Coming May 6: The Michigan citizens’ agenda for 2014

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Michigan residents have an urgent list of new priorities for Michigan’s future. They know what they want political candidates’ focus to be in this year’s statewide election.

Read Bridge on Tuesday, May 6 for all the details.

More than 5,000 diverse statewide residents participated in the Center for Michigan’s latest public engagement campaign in the past six months. This report will be must reading for any engaged citizen or any candidate for governor, state legislature or local office.

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Comments

Statistician
Thu, 04/24/2014 - 9:41am
While I'm looking forward to reading this report, I urge Bridge to include (at the very least as an appendix) it's sampling methodology, data collection method, and analysis method(s), specifically any weighting done to account for unequal probabilities of selection or post-stratification adjustments to improve the representativeness of the sample on key demographics. Stating that "(m)ore than 5,000 diverse statewide residents participated" gives no indication that your sample is representative of the population you're making inference to. I'd like the opportunity to assess the scientific merits of the study so that I may make an informed opinion as to the potential validity of the data. Thank you.
Dick B
Thu, 04/24/2014 - 11:33am
Statistician- your points are well taken, but do you really expect to have a cross section of the general public on this report? I think not. Those of us who are interested in public policy, and take some effort to be informed of the issues, are the ones who participated in this survey. The general population probably didn't even hear of it, let alone participate. It would be better if some more information as to what type of individuals (if known) responded, but one can expect that they were civic minded, though some with their particular agendas to promote.
Statistician
Fri, 04/25/2014 - 11:14am
Dick B - I have no a priori knowledge of this study, or survey as you say. I don't know if a representative sample of the State population was selected and contacted or if the questions were simply made available somewhere (e.g. a website) and the respondents were self-selected. Thus I have no expectation re: representativeness. I do have the hope that the reporting entity will include relevant information on the design and analysis so that readers know how the data were obtained and the conclusions drawn. If, as you suggest, that the general population didn't even hear of this study then the results are near meaningless. "Michigan residents have an urgent list of new priorities for Michigan's future. They know what they want political candidates' focus to be in this year's statewide election." It doesn't say "Michigan residents who are interested in public policy, take some effort to be informed of the issues, and are civic minded have an urgent list of new priorities for Michigan's future." If one is attempting to determine desired priorities for statewide policy, one needs to hear from a cross section of those impacted by statewide policy. You shouldn't make inference to a population based on data that only covers a subset of that population. Particularly if the subset that data has been collected on might be expected to have different views re: the study topic. Your data is only as good as your design and, based on my reading of your comments, you're suggesting that the design of this study is very poor.
Mary Jo
Sat, 04/26/2014 - 9:34am
Just wanted to agree with Dick. In my community, one of the three public conversations that I know of in Dearborn was held by the local League of Women Voters (www.lwvddh.org). We had about 30 people in attendance. Not sure how the questions were arrived at, but basically we were asked to prioritize policy and spending options. There was time for discussion and these comments were taken down by a Center for Michigan staff person. It was a good group of citizens who care about our state and its inhabitants. Good work, Center for Michigan.
Mike R
Mon, 04/28/2014 - 6:19pm
Statistician: This is not a "study" and the sample was never represented nor intended to be a scientifically-determined representative sampling, nor could it be. It is a compilation of the views of those subscribers to Bridge who responded to a series of questions. Its value lay in raising concerns, not in demonstrating that a certain percentage of the state's population holds a certain viewpoint. If you're looking for science, you're WAY overthinking this and are doomed to be disappointed. But that is a long way from your statement that the results are "meaningless". If you choose to disregard out of some slavish devotion to statistical rigor (as your handle and verbiage seem to indicate), that's your prerogative, but as for me, I intend to read and digest what it has to say for what it's worth.