Monday, September 15, 2014

Polling on the Mt Wellington Cable Car Proposal

The only cable car I expect to be going up any time soon - Fjellheisen, Tromso, Norway (image: Franklin Henderson)

This article is updated with new cable car polls and claimed polls as they arrive.  

Advance Summary (2014)

1. A new poll - the first to examine the issue credibly - shows statewide figures of 59% support 24% opposition for the proposed Mt Wellington cable car project.

2. Although these figures represent strong support statewide, they are weaker than those claimed for the proposal on the basis of a previous opt-in survey and a previous commissioned poll.

3. The likely main reason for weaker support in this poll is that it did not use a one-sided preamble likely to have skewed the poll results.

4. While the poll shows support in all electorates, opinion is most divided in Denison.

5. Modelling taking into account differences in party support across Denison suggests that within the crucial Hobart municipal area, public sentiment on the proposal is likely to be very closely divided.

6. On this basis while the project is generally welcomed statewide as a potential job creator and tourism opportunity, it will continue to encounter significant opposition in the area in which it is to be built.


Cable cars have been proposed for Mt Wellington/kunanyi (near Hobart, Tasmania) since before there was even a road up it.  The idea has come and gone over at least 109 years, and has often generated a lot of noise for and against, but it has been difficult to tell where the public overall stood on the issue.

In one of the more popular pieces published here last year, Public Opinion And The Mt Wellington Cable Car Proposal, I took a very sceptical look at the claims of the current proponent to have used a massive opt-in survey to have proven very strong support for the proposal.  The opt-in survey reported results of 78% in favour, 19% against, from respondents who were almost entirely Tasmanian.  No specific breakdown was given by electorate but for the electorate the proposal concerns, Denison, it looks like about 66% of responses were supportive.

Since then, two things have happened.  The first is the appearance, on the Mt Wellington Cable Car Company website, of a commissioned poll conducted by the previous proponent in 2009.  The second, far more significantly, is the publication of a new ReachTEL poll on the subject commissioned by The Mercury.

The 2009 Poll

I'll start with the fishy 2009 poll because it is another good example of the kind of dubious evidence concerning public opinion that has been present in the debate to date.

The November 2009 survey was conducted by regular Tasmanian phone pollster EMRS for a previous cable car proponent and is published on the MWCC page here.  It is included there under the heading "Independent Poll Results" but it was funded by a project proponent.  (The current ReachTEL, on the other hand, is truly independent).  The result of the poll was: 50% strongly support, 28% somewhat support, 6% somewhat oppose, 9% strongly oppose, 7% unsure, but only after respondents' brains had first been marinated in the following preamble, doubtless at the behest of the commissioning source:

 A group of private investors are proposing an aerial tramway for Mt Wellingon [sic]. It would be entirely funded by the private sector and the public would be able to subscribe to shares in the operating company.
Under this proposed scheme, the take-off point would be in South Hobart or Lenah Valley. The Pinnacle terminal would be located below the access road near the WIN TV tower and contain a viewing area, restaurant, cafe, function rooms and other public amenities. The tramway system would be located and designed to minimise visual impact and would not be readily visible from the city.
The developers say that the tramway would provide a world class facility designed to accommodate more than 500,000 patrons each year, the existing access road would remain open and the pinnacle terminal would be open to all. 

This is a classic example of how the use of a preamble can create or amplify a favourable poll response.  The poll purports to show very strong support for a cable car.  In fact it at best shows that level of support only on the conditions that:

* the scheme is entirely funded by the private sector
* the public could subscribe to shares in the operating company
* the terminal would support a viable restaurant, cafe, function rooms and so on, open to all
* the system would minimise visual impact and not be readily visible from Hobart
* the facility would be "world class"
* the facility would be used by more than 500,000 patrons
* the current pinnacle road would stay open
* the unstated condition: there is nothing wrong with the project that would have been relevant to mention if known

A respondent might well support the proposal if all of these things are true, but consider one or more individual items on the list above, or perhaps even all of them, to be non-negotiable.  So what we're talking about is a kind of temporary in-principle support that becomes less relevant as soon as any one of these items falls over.  It is not even correct to think of this as a firm expression of conditional support, because the same person when exposed to the other side of the argument might change their view.

