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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Virginians Want Action On 'Climate Change'?

I was directed in an email this morning to a new public opinion survey performed and released by Christopher Newport University's Wason Center for Public Policy, entitled "Virginia Environmental Attitudes Survey, 2010" (see it here in .pdf format), in which it purports to show that Virginians - in respectable numbers - and in some cases, overwhelming numbers - "want Richmond to address climate change."

Say what?

We want Richmond to address what?

My bullshit-o-meter immediately went off the scale.

But there it is.  As Cory Nealon of the Daily Press puts it:
Virginians want Richmond to address climate change, according to poll

Nearly 80 percent of Virginians believe state government has at least some responsibility to address climate change and improve the environment, according to a new Christopher Newport University poll.

That, folks, is the first tip-off. If the poll is as deceptive as that sentence, I think we know how the poll results were obtained. Let's dissect it and look at what it really means - and doesn't mean:

"80 percent of Virginians believe state government has at least some responsibility to address climate change and improve the environment ..."

Because of the use of the conjunction "and," it can legitimately be read this way:

"80 percent of Virginians believe state government has at least some responsibility to improve the environment."

Well, I want to meet the 20% who don't believe that.

Read again, with different emphasis, tell me if this holds true:

"80 percent of Virginians believe state government has at least some responsibility to address climate change."

We all know that won't fly.  It would be a lie and everyone knows it.

So let's go to the survey questions and see what's going on here.  First:

[U]sing a letter grade of “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F,” how would you grade the overall quality of the natural environment in VIRGINIA today – A grade of “A” means excellent and a grade of “F” means very poor. What grade would you give Virginia’s environment?

89.1% responded with "above average" to excellent" when grading the environment.

See any startling call to action in that?

Neither do I.

Thinking ahead 10 or so years from now, do you think the natural environment in VIRGINIA will be much better, about the same, or much worse?

75.4% of Virginians believe our "above average to excellent environment" will be "about the same" to "much better" in years to come.

Three quarters of us.

Stop the presses.

The survey then looks at specific geographic regions of the commonwealth, including these nearest to my heart;

Mountain ranges such as the Appalachian or Blue Ridge

81.4% of respondents rated their "health" "average" to "very good."

Four-fifths of us?  What am I missing here? 

Forests and public lands

80.2% average to very good.


Parks and open spaces

86.4% average to very good.

Are you seeing anything shocking so far?

Then we get into that portion of the survey that I think is so deceptive that it deserves condemnation:

As you know, Virginia has had its most severe winter in many years this year, including record snowfalls. Has this year’s winter made you feel [LESS] concerned about climate change, [MORE] concerned about it, or has it made no difference in your views about whether climate change is happening or not? [rotate choices]

Fully 2/3rds of the respondents answered that there was no change in their concern.  But what to make of the 27.9% of those who said the harsh winter we just went through made them more concerned about "climate change"?  Well, your first thought might be that there are a lot of nuts roaming the streets of our fair state.  Cold weather would make people more concerned about global warming? (my transposition, of course, to make the point)  Have they gone batty?

There is a more fair assessment of this result.  Some people took the question literally (as I'm sure the poll author would have wanted them to, ahem). Whether intentionally or not (what might have been the motive?) nowhere in this poll do we get a definition of the term "climate change."  Don't you think that might be important?

Here's the deal: We all know what the environmentalists among us think it is.  But to those who have a deep, abiding love of the English language, it simply refers to ... weather.  Weather over a period of time, to be precise.

So, let's reread that question and restructure it to reflect that distinction:

"Virginia has had its most severe winter in many years this year, including record snowfalls. Has this year’s winter made you feel more or less concerned about the weather?"

Who in their right mind, at least of those who survived the horrific winter of 2009/10 and maintained a right mind in doing so, didn't become more concerned about the weather that we were all knee-deep in for weeks?

That's the fatal flaw in this survey.  Undefined terms from which flawed and therefore preposterous conclusions are drawn.

