Statistics speak

The board of regents of the North Central Texas College reviewed the results of the bond survey completed and presented by Mike Stevens of Action Data for the college. Pictured are NCTC Board Chairman Dr. Bill Ledbetter (left) and Regent Lynn Williams during a discussion at the meeting.

Photo by Pamela Robinson
Gainesville Daily Register

The board of regents of the North Central Texas College reviewed the results of the recent bond survey during the regular meeting Monday night.

The survey of Cooke County voters was taken by Mike Stevens of Action Data, who addressed the board after distributing the publication of the results.

NCTC President Dr. Eddie Hadlock said the purpose of the survey was to “gather data about the possibility of our bond campaign, to help us to decide if we call a bond, don’t call a bond — a tax bond.”

Stevens said a randomized group of 5,000 voters in Cooke County was selected and the poll was conducted from late Oct. 2010 to Nov. 2. Approximately 980 households responded and completed the survey.

The survey was taken to determine voter attitudes regarding economic development and job creation in the county.

“They were delivered a postcard in the mail with an address that drove them to an internet site,” Stevens said of those involved in the survey.

In the analysis of the report, Stevens gave some background on how voters cast their votes during the March 2010 primaries and during the November 2010 general election, and the general state of voters and public opinion. The analysis included the influence of the TEA Party in this year’s elections.

“The state of national politics cast a shadow on any project requiring new tax dollars,” the written analysis starts.

The survey asked the question, “What do you consider the three most important economic development generators in Cooke County?” Respondents could select the three they thought most important from: agriculture, medical, oil, wind, education, banking, professional service, home based businesses or other.

Of the approximately 980 who responded, the top four “economic generators” were: agriculture at 58.16 percent, oil at 53.06 percent, education at 48.98 percent and medical at 38.78 percent.

Those surveyed were asked whether they believe the industries of agriculture, petroleum and health care are likely to increase or decrease in the future.

Of the respondents, 75.5 percent said they expect the agriculture industries such as farming and ranching to decrease; 63.26 percent said they expect employment for the petroleum industries currently in the county to increase and 71 percent said they expect the potential for growth in the health care industry to increase.

The survey asked, “With rising tuition rates in Texas universities, do you believe North Central Texas College has an opportunity for an expanded role?”

The survey responses showed 81.64 percent said “yes,” 13.26 percent said “no” and 5.10 percent fell into the “null” category.

Another question was “Do you believe that NCTC’s facilities and technology are adequate to continue its mission to provide associate degrees and certifications to a growing number of North Texas students?”

The survey responses showed 58.17 percent said “yes,” the facilities and technology are adequate, 38.77 percent said “no” and 3.06 fell into the “null” category.

The survey included the question, “Which of the following would make you consider voting for a tax increase? Select all that apply: (of five choices).” Survey results showed 45.11 percent would consider a tax increase for “incentives to attract new industries and investment”; 38.77 percent would consider a tax increase for “increased medical training and job opportunities;” 40 percent of respondents said they would consider an increase for “upgrading of roads throughout the county;” 15.30 percent would consider an increase for “tourism and convention business growth” and 23.46 percent said they would consider a tax increase for “safety as in increased patrols.”

To the question, “If a bond election were held today that would cost the average homeowner $4 to $6 per month and would improve classrooms, technology and job growth, would you vote for it? the survey showed 44.93 percent would vote “yes,” 23.46 percent would vote “no” and 30.61 percent were “unsure” and 1 percents fell into the “null” category.

The survey included additional information such as the largest age group of Cooke County voters is in the 50 to 64 age category.

“The ultimate goal of this survey was for you to bring us an opinion on whether or not you thought, based on all the demographics of this county and all the information you would gather, that you think this (bond) will pass or fail?” a regent noted.

“If it were held today it would pass,” Stevens said. “We’ve never been wrong.”

When asked what the attitudes and voting results might be next year, Stevens joked that “If I knew what folks were thinking next year I’d make a lot more money than I do...We can base it on their opinions today and we can forecast...It’s my prediction that these numbers do not change.”

Also included in the discussion was voting patterns and shifts, that other ISDs are also looking at bringing up a bond election and the influence the TEA Party might have on the bond.

“The big gorilla is the TEA Party,” Stevens said.

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