Another interesting aspect of this poll is the use of the term "aerial tramway".  Although the term means the same thing as "cable car", some local respondents would not know this, and might picture something different.

But above all, the problem with this sort of thing is skewing.  In everyday public debate, people who take positions for or against a proposal are not necessarily familiar with all the facts about a proposal, and while some will be familiar with statements made on behalf of a proposal, they may also be familiar with statements made against it.  Measuring what respondents say when they have just heard a preamble giving one side of the story doesn't replicate the state of the debate when the poll is taken, and also isn't a fair representation of what the debate will look like in the future. Project proponents can't dictate how the community receives the debate.  What would happen if they could is quite irrelevant, because they never will.

The 2009 poll was a skew-poll using similar tactics to those often used by green activist groups to create poll results that exaggerate public opinion.  Fortunately we now have a neutral and valid poll to compare it with.

The 2014 Poll

The recent poll (Mercury write-up) was a robopoll conducted by ReachTEL with a sample size of 2646, and was taken on the night of 11 Sep 2014, following questions about voting intention, preferred premier, the state budget, job creation, school retention and tourism development in national parks.  Discussion of results for the first four questions was published in ReachTEL: Liberals With Solid Lead.  Compared with the stew served up to respondents of the EMRS developer-commissioned poll and MWCC opt-in, the ReachTEL poll question is as follows:

"Do you support the proposal for a cable car project on Mt Wellington?"

Options were support, oppose or undecided.  However the polling method would have excluded any respondents who were persistently unable to pick a party they had even a slight leaning for, or pick a preferred Premier from a choice of three.  It is likely many such respondents would have been undecided on this question too.

To start with, the raw state results:
The poll shows the proposal to have strong support statewide, including a majority of respondents in four of the five electorates.  However, the overall 59-24 response (71-29 excluding undecided) is weaker than the 78-15 (83-17 excluding undecided) response of the 2009 EMRS survey.  While someone might argue that support for the proposal has declined by 19 points in five years, it is much more likely that support was simply never as high as in the EMRS poll to begin with and the EMRS poll exaggerated support because of the use of a skewed preamble. Indeed, the worsening of the Tasmanian economy since 2009 provides one reason why support should have increased.

The electorate of Denison is an important comparison point because Denison is the electorate in which the cable car is proposed to be built, and in which its visual impacts (if any) and impacts on road traffic would be most significant.  The Hobart City area is especially significant because the cable car is likely to be built within the Hobart City boundaries, with Hobart City Council a significant decision-maker.  The samples above show 57% support in Denison after removing the undecideds, which is already lower than the c.66% rate for mostly inner-city suburbs in the MWCC opt-in data.  But I think we can use the party support figures to go a little further.

Supporters of both major parties tend to support the proposal while Greens supporters tend to oppose it, but perhaps not as heavily as some people might expect.  (I calculate that supporters of other parties or independents were supportive by about 56% to 30.) Here it's important to bear in mind that not all those who say they vote Green in such polls are actually "greens" ideologically.  Some pick the Greens as a token rebellion against major parties, or because of the Greens' positions on social or economic issues.  Anyway the Green result is quite a contrast to the MWCCC opt-in findings (which had Greens supporters in favour), probably for the reason I suggested: Greens supporters who oppose the project would often not fill in an opt-in survey by its proponent in the first place.

A useful aspect of the breakdowns above is we can use them to look at the electorate figures with more detail.  In the case of Denison, if party preference perfectly predicted views on the cable car then a result of 56% support 27% oppose should be expected, not the actual 48-36.  So there's a tendency for Denison voters to be more anti-cable-car irrespective of their political positioning, and this makes 8-9 points of difference to the Denison results.

