A Report on the Heralds Reader Opinion Poll
This week marks the thirteenth consecutive Puerto Rico Herald reader opinion poll, asking the question as to whether or not the former and presently very silent - Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Rossello should respond publicly to charges of corruption by aids during his administration. In the Heralds last edition, readers were given the chance to rate the present Governor, Sila Calderon, on her performance on Vieques. The lady did not fare too well. With a dozen polls now complete, Herald editors are providing readers with a synopsis of past polls and a word or two about its purpose, what it is and what it is not. At the end of this article, each poll result appears, expressed in percentages.
Each weeks question responds to Puerto Rican issues raised by news reports, including stories carried in Herald pages. For example, during the past four weeks, as the Navy had its training exercises ongoing in Vieques, questions have related to controversy surrounding that event. In Poll # 11, opinion was split as to whether or not the Navy was justified in using tear gas to fend off rock throwing protestors and, as seen in Poll # 9, opinion was virtually even as to the suitability of live-fire training at the Navys Vieques facility. In poll #10, six out of ten respondents opined that the U.S. Military presence in Puerto Rico was generally beneficial to the island.
Polls # 3, 4, 7 & 8 each solicited opinion on the issue of taxes and the use of taxpayer money, made relevant by Gov. Calderons "state of the Commonwealth" speech, in which she outlined initiatives that became controversial among Puerto Rican cognoscenti. Opinion was divided as to whether or not the Governor should use island resources to register to vote Puerto Ricans living in mainland congressional districts, but 3 out of 4 readers were opposed to her plan to establish a lottery in Puerto Rico to provide raises for public employees. By an almost equal number, readers disapproved of the Governors proposal to finance local elections out of the Commonwealths general revenues. In Poll # 7, sixty-four percent of respondents thought that Puerto Ricans living on the island should be required to pay federal income taxes.
The Heralds initial poll posed the question as to the suitability of Puerto Ricos Governor also being the head of his or her political party. This was in response to public agonizing in Puerto Rico about ways to prevent a repetition of the campaign contribution irregularities being pursued by federal prosecutors and reported in the press. Three of four readers thought that the Governor, once elected, should leave party management to others. When Resident Commissioner Acevedo Vilá was taking heat in the local press about the relatively little time he was spending attending to Congressional business, 70% of respondents to Poll # 5 thought that he should be required to establish a residence in Washington during his term in office.
Herald editors view the weekly poll as a means for its readers to sound off on items of current relevance to Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. In no way is it a valid statistical sample of opinion from which conclusions can be drawn about general opinion on the island, on the mainland, in Congress, or anyplace else for that matter.
In the first place, there is no way to know who is voting, where the voter resides, what are his or her age, politics or socioeconomic status. There are software blocks to prevent users of a computer from voting more than once in the same week, but nothing to preclude a given reader from registering an opinion on other computers to which he or she has access. All we know for sure is that the voter is a reader that takes enough interest in the question to register an opinion.
What we hope is that the weekly poll is an enjoyable feature that will grow in popularity among readers as it continues. To this end we invite your views on the poll including areas that you think should be covered in upcoming issues.
To resister an opinion on the poll, click on the button below.