Interesting enough. Perhaps 3.9% of the respondents didn't like having their time wasted with a survey, so decided to be deliberately awkward in every response they made. This would seem to fit in with the 'lumberjacks' being older and having a lower income than other respondents: both characteristics can be associated with a kind of hard-nosed practicality and a disdain for treehuggers and silly surveys.
I'm sure there's a law somewhere that says that no matter how completely indefensible a position, there is some contrary-minded group who will loudly proclaim allegiance to it. And if there isn't, there is now.
(Edit: OP, not suggesting your survey was silly, just that the 3.9% might have thought so.)
The respondents in general came from one geographical part of the city and also grade the quality of service of the city more harshly than others.
I interpret this that the parks department might be doing a really bad job in certain parts of the city. The trees are not kept well and trimmed, obstructing views and making driving unsafe, branches in the street after heavy winds, something like that. Now if I already think the city is doing a piss poor job, I'm sure not going to give them the justification they need to raise my taxes just so they can plant more trees (when they can't be trusted to take care of the ones that already exist).
In other words, the respondent's answer depends on the who they think is asking the question and how they think their answer might be used.
Very good point about this specifically. They live in a poorer part of the city. It shouldn't be that way, but it may well be that their neighbourhoods aren't as well tended as some of the richer parts of San Francisco.
> In other words, the respondent's answer depends on the who they think is asking the question and how they think their answer might be used.
We don't have any real data to support it, but I'm a fan of the hypothesis that at least some people are answering this question with the survey's ultimate use in mind. Anyone know of any good research around that kind of validity issue?
Add'l note about the data: folks who wanted fewer trees were spread fairly evenly across the city; they were slightly more likely to come from the Southeast, but it wasn't a big effect, and within any given district all the other relationships were still true.
> I'm sure there's a law somewhere that says that no matter how completely indefensible a position, there is some contrary-minded group who will loudly proclaim allegiance to it. And if there isn't, there is now.