The City of Hobart has quite different voting behaviour to Denison as a whole - it has a very high Green vote and a low Labor vote (at booths within Hobart City last election, the Greens got 33% and Labor 25%, compared to 21.6% to 34% in the electorate as a whole).  On that basis alone, the split within Hobart City would be expected to be down to about 46-38, but that's assuming the drag created by the NIMBY factor is the same across the whole electorate.  Almost certainly that drag factor is much stronger in the Hobart part of the electorate than the Glenorchy part (if it even exists in the latter). So while we can be quite confident on these results that Glenorchy voters support the cable car, it's probable on these results that Hobart City voters are very closely split, and possible even that they are on balance very slightly opposed.  

Little wonder then that Glenorchy aldermen are keen to grab the project for their city while even some of the usually pro-development aldermen on Hobart City Council (see also Hobart City Council Voting Patterns) are pretty cautious about it.

The Cable Car: The State Of Play

Nothing in the ReachTEL findings is hugely surprising.  I was expecting to be asked to predict these results and was going to say (if so challenged) that I expected the project to have majority support in electorates other than Denison, with Denison being harder to predict.  After all, for other electorates the project is a potential job creator that could make a trip up the mountain easier while ducking into Hobart. Voters outside Denison are not otherwise affected by it, and do not have the same aesthetic and psychological ties to "the mountain" as some Denison voters.

In the time since I wrote last year's article, there has been a lot of noise about the proposed cable car, but material progress towards its approval has been slow.  (You can see the developer's view on the state of play on the MWCCC site and the main opposing group's at Residents Opposing the Cable Car.) While there has been progress on the removal of developmental vetos affecting the project, it still requires landowner consent from the Hobart City Council to progress on its intended route.  At present there exists a stalemate between the developer and the Hobart City Council in which the developer doesn't want to go to a formal application stage without in-principle approval, and the Council won't provide in-principle approval without a formal application. 

The new Liberal government, while in principle supportive of the project, seems so far to have learnt from the mild embarrassment the issue caused the last state Liberal regime, and doesn't want to do the project's work for it in the absence of a concrete development submission either.  (That said, after seeing the general support for breads and circuses in the first Gutwein Budget, I'll not be surprised should the government be begging to splash out in some way if the project reaches a more concrete stage.)

 Meanwhile, the colourful online debate about the scheme has turned to such things as the identity of fictitious or at best pseudonymous cable car proponent "Nathan Carswell", and the alleged leaking of documents being considered by Hobart City Council (methinks any alderman who opposed the project enough might have done it).

The term "social license" is frequently heard in major development debates.  The idea is that it makes a project's path to success much easier if the project achieves not merely grudging acceptance from the community, but also trust and strong support.  At this stage, although the project has strong support outside the impacted area, opinions within the impacted area are divided closely enough that it is likely the proposal will always have a fight on its hands - court cases, protests and so on.  I have not actually seen any empirical analysis of the "social license" concept and how reliably it predicts the success rates for contentious projects, but for the time being the project remains some way short of clear local acceptance.

ReachTEL July 2017:

A further ReachTEL poll is out finding a narrowing of support since 2014 to 54.1% support 30.6% oppose.  Support by electorate is 60.9-19.2 in Bass, 57.4-24.7 in Braddon, 47.6-40.3 in Denison, 52.3-38.3 in Franklin and 52.5-30.0 in Lyons.  By party, 67.9-19 Liberal, 46-35.7 Labor, 24.8-57.4 Green, 63.5-28.5 Ind/Other, 51.1-28.3 "Undecided".  Interestingly, voters aged over 65 are less sold on the idea than younger voters, although elderly voters tend to vote Liberal.

The wording of the poll question was "Do you support a cable car to Mount Wellington?"  This is arguably subtly different to the 2014 question which might have been taken to be more specific to the current proposal rather than the general concept.

ROCC May 2018:

Residents Opposed To The Cable Car have released a commissioned ReachTEL concerning the cable car based on polling in the electorate of Denison only (soon to be Clark).  ROCC are to be commended for releasing the full poll details, which many sources commissioning such polls fail to do.

