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Critics of Monthly Poll 'Unwittingly' Support Its Relevance

September 1, 2021

Dear Editor,

The latest Santa Monica Pulse -- a monthly convenience survey of civically-engaged local voters -- found a "slim majority" of respondents don't support vaccine mandates in public indoor spaces or for public employees.

The poll drew a few angry letters from critics who apparently failed to read our polling questions ("LETTERS -- 'Bogus' Poll Should Not Be Published," August 30, 2021).

Indeed, these critics unwittingly support the relevance and accuracy of our monthly survey.

One letter writer linked our survey results to vaccine skepticism, writing: "Clearly a majority of Santa Monica residents does NOT oppose vaccination; at least 81.7 percent of residents of ZIP code 90403 are fully vaccinated."

Yet this data is consistent with Pulse polling results, which found in April of this year that 84 percent of respondents had received a vaccine or were planning to.

There is no question that a vast majority of city residents support vaccination and are themselves vaccinated. However, our latest poll asked specifically whether residents did or did not support vaccine mandates in specific city spaces or for public employees.

The question was newsworthy given the City Council's consideration of the topic. According to the poll -- the methodology of which has always been clearly stated -- residents appear to be split on the matter.

As we learned from the 2016 presidential election, polling is imperfect and subject to certain biases. But that doesn't mean it can't be a helpful jumping off point for policy discussions.

Misinterpreting the results only confuses that discourse rather than informing it.

Charlyce Bozzello
Communications director at the Center for Union Facts

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