Tim Niles is a founding member of Livable Raleigh and has been a resident of Raleigh for over 30 years.

Tim spoke at City Council on January 16, 2024 on the topic of Election Reform based on a presentation of survey results that had been presented by staff at City Council’s afternoon meeting. Despite having received two surveys showing lack of support for 4-year terms, council wants to ask the residents again: 

Your 2022 Election Survey showed 73% opposition to 4-year terms*.

You didn’t trust it because it wasn’t controlled for demographics.

You now have a new randomly selected and demographically correct survey.

Despite the biased wording of the questions¹, only giving possible positive impacts without including the possible negative impacts, the answer still came back as a majority against 4-year terms.

Please review the formal report from ETC², the company that performed the survey, and NOT the slide presentation from the Community Engagement staff³.

Staff replaced the Ethnicity crosstab data with data based on the “Number of Years Living in Raleigh” to highlight the one small group supporting 4-year terms.

The topline numbers of the full report include that supportive group in proportion to their size of Raleigh’s population.

No District, No Age Group and No Racial or Ethnic Group showed majority support for 4-year terms.

You didn’t trust the self-selected survey from 2022.

You refuse to accept the controlled survey results presented to you today at face value.

What part of NO are you having trouble with?

Are you just planning to keep taking votes until you get the results you want?

I’m reminded of the old saying, the beatings will continue until morale improves!

Thank You for your time.

The Executive Summary for the question on 4-year terms from ETC’s full report is shown below

A majority of respondents OPPOSE 4-year terms for City Council. Those opposed outnumber those in support by more than 10 percentage points.

Below is the data for the level of support for 4-year terms as presented in the formal report from ETC, the company that performed the survey.

50.4% are opposed to 4-year terms while only 40.1% support 4-year terms

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You can see the data is presented in a straightforward manner without editorializing. Just the facts.

Below is the data for the level of support for 4-year terms as presented to City Council by the Community Engagement staff.


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In Community Engagement’s presentation to City Council you will notice staff shows the data with editorial comments under the graphics emphasizing the lower percentage in support of 4-year terms instead of the higher majority percentage opposed to 4-year terms. The take-away here should be that a majority of those responding are OPPOSED to 4-year terms. Not that a smaller percentage support 4-year terms. Why is staff being deceptive in their reporting?

You will also notice that the demographic data for Race-Ethnicity  has been replaced with demographic data for Number of Years Lived in Raleigh. You will NOT find this data in the formal report from ETC. Community Engagement staff seems to have included it because it is the ONLY way you can slice the data to find any majority support for 4-year terms. If you look further into the demographic data you will see the 0 – 5 years living in Raleigh group represents only 13% of Raleigh’s population. And this group is included in the total support of 40% for 4-year terms reported.

The point of performing a survey with accurate demographic data is to make sure the totals you report accurately represent the population and you are NOT over-representing any individual group by cherry-picking the data.

So, why did the Community Engagement staff twist the representative data to try to emphasize unsupportable conclusions?


* 2022 Election Survey Results

¹ Election Survey Question Bias

² ETC Election Process Survey Findings Report

³ Office of Community Engagement Election Process Survey Presentation

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