Unfortunately the media release by ROCC is nowhere near so laudable, since it claims that the poll shows a swing against the results of the previous polls based on "a comparable The Mercury Reachtel poll of July 2017 that asked the same question." and "declining support for the proposal since a 2014 Reachtel poll (when asked the same question)".  In fact the questions asked by the 2014 and 2017 polls were not quite even the same as each other, but at least they were neutral.  However, the ROCC poll asks a question which, like the 2009 EMRS poll in favour of the proposal, is skewed by the use of a preamble.  The 2014 and 2017 public polls did not include such preambles.  It is not merely false to suggest the question is really the same; it is a monstrous deception as bad as anything in the polling sphere from the project proponents down the years.

This is the question in the current poll:

"The Mount Wellington Cableway Company has proposed a cable car project on Mt Wellington that would carry up to 650 people per hour, from near Old Farm Road in South Hobart, directly over the Organ Pipes cliffs to a large building at the Pinnacle.

Do you support or oppose this proposal for a cable car project on Mt Wellington?"

This question skews the response by drawing attention to several potential negatives of the project (the impact on Old Farm Road, that the line would go "directly over the Organ Pipes", that a building would be "large" - the last being something respondents might or might not agree with based on its actual dimensions.)  The number of passengers per hour could also be perceived as a negative for those (like me) who stand to be impacted by the traffic flows.  The preamble does not mention possible unambiguous positives of the project.

If this level of blatant preamble priming only succeeded in producing an "11% swing against the project" since July 2017 that would be a weak enough result, but the swing isn't even 11%! The swing in Denison is from 47.6-40.3 (support-oppose) to 42.2-44.6.  That is only a 5.4% swing away from Support and a 4.3% swing to Oppose, or 4.85% on a two-answer basis! ROCC seem to have calculated swing as a proportion of supportive respondents who had (supposedly) shifted, but that is not how swing is calculated.

The release also claims "This poll demonstrates a majority of Dension [sic] residents now opposes the cable car." Aaargh! 44.6% is not a majority; it is a plurality, but in any case the poll does not even demonstrate plurality opposition, since the result is too close for the sample size to even show a significant lead.  And even if the poll did show plurality opposition at even, say, a p=0.05 level, the finding would be worthless anyway because of the use of a skewing preamble.

As the first question in the chain of questions about the cable car employs skewing tactics, all the rest of the questions are potentially contaminated and should be ignored.

Five years ago I awarded Adrian Bold of the Mt Wellington Cable Car Company this site's first ever Porcupine Fish Award for Ultra-Fishy Polling.  Following this frankly depressing effort from ROCC, who I hoped just might be better than this, I can only give them one as well.

Porcupine Fish Award For Fishy Polling And Ultra-Fishy Poll Reporting (image credit)
The Bob Brown Foundation has a separate May poll which asks:

‘The state government has allowed the private developer of the proposed cable car to operate on five hectares on top of kunanyi / Mt Wellington free of charge.

Do you support or oppose giving the developer access to the land for free?’

The key to this one is the use of the word "operate", which is wildly ambiguous and could be taken by respondents to mean anything from building the cable car to what it actually is, namely scoping work (including drilling and temporary constructions for visual impact assessment) to develop an application.  So this poll is also useless.  The poll also has some interesting results about what Tasmanians will pay to use the development, but they could be spun in either direction (eg that if there was a discount rate for Tasmanians, over three-quarters of respondents might take it up).  The primary target is, of course, tourists, and asking Tasmanians what they would pay for it is not all that relevant.

MWCC August 2018:

MWCC on their Facebook page this week claimed to have "fresh polls [..] suggesting" 72% support in the south of the state and 92% support in the north.  However these so-called polls were not polls at all; they were unscientific online opt-ins.  Opt-ins are generally blighted by biased respondent selection, motivated response, co-ordinated stacking, lack of scaling and (often) multiple voting.  They are worthless as evidence of public support.

EMRS September 2018:

The Mercury has reported an EMRS poll purported to show the following:

* 62% statewide support 30% [turns out to be 31% - KB] statewide oppose 8% undecided
* 28% say they have read the project proposal, 57% are aware of the project but haven't read it, 15% are unaware of the proposal
* Northern and Liberal voters are more likely to support the project.

