What if your organization spent a lot of coin to conduct a poll whose conclusions you loved -- and no one noticed? That's what appears to have happened to the Lake Cedar Group, the consortium of area television stations eager to build a new broadcasting tower on Lookout Mountain.
On May 31, Lake Cedar released the results of a self-financed poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a private polling firm, in which Jefferson County voters were asked whether they favor the construction of such a tower -- and the majority of those queried felt it was a grand idea. Here are some excerpts from the release:
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Respondents were told Congress is requiring every television station in the country to broadcast a digital signal and to comply with this order, four local stations plan to build a new tower on Lookout Mountain. Having heard this, 64 percent say they favor the TV stations being allowed to build this new tower with 33 percent strongly in favor. A mere 14 percent oppose the tower while another 21 percent are unsure of their opinion... When respondents were told the Lake Cedar Group plan will remove four existing towers and replace them with a single, shorter tower and that most of the land cleared of towers and buildings will be preserved as open space, support grows by 15 points to 79 percent of Jefferson County voters who favor building the consolidated tower. Opposition drops to 10 percent.
These results aren't surprising; Lake Cedar paid for another poll back in 2005 that generated similar findings. But while the local dailies covered that study (check out an article by the Denver Post here), they paid little attention this time around. That's not because the newspapers are unsympathetic. In fact, the Rocky Mountain News editorialized in favor of the tower plan as recently as late May. But tower opponents with the city of Golden took a poll of their own showing that residents there wanted nothing to do with such an edifice; see this Message column for more details. Apparently, the prospect of a duelling-polls article left even the folks at the Rocky cold.
So the Lake Cedar Group didn't get much bang for its bucks this time around -- but not to don't worry. The organization has a lot more bucks left, which is one reason why the tower scrap is certain to drag on for months, if not years. -- Michael Roberts