Great Lakes Division Survey A Bust

Jim Weaver, K8JE, the Great Lakes Division Director recently conducted an online survey. He asked a curious combination of questions, and in my opinion, got back a curious combination of answers.

For example, question #2 asked, “What is your favorite Amateur Radio activity?” 27.4% answered “Emergency/Public Service Communications,” while only 8.4% answered “Contesting.” That just doesn’t seem right.

Another example is question #9, “Did you vote in the last election for ARRL Great Lakes Division Director and the last election for the ARRL Section Manager for your Section?” Approximately 70% said that they had voted in the last election.

Well, that is a number that certainly doesn’t make any sense. As some of you may remember, I ran for Vice Director in the last election. 3,578 votes were cast in that election. That’s certainly not 70% of the membership in the GL Division.

Based on these two questions alone, I’d question the usefulness of the numbers produced by this survey. I don’t think that it even reflects how the division’s ARRL members feel about the hobby, much less the amateur population in general. I hope that Weaver isn’t planning to use this survey when deciding how to vote on issues.


  1. Seems they always do, even though the information may be faulty. Then they use the same excuse – “That’s what the membership wanted!”. I often wonder, “Who exactly did you ask?”

  2. David N8SRE says:

    Surveys where the group is allowed to self-select are always extremely dubious. Surveys where someone familiar with polling didn’t design the questions are doubly so. The data is entirely useless.

  3. I don’t know exactly how the survey was conducted, but unless steps were taken to ensure that it was a truly random sample, that people couldn’t vote more than once, etc., then the results will be little more than an amusement. I do know that the ARRL has conducted surveys on a national level and they’ve worked with a research firm to conduct that research. Those are the kinds of surveys where a unique link is sent directly out to randomly selected individuals so that they can’t vote more than once or pass it on. I can see how in this kind of survey, perhaps the emcomm folks encouraged other like-minded individuals to vote, skewing the results. Nothing horrible about doing that for amusement value, but it’s not statistically valid.

  4. What survey!

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