However the poll wordings were not published in the Mercury article and the report did not say who if anyone commissioned the poll.

I was subsequently advised the poll was commissioned by the proponent.  While all commissioned polls should be viewed with some caution there is no reason other than it being commissioned to be concerned about this one based on the provided report.  The questions are simple and do not contain any prodding or misleading information.

The poll is similar to other polls in showing high net approval of the project in the north (+43 net in the north-west and +48 in the north-east) but lower in the south (+16), again suggesting that in the Hobart City area support would probably be evenly split at best.

EMRS October 2018:

An EMRS poll conducted for the Council elections surveyed 2680 people and found 548 intending voters (however, the 2680 includes refusals).  43% of the intending voters said the cable car was an important issue to them; this included 22% of the 548 who said it was important and opposed it, 11% who said it was important and supported it, and 10% of the 548 who said it was important but were neutral.  The cable car was the most common issue cited.  The poll appears to not have been scaled.

2019 Mercury Survey:

The Mercury's Future Tasmania reader survey asked questions about whether the cable car should be built and if so where its base station should be.  This was not a poll but was an opt-in and hence completely unscientific.  Opt-ins not only tend to attract a biased response by virtue of being seen by a particular market (such as the readership of a newspaper) but they are also readily stacked by co-ordinated action.  However, this survey had another critical defect - it refused to allow readers to complete the survey with questions left unanswered, and it did not allow a don't-know response to several questions.  Indeed I boycotted the survey for this reason.

For the record the survey, supposedly mostly of southern Tasmanian readers, gave a 54% thumbs down to the cable car concept in a forced yes-no answer, and also 41% supported a Glenorchy base station over one at South Hobart (35%), however I suspect a lot of the former were noes to the project anyway.

An opponent of the project claims that around 2500 responses is "a very healthy sample".  However the methods defects of opt-in polling is such that sample size is irrelevant; all opt-in "polls" are fatally flawed as measures of public opinion for that reason alone.  They say, alongside other adventurous interpretations, "The limitations of the survey methodology thus prevent definitive conclusions but neither can the headline percentages be ignored."  I beg to differ.  The survey isn't evidence.


  1. There is an error in the July 24 2017 results as reported by The Mercury. The sum of all respondents in the electorate of Denison is jut 90%. All other electorates, and the state total, sum to 100%.

    1. Fortunately just a formatting issue. The Undecided for Denison is 12.1 and the 1 has got lost in the adjacent column.

  2. Hmmm Kevin, before people can make up their minds, don't they need to know some details like passengers per hour and the route? "Large building" may be a bit loaded, but I do think people needed the other details before voting. It's certainly relevant that it would go directly over the Organ Pipes - a potential user might think "Wow, what a trip that will be" whereas someone whose view includes them might think "Ugh". What do you think would be an unbiased question - "Do you approve of the general idea of some sort of cable car thingy to go from somewhere in Hobart to somewhere sort of near the summit of Mt Wellington?"? Me, I'd vote for a funicular!

    1. When a poll is sampling support and opposition for a proposal in the community, some members of the community are informed about the proposal (which has been much debated) and some are not. Some may be well informed and have an opinion, some may be poorly informed and have an opinion, some may be completely misinformed and have an opinion (not the same thing), some may be well informed and have no opinion, and so on. As soon as you start providing "information" to people who don't already have it, your sample ceases to be representative of the real level of public support, and becomes (at best) a sample of what the public would think if they all had that information - which in fact they never will. Not knowing the details, or thinking one knows details that are actually not true, has never stopped many people making up their minds before.

      That's a part of the problem. The other part is that these poll preambles virtually always provide a biased selection of the facts. No mention of jobs the scheme might create. No mention of access to the mountain it might open at times when it is inaccessible by road. No mention of potential tourism financial benefits (etc). But if someone needs to know the route to have an *informed* opinion, it can just as easily be argued that they should at least know estimates of all that stuff as well.

