Barre survey, even with 35% response rate, shows resounding opposition to turbines

Posted 12 August 2020 at 9:03 am


On August 10, the Orleans Hub reported on the results of the survey compiled by George McKenna regarding acceptance or opposition to the proposed Heritage Wind project in Barre.

In summary, 735 surveys were sent out, with 258 returned (35 percent) and 176 of those 258 returned (68 percent) offering a resounding NO to the project.

A previous letter to the editor suggested that those results indicate only a 20 percent objection to the project (176 of 735). Sorry, but that math is completely invalid.

Using elementary statistics, one can calculate the “95 percent confidence interval” of the result.  In other words, what is the possible range of NO votes that would have been recorded had everyone responded to the survey?

The calculation yields a result of 63.4 percent to 72.6 percent would oppose the project. There is a 2.5 percent chance the actual result would be lower than 63.4 percent, and a 2.5 percent chance the actual result would be higher than 72.6 percent.

Proper mathematical methods are needed to produce accurate results.

Steve Royce