February 26, 2011
Bill Shapard

Tulsa World Editorial: Poll data should shape city policy

Polling results can be peculiar. It's easy to make too much of results, but they also can be dismissed too easily.

With private funding, the city has conducted an extensive poll of how Tulsans view their community, what is working well and what needs improvement.

Shapard Research conducted the poll of 1,803 Tulsans spread across the city.

As with any worthwhile customer satisfaction poll, the results show some core strengths, some areas for improvement and some areas that are just not high priorities for the people of Tulsa.

Here's some good news: 77 percent rate Tulsa as a good to excellent place to live.

Here's some more good news: 87 percent say they feel safe walking their neighborhood streets during the day.

Here's some news that tempers that good news: Only 54 percent say they feel safe to walk those same streets at night.

Here's some news that suggests something the city needs to pursue: 79 percent support Arkansas River development.

Here's something else the city needs to pursue: 77 percent support the city sharing services with Tulsa County.

Here's some news that isn't news at all, but emphasizes a continuing problem for the city: Only 31 percent say they are satisfied with the city's street conditions.

Here's some news that should concern everyone at City Hall: Only 51 percent think the city is moving in the right direction.

Asking your customers how you're doing and what they want is smart business, and the poll was a smart move for the city.

If this sort of polling is conducted honestly and analyzed appropriately, if it is used to shape the city into a more responsive arm of the people, it can result in increased citizen satisfaction with municipal government, and there ought to be 100 percent approval for that goal.

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.