  3. Oh really, Kevin - I would have thought that everybody over the age of 12 would be aware that a thing like a cablecar to the top of a prominent mountain would create jobs and draw tourists. And at least around Hobart, surely everyone is aware that the road to the top can be closed by snow? Yes, polls shouldn't have a preamble that pushes either the pros or cons at the expense of the other, but I would have thought that the "pros" in this case are pretty obvious (and I agree that they were unfairly over-emphasised in the one discussed at the top of your post). If you seek perfect "balance" in a preamble the thing will be so long that everyone will hang up before they get to the question.

    But yes, the percentages in the "analysis" were ridiculous. It was only a 4.8% swing, if you can measure swing at all by comparing it to a rather different question.

    And the more I think about it, I reckon close the road at about The Chalet and build a funicular (or a couple of funiculars if a zig-zag route is needed) - but maybe I've watched Michael Portillo's boyish enthusiasm while riding funiculars too many times.

    1. Respondents *might* all be aware of those things in general terms (though I would not bet my life on it) but being aware the road is sometimes closed by snow is not the same as being aware that it is closed a certain number of times per year on average. People are terrible at estimating statistics on pretty much anything when asked to do so in polls.

      A more balanced preamble that wasn't too long could be achieved by including a selection of leading pros and cons with input from both sides of the debate - say a couple of arguments each. However, it's irrelevant because when measuring existing levels of support for a proposal - supposedly the point of the poll - there is absolutely no reason to include a preamble at all. Even including a balanced preamble makes the sample less representative of existing public opinion.

  4. Kevin - please propose what questions you think should be asked for a poll like this.
    I'm sure both sides would be interested in knowing what the 'correct' question to ask is.

    1. I'm not sure either side would be interested or has any interest in assessing public opinion accurately.

      It depends on the aim. If the primary aim is to assess whether support for the project has changed, then the poll needs to reuse the wording from the 2014 ReachTEL ("Do you support the proposal for a cable car project on Mt Wellington?") or 2017 ("Do you support a cable car to Mount Wellington?") - exactly as per the previous wording with no preamble.

      If the aim is to assess support for the current proposal(s) then the 2014 wording is better. Or alternatively something like "Do you support the proposed construction of a cable car project running from South Hobart to near the summit of Mt Wellington?"

      In terms of the other questions in the ROCC poll I would reword them thus:

      Q3 I would leave it as is, except that I would change "support or oppose" to "assist" and hence have a yes/no answer. There is not much wrong with that question except that the skewed preamble to Q2 came before it.

      Q4 I think this one is tricky to word properly. Possibly "Do you support the compulsory acquisition by the State Government of Hobart City Council owned land near the summit of Mt Wellington in connection with the assessment of a proposed cable car project?"

      Q5 "Do you support or oppose the proposal for a new Visitor Centre and a restaurant at the Springs?"

    2. Thank you Kevin, I can assure you organised opponents of the Cable Car are reading this and appreciate your honest and thoughtful response to the question.

  5. OK Kevin, we don't agree but perhaps or positions are not *too* far apart. Now tell me this: polls on amending section 44 are tending to show about 48% oppose and low 40s in favour. I suspect they are asking "Should the constitution be amended to allow dual citizens to be elected to Parliament" and half the respondents are equating dual citizen with "divided loyalties" without knowing anything about the facts of the 15 or so cases. So should the question be "Should people have felt no loyalty to anywhere but Australia all their lives be disqualified from Parliament because a parent was born in some other country and that other country regards the person as a citizen?" Or would you regard that as loaded? How would you phrase a "balanced" question?

    Feel free to open a new thread on this or not. (Well, of course you're free - you're the blogmeister!)

  6. The recent Newspoll question was:

    "Thinking now about the citizenship requirements for politicians in Australia. In your opinion, should a politician be disqualified from federal parliament if he or she is entitled to the citizenship of a foreign country?"

