vocational 5
Some College/Less than 4-year degree 29
Graduated College/4-year degree (BA, Bachelor) 34
Graduate/Professional (MA, Master, PhD, MBA, Doctorate) 19
(Don’t Know/Refused) 6
THANK YOU!

Page 8

And here you see the demographics they used to very carefully choose respondents – they knew this information when they made the calls.

EMC Research #19-7241 -8-
ZIPCODE (FROM SAMPLE)
95926 (Central) 39
95928 (Southeast) 31
95973 (Northwest) 30
VOTE HISTORY (FROM SAMPLE) (Nov ’18, June ’18, Nov’16, June ’16, Nov ’14, June ’14)
Voted 0-3/6 Elections 47
Voted 4-5/6 Elections 29
Voted 6/6 Elections 24
PARTY REGISTRATION (FROM SAMPLE)
Democrat 44
Republican 28
NPP/ Other 28

4 Responses to “EMC survey of 400 carefully chosen city of Chico residents”

  1. Jim October 28, 2019 at 10:20 am #

    Surprised at the overwhelming support for another tax. Especially when the majority of people polled said the city is “only fair” at managing tax dollars.

    Giving the city more money isn’t the solution. Having employees pay for their pensions is the solution.

    • Juanita Sumner October 28, 2019 at 12:53 pm #

      Thanks for paying attention Jim, I thought that was funny too.

      I’ll clean this post up more, make it easier to read. But I see you get the point anyway!

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