Environmentalist questions validity of recent Lighthouse Point poll

Environmentalist questions validity of recent Lighthouse Point poll

Environmentalist Sam Dumcombe on Tuesday questioned the validity of a recent Public Domain survey which indicated that 71 per cent of Bahamians were in support of Disney’s proposed development at Lighthouse point in Eleuthera.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Duncombe said she felt the results were “manipulated” because the poll was reportedly paid for by Disney.

“When you do a survey you can get it to say whatever you want depending on how you frame the question and when you look at these questions, they are leading the respondent into a favourable reply to them,” she said.

“I could do a survey and I can get 71 per cent of people to say ‘I don’t want Disney here,’ so a survey depending on what it is you want, can be manipulated.”

However, President of Public Domain, M’wale Rahming on Tuesday defended the survey.  He told Eyewitness News that environmentalists “may just be shocked” that the majority of Bahamians do not support their view.

“A lot of it has to with the online poll that some of the news outlets have online, where they are seeing the complete opposite of this and they are having a hard time understanding the difference between an online survey where everyone can participate and a scientific survey where it is randomly selected household throughout the country,” he said.

“A lot of time you see online surveys are not accurate because I can vote multiple times, I can go from my house, to my school, to wherever and vote multiple times and in a scientific survey each household is randomly selected and only one person from that household get to represent that household and so they are so adamant that this project is wrong, they cannot believe the public wants it.”

The poll conducted this weekend of 994 households across the country, revealed that of the 994 individuals polled, 235 individuals or 38 per cent – 311 males and 310 females, were “very much” in support of the development, while 161 individuals, some 26 per cent, did not support the cruise initiative.

The poll revealed that 171 individuals or 28 per cent, “somewhat” supported the development, while 54 individuals or nine per cent “somewhat” did not support the development.

Disney has proposed creating a cruise destination at Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera.


Let’s take a look at one question… shall we? Let me know if you feel it was fair….

Question 1:
“Disney has proposed creating a cruise destination in Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera. They have said the low-density development will serve as a place for Disney guests to relax and spend time with their families on the property’s beautiful beaches, while also having the opportunity to enjoy nature, visit shopping and dining locations and explore Eleuthera more broadly. Disney has stated that they will protect and sustain the natural beauty of the site, provide economic opportunity for Bahamians, help strengthen the community and celebrate the culture of The Bahamas. Disney also has said that Bahamians will have full access to the property and they will not develop the southern-most point or allow Disney guests to visit it. Have you heard of this proposed new development in Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera?”

This question makes use of actual Disney PR materials in the description of the project, and is considered by us dorky survey research folks to have a strong bias to influence the respondent for all future questions. It sets the respondent up to think that the project is going to be great and uses strong, leading words to convey that (relax, enjoy, protect, sustain, beautiful, strengthen, economic opportunity, celebrate).

If someone was writing a biased survey against Disney, they could start that as “A new cruise ship port is being proposed for South Eleuthera. South Eleuthera already has 2 cruise ship ports within 15 miles of Bannerman Town, yet neither have managed to lessen the community’s economic woes. Additionally, at the existing ports, due to customs, immigration and security regulations, it is very difficult for Bahamians to access their own lands. The environmental impacts of cruise ships on rural ports – including the degradation of reefs from dredging and anchors, additional solid waste disposal at overloaded dumps, excessive sewage disposal straining limited water resources and infrastructure- are well known around the world, and are believed to be the same for the new port. Have you heard of this proposed new development in Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera?”

In contrast, a non-leading question would be: “Disney is proposing to add a new cruise port in southern Eleuthera. Have you heard of this proposed new development?”

That is a fact-based non-adjective filled description.

This poll was paid for by Disney and from what I understand went to landline phones only. How about an independent poll with the inhabitants of Eleuthera. The Disney plan affects the landscape, waters and pockets of the people who live on the island and they are adamantly against this plan in large numbers.

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