    I have some issues with that question. Firstly "foreign" is potentially pejorative, as is "politician". Secondly the question may be taken as referring to exclusive overseas citizenship. So perhaps a rewording of it could be "In your opinion, should a person be eligible to be elected to federal parliament if he or she is an Australian citizen but is also entitled to be a citizen of a country other than Australia?" Even that is oversimplifying the issue because S.44 also covers non-citizen subjects and people who are entitled to the benefits of citizenship but not to citizenship itself.

    Newspoll has also asked one more like what you had in mind: "In light of the recent citizenship cases would you be in favour or opposed to a referendum to change the Constitution to allow dual citizens to become members of parliament?" I would drop the first seven words and add "of Australia and another country" after "citizens".

    As for your suggested question, I would regard that as loaded because the fact of a person having felt no loyalty to anywhere else is (i) untestable (ii) an argument for one of the sides (iii) potentially in some cases untrue.

    Indeed I can think of at least a few MPs who I would argue feel and display loyalty to other countries even although they are, so far as is known, not dual citizens! And that's another reason why S44 is silly.

    By the way I cannot transfer comments between threads, other than manually. I don't have any plans for a thread on S44 polling soon, but a thread on S44 issues may be coming if I find time for it sometime. As a general rule, any comment that is relevant to issues raised in a previous comment here will usually be accepted, even if it is "off-topic" to the original thread.

  7. "I can think of at least a few MPs who I would argue feel and display loyalty to other countries even although they are, so far as is known, not dual citizens!" Yes indeed, I can think of one and I accept here may well be more. So what we need, rather than a ban on dual citizens, is a pledge to be loyal to Australia and to put its interests first in case of any clash of interests. (Of course, those who genuinely think that our interests lie in always being subservient to the USA could still take that quite honestly!)

  8. The polling throws some interesting bones. The ROCC poll is biased in the same type of way the EMRS poll was - so arguably they cancel each other's largesse to an extent.

    I'm intrigued why the project has become a statewide project in the eyes of pollsters and the proponent. The project has not been awarded project of state significance status. The project materially only benefits a proponent (and group of proponents) who (at the moment at least) predominantly live in Hobart. The project only affects visitors to Hobart and or local residents of Hobart. An interesting bit of research would be to determine if tourists specifically go to destinations because the destination has a cable car - if not then the benefits (economic) to people outside of Hobart must be debated - as the tourists to Hobart would visit regardless of the cable car.
    Asking someone from Launceston their opinion is really tantamount to asking someone from Botswana their opinion.

    It seems there are multiple questions that have become part of the chutney of the Cable Car debate - that seem to occupy disparate spheres.

    Some of these (it seems to me at least) revolve around:

    1. Is the obvious support for maintaining the mountain as it is or not. Or do you support a cable car. (The media, proponent and many 'fake' proponent supporters have portrayed anyone who supports the mountain as it stands as 'Anti-development' or 'Nay-sayers').
    2. The routes, the closures, traffic, visual etc - i.e. the social impacts and planning.
    3. The support or not of government intervention in the project (and timing of said support)
    4. The integrity or not of the MWCC and or links to 3.
    5. The general Green agenda vs the Development agenda (big business v environment v integrity v transparency, etc)

    Unpickling this seems a task that is not easy to perform with a poll in the way it has been performed.

    So back to Social Licence.
    What exactly is Social Licence?
    Clearly its not what a political party would consider a majority or landslide. Is it 90% support, 75% strong support ?
    What voting area should be included? (bearing in mind this choice in itself will skew the poll)
    Ultimately this project will come down to political support, CUB support, regulatory approvals and financial support. The polls appear to be used as a strategic PR mechanism by both sides, not as a scientific gauge.

    Declaration - I support the mountain as it is.

  9. LOL love the Porcupine Fish Award For Fishy Polling And Ultra-Fishy Poll Reporting :)

  10. looks like MWCC has decided not to release details of its polling questions/order after all. I think they're scared of getting it scruitinised?

    1. A copy of the latest EMRS report is publicly available at ... In regards to other recent (august) online polls we made it clear these are clearly opt-in and therefore non-scientific.

    2. Do you make that clear on your FB posts too when you post non-scientific polling that you either conduct yourself or promote? Why not?


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