GY Satisfaction Survey; Does Your Local Government Report the Truth?


According to the 2010 US Census, Goodyear, AZ is comprised of about 65,000 residents, of whom about 27% are over 50 years old (or about 36% of voting age residents are over age 50).  Census age and sex table w percent.

So why would the city of Goodyear produce a satisfaction survey where over 47% of respondents are over 50 years old? And why would GY tell it’s citizens that this survey represents the will of the populace when respondents over 50 years old are nearly 75% over represented (over 30% on voters only)? And why would GY do that when GY is fully aware of this flaw in the data?*  It’s on page one of the raw data and here is page one of the raw survey data. Raw data page one notes0001

In my previous article post, (Does the News Media Report the Truth?) I showed you how the news media can turn reporting into propaganda by simply leaving things out, but wouldn’t you expect better from your own government? Why would the city of GY leave out mentioning this obvious sampling flaw before it started to tout the survey results as the definitive document which the city claims to show us how good a job residents think current city management and elected officials have done as well as defining GY residents’ opinions on tax increases and the city providing additional new services? Fischbach Survey Propaganda0001  In its survey results presentation GY defines as “significant” anything that shows a 6% or 10% variation from expected or previous.  One would think that 75% over representation in survey respondents would fit in the ‘significant’ category.

If that does not make you wonder, consider this.

In the first 14 pages of GY’s 46 page power point presentation interpreting the meaning of the survey’s results, (which is available on GY’s web site GY Survey Power Point) the city of Goodyear goes to great lengths to tell us all about the people who responded. But GY says nothing about their age distribution.  Don’t you find that a little puzzling?

It would seem that in order to demonstrate just how fair minded Paula Ilardo and the rest of her survey analyzers want to appear to be, in the first 14 slides, or 1/3 of the presentation, GY provides detailed data analysis about the respondents on all of these topics;

  1. gender
  2. where they live (N, C, S)
  3. education
  4. time of residence
  5. employment status
  6. commute distance
  7. income level
  8. if they are registered voters or not

But no information about their age distribution.

As I stated above, the age information is on page one of the raw data provided by the survey company, (which I had to get from a GY records request, Paula Illardo would not simply email it to me as she could have) but GY has neglected to point out to you that their survey results are skewed to the opinions of older GY residents (here is the entire raw data file 2011-12 Survey Raw data TABS ).

I guess they just forgot to tell you that.

Just like the AP reporter neglected to tell you that hydrochloric acid in similar concentrations as in fracking fluids is in your stomach already.

Just like the West Valley View neglected to cover the story about GY encouraging the prison expansion until council got caught encouraging it.

One of GY’s few concerns in their entire survey results is why North GY residents love GY so much more than South GY residents, and South GY residents opinions about GY are deteriorating while North residents are up from the last survey.  Well guess what? There is a significant age distribution difference between these areas among the survey respondents.  (At this time, it would be appropriate for the reader to go back to the page one raw data I included above and check my math. Here it is again. Raw data page one notes0001 ).

Are you surprized?

Over 65% of the GY North respondents were over the age of 50 or 300% over represented while the Central and South areas were only 35 and 43% over 50.  The Central and South respondents were also significantly more represented by women and people who have not lived in GY as long as those responding in the North. Imagine that, and the South area is where GY gets poor marks.

I wonder what the total survey results would be if age was properly, proportionately represented?

What can one discern from this new information?  Probably what you already know.  That Pebble Creek and Palm Valley folks who have lived here awhile are bastions of support for Georgia Lord and her merry band of non-dissenting council people.

There are plenty of other problems with the GY survey that make it another completely worthless $20,000 expense by your city council. From the leading nature of the questions asked (slides 23, 35, 37, 38) to the unsupported conclusions that are drawn (slide 38 where is the economy even mentioned?) to the list of items asked to choose from to spend more of your money (slides 37, 38, where is the choice, “Save money, and pay down the city’s debt burden so you don’t raise my taxes”?)  this survey is not worth the time and effort spent to compile it except to be used as a political tool which is exactly what it was designed for and being used as Fischbach Survey Propaganda0001 .

I could go on, but why continue to critique the survey in more detail? From the start they didn’t bother getting a representative sample of the population of whom to ask the questions, and then when they liked the results, GY forgot to mention that to anyone.

Do you think they are not completely aware of what they are doing?

*GY could argue that they are only interested in the 73% of the population over the age of 18. Even if you remove that 27% of GY residents who are under age 18 to subtract out non voters, the voting population is only 36% over 50 years old, leaving a 30% over representation.  GY could also argue that on selected questions or certain points they did not see age as a differentiating factor in answers.  This argument is null since GY admits that the overall sentiment in the survey is divided north and south and age distribution is a significant factor that has not been either taken into account nor even divulged when the results were presented.

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3 Responses

  1. hd, Great reporting. I do agree that the information is misleading and information left out to skew results. Keep writing on the subject.

  2. Did someone in Central and Southern portions of Goodyear die while taking the survey? Page 1 of the “Rate Goodyear” data seems to be missing 1 person from both areas (73 v 72 total) and (196 v 195 total). The error carries through in multiple places.

    Sorry, I did well in math. Please don’t arrest me or beat me for graduating from school.

  3. To confirm. Page 3, Question 1. How Do You Rate Goodyear As A Place To Live? 2011-2012 Survey Raw Data Tabs.

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