SEMG did a Penny Poll at the Indivisible Fair in Farmington Hills on May 20.
Our sign said:
SHOW US YOUR PRIORITIES
TAKE TEN PENNIES
PUT MORE WITH CRITICAL ISSUES
NOT SO MANY WITH LESS CRITICAL
AND NONE WITH LESSER ISSUES
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU?
There were cups labeled with 11 environmental issues, so people had to think about actual priorities. Putting one penny per cup would not work. I told them it was like not having enough hours in the day to take care of everything. They had to decide which issues are immediate and critical, and which ones, while still important, are less critical.
The results were:
112 – Clean Affordable Water for All
106 – Transition to Clean Energy
88 – Ban Fracking in Michigan
72 – Support Public Transportation
68 – Shut Down Line 5 (Mackinac)
59 – Keep Public Lands Public
51 – Crack Down on Chemical Pollution
47 – Prevent Invasive Species
39 – Stop Radioactive Waste Dumping
31 – Carbon Tax and Dividend
31 – Control CAFO and Agricultural Runoff
Interestingly, several people asked me, “What is a CAFO?” Only one person asked about Line 5, and that one was wondering if it was one of the new piplelines being built. People are generally aware of what the issues are, and I think the results reasonably well show the priorities of a large, liberal group.
The numbers add up to 704, so either 70 people participated and there were 4 extra pennies, or 71 did, but we were 6 pennies short. Or, just possibly, I miscounted slightly. I think it is safe to say that 70 people participated, and there were errors handing out stacks of pennies or error in counting them at the end; likely a bit of both.
I believe Clean Affordable Water for All came in first because both the lead poisoning of Flint and the water shutoffs in Detroit are inherently political issues, and this was a political crowd. Transition to Clean Energy in a close second place means, to me, people in general understand what needs to be done.
That’s all the interpretation of the numbers I want to do, because these two issues are, as far as I can tell, in a class by themselves – broadly defined issues with really broad support. If you want to bring up just one or two environmental issues that will cause candidates to show their true colors, ask them what they are doing about these two.