Finally, there's that question that the Daily Press reporter made mention of:

Ok, shifting focus a bit, how much responsibility do you think Virginia’s government has to create policies that could address the issue of climate change and improve the state’s environment? Would you say a GREAT DEAL of responsibility, SOME responsibility, LITTLE responsibility, or NO responsibility?

Great Deal 37.2%
Some 40.5%
Little 12.3%
None 8.3%
Unsure (vol.) .9%
Dk/no answer (vol.) .7%

UNFAIR.  And/or SLOPPY.  There are two questions mixed into that one question

(1) Do you believe the government should address the issue of climate change?
(2) Do you believe the government should improve the state's environment?

That's like asking: "Do you believe Governor McDonnell should declare an annual Confederate History Month and do what he can to prevent the state from falling into the ocean?"  How do you answer that with a YES or a NO?

Most Virginians, I'd be willing to wager a massive sum, would answer NO to the first part aimed at "climate change" and YES to the second dealing with our environment.

Not knowing for sure what "climate change" even means, and not being real sure how state government could possibly address it in any meaningful way anyway - other than to raise taxes to "address it" - does anyone really believe the people of Virginia want "climate change" "addressed"?

As to the environment, however, hell, we all want it to be as clean and as healthy as possible.  Right?

Look, you can peruse the survey yourself and decide if there's anything to it.  And you can determine on your own whether it's worth two cents.

I have my opinion.

Christopher Newport University's Wason Center for Public Policy can call me and obtain it - along with some instruction on how to conduct a legitimate public opinion survey - anytime.  My number's in the book.

Liar, Liar ...

"If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime.  I repeat, not one single dime."
-- Barack Obama, February 24, 2009 --

Well, he wasn't lying.  He may not raise you taxes a single dime.  In fact, he may just raise your taxes by thousands of dimes:

That, so you know, is the most destructive tax ever devised by man.

Coming to a pocketbook near you ...

Obama Coming To Dance On Coal Miners' Graves

Barack Obama, the man who is making every effort to fulfill his campaign pledge to destroy the livelihoods of every coal miner in West Virginia, is coming on Sunday to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch explosion to score political points. 

The media will be there in full force.  Cameras rolling.  As will the teleprompters.  Bet on it.

A good time will be had by all.

And then he'll be back to work destroying the livelihoods of ...

Great Stuff

Thank God for the alternative media.

You may have read New York Times (token Negro?) columnist Charles Blow's venomous attack on the Tea Party recently, focusing in particular on one rally that took place in Dallas on Tax Day.  In it he singled out one black attendee for special derision:
They saved the best for last, however: Alfonzo “Zo” Rachel. According to his Web site, Zo, who is black and performs skits as “Zo-bama,” allowed drugs to cost him “his graduation.” Before ripping into the president for unconstitutional behavior, he cautioned, “I don’t have the education that our president has, so if I misinterpret some things in the founding documents I kind of have an excuse.” That was the understatement of the evening.

I found the imagery surreal and a bit sad ...
Big mistake.

Zo returns fire:

"Charles said he came there looking for diversity. Let me tell you somethin", Chuck, we don't stand for diversity. We stand for unity. You can have your diversity, which only serves as an agent of divisiveness."

Zo Rachel.  Game.  Set.  Match.

Click on the image to activate.

Make Boucher's Day

I'll just bet, after the pummeling he took for having voted in favor of the global warming bill that all the experts agree will destroy the economic prospects in the coalfields region of his district, Congressman Rick Boucher is looking forward to fighting that fight all over again.  As his environmentalist buddies in Washington are preparing to do:

No time like now for Boucher to be looking for another line of work too.

A Fervent Prayer

 Please, God, make Obama leave me alone.

But Iran developing nuclear weapons that its leader has every intention of using to turn the USA into a sandbox is permissible.

At least we'll be sodium-free when we're turned to cinders.

Please, God ...

Stats Worth Consideration

Daniel Henninger:
In 1994 when the Democrats lost over 50 House seats at mid-term, the party's favorable rating was 62%, and for the Congress they controlled it was 53%. They still got killed. Now the party's favorable is 38% and Congress's approval is 25%.
Comes Armageddon.