December 19, 2008
Bill Shapard

Lawton Residents are Gaining Awareness through Clean Air Program

OKLAHOMA CITY � In a survey commissioned by the Lawton Metropolitan Planning Organization (LMPO) and conducted by Oklahoma�s public opinion pollster, Sooner Poll, Lawton and area residents stated that they are more aware of and have developed a better comprehension of the Clean Air Program and the Air Quality Index (AQI).

The Clean Air Program, initiated in 2002 by the LMPO of the City of Lawton, was developed to better educate area residents about air pollution and appropriate responses to such pollution through the use of the AQI, a color-coded warning system, ranging from good to hazardous, that is reported as a forecast through various media.

The study gathered opinions to better understand the impact the program has had on area residents and, because the same study was conducted in 2007 as well, how the response has changed over time.

A quarter of the residents polled were able to correctly identify the AQI and how it works; 15% of this group was not able last year. This is most likely largely due to familiarity of the program. A third of residents answered that they were familiar with the program; 14% of this group was not familiar last year.

As exposure to Lawton Clean Air ads from multiple media increased, so did the ability to understand the AQI. If a resident had seen the ads in multiple media and television or radio was one of the media, understanding was enhanced as well.

Beyond familiarity and comprehension, residents also stated that they reduced driving, did not mow and gassed up late, among other activities, on high AQI days. Sooner Poll further found residents becoming more active over time in these ways.

Not mowing, reduced driving, gassing up late, staying indoors and carpooling are the easiest/most likely instructions to be recalled. Advertising messages or none, some actions may be inherent and/or learned throughout the program�s history and taken without specific instructions considering there were no air alert days in 2008 in which to prompt action.

Residents are more likely to answer caring for their automobile as one of the most important actions to take on a high AQI day this year compared to last year. Driving less, caring for an automobile and carpooling were perceived to be the most important actions in 2008.

Those that recalled instructions of gassing up late and not mowing were much more likely to understand the AQI compared to those who recalled other instructions.

Half of the residents surveyed said that they believe air pollution in Lawton has stayed the same over the last year, but were almost 40% less likely to say they think pollution is getting worse.

The study was conducted October 20-24, 2008 via telephone using a random digit dial technique (RDD), of city of Lawton, Oklahoma residents as well as portions of Comanche County, as defined by the LMPO. Participants qualified if they were of the age 18 years or older.

The sample size of the study was 402 respondents; the margin of error was plus or minus 4.9% and some of these observations were within this margin of error; and, conducted at a 95% confidence level.

Collecting the opinions of Oklahomans � it is Sooner Poll�s mission. Sooner Poll is the state�s leading provider of custom public opinion polls and research to the Oklahoma media, industry leaders, nonprofit organizations and trade associations. That is why they turn to Sooner Poll to help them shape their message and craft their strategy when their success depends on the attitudes and opinions of Oklahomans.

Bill Shapard
About the Author

Bill Shapard

Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004.