After the Portland Police Association (PPA)—the union for rank-and-file cops—paid a lot of money to get a push poll designed to sow discontent with the new, voter-approved police oversight board, the Mercury was like, "OH, HELL NO!" We were particularly galled by the fact that only 500 Portlanders out of a half-million residents were asked their opinions, and that the Oregonian was thrilled to repeat the questionable results using the headline, "Majority of Portland voters say they'd consider leaving if they could as crime, homeless concerns persist, new poll finds." WHAT? Oh, BA-LONEY.

That's why we published our OWN (also biased, but much funnier) poll to see just how wrong the police union's poll was, and... surprise! IT WAS SO FRICKIN' WRONG!

And that's not all! While it took the police union's poll an entire week to get 500 people to respond, the Mercury's poll received 1680 responses... in a single day! And after a week, a whopping 3,491 Portlanders have filled out our poll! (Note to those other rich political organizations who are paying too much to get your polls noticed... maybe you should give that sweet moolah to the Mercury instead?)

Okay, it's time to get to the responses!

QUESTION 1 ANALYSIS: According to my eyeballs, a rather large majority (95%) of people taking this poll reside in Portland. However, a small 5% of you answered "No, but as someone who hears a lot about Portland from Fox News and other conservative outlets, I feel like it makes me an expert on your shit-hole of a city." Say hi to your Russian bot mom for me.

QUESTION 2 ANALYSIS: Regarding the PPA, we wanted to know if you consider them a union in the classic "organization that protects workers' rights" sense. Apparently many of you (89% to be exact) feel the PPA is not a real union, and is, in fact, just another shitty lobbying group like the Portland Business Alliance (AKA Portland Metro Chamber), People for Portland, and the Commercial Association of Brokers, who spend an enormous amount of time and money trying to turn Portland into a terrible Arizona strip mall whose sole purpose is to stuff more moolah into the pockets of grotesque rich people. (Although 11% of you wished that the cops would go on strike, just so we'd all see how little work they actually do.)

QUESTION 3 ANALYSIS: WHAAAAT?? Wait... wait... wait. Are you actually telling me that if you poll more than 500 people, you might get a totally different response? In any case, I guess the police union owes everyone an apology, because a clear majority of you (53%) would prefer to STAY in Portland and help work on our concerns. Plus, if the conservative Commissioner Rene Gonzalez promised to leave the city, an additional 39% would stick around, thereby indicating a grand total of 92% of people who want to stay. (Maybe if Gonzalez truly cares about "the will of the people" he'll take their advice and move to Strip Mall, Arizona.)

QUESTION 4 ANALYSIS: However (according to our poll), even that small 8% of people who want to move to Strip Mall, Arizona could be convinced to stay if we elected "more politicians who work on getting to the root of problems, rather than just sweeping them under the rug" (39%), "disband Portland's police union" (34%), and/or "put ball gags in the mouths of every crybaby millionaire" (13%). Shout out to the 11% of you who desire "43% more sunshine"—with climate change going in its current direction, you'll most likely get your wish!

QUESTION 5 ANALYSIS: Oh wow! You actually agreed with the police union's poll on one question, and as it turns out, you're all DEATHLY AFRAID OF CRIME!! (Even though crime has been steadily going down in Oregon and nationally since the pandemic.) However, it seems the criminals you are most afraid of are capitalists (43%) who commit SO MANY CRIMES, followed by cops (33%) who unfortunately never police their own,  and then your garden-variety gnome thieves (20%). By the way, will the person who stole my "gnome with his butt sticking out" please return it? You're a dick.

QUESTION 6 ANALYSIS: Well, this was a definitive answer. When asked "Why do you think the police union paid big bucks for their recent poll?" an astounding 86% answered that the union wanted to a) "find out if their plan to sabotage the new police oversight board would work," b) "spread more fear and unease about crime (even though crime rates have dropped)," c) "exert more pressure on local politicians to water down the new police oversight board before it launches," and d) "force the city to keep pumping money into their bloated budget." OMG, you're all so smart! (Psst... hey police union, looks like Portland has caught on to your shenanigans!)

QUESTION 7 ANALYSIS: And if the cop union plans on trying to make Portlanders vote again on the police oversight board, they may want to invest all that money instead on buying jet skis for their members, because an incredibly large 98% of our citizens screamed "OMG!! We already voted on this, and we overwhelmingly want MORE TRANSPARENCY!" (Maybe the cops can start by publishing fewer bullshit push polls.)


Cops: Don't you think the Portland Police deserves more money?

96% of you: HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA... NO! Are you freaking kidding me?

Cops: 😭

QUESTION 9 ANALYSIS: Apparently PPA president Aaron Schmautz has only been talking to his rich developer friends and other local right-wing losers, because he seems to think the opinions of Portlanders have "shifted" since George Floyd was slowly asphyxiated and murdered by Minneapolis police in 2020. Weird, because I remember it like it was yesterday, and if anything has shifted, it's probably that I have less trust in policing now than I have in my entire life. Let's see what the rest of Portland thinks: 

Yup! I rest my case.

QUESTION 10 ANALYSIS: Okay, here's a tricky one: Does a poll of 500 people (like the one the police union conducted) reflect the thoughts of a half-million Portlanders? A lot of polling companies will say yes, because... well, they're polling companies and that's how they make money. (Plus it's a lot easier and cost efficient to poll a small group than a very large one.) Likewise, some statisticians will say yes, but remember they're just looking at numbers—not the actual, sometimes fickle respondents who can be swayed by leading questions, or (just for example) love picking up the phone to answer a poll that clearly supports the police. (Shoot. Now I wish I would've asked, "How many of you are too busy to pick up the phone and play the police union's baby games?")

So once more for those in the back: MOST POLLS (including the Mercury's) ARE NOT SCIENTIFICALLY VALID. There are waaaaay too many factors that can throw a poll into the "invalid" category, such as leading questions, a lack of diverse respondents, small polling samples, and limited methods of delivering the poll. So are the 92% of people correct when they said that a sampling of 500 people is too small to properly represent a city of more than 600,000? I THINK SO. Even if one presents fair questions asked by good interviewers, and gives participants multiple ways of taking the poll, an accurate poll would seemingly include the opinions of 60,000 people (or 10% of the population) to get a fair reading of how people actually think. Both the police union AND the Mercury's follow-up poll failed to do that.

However, ours is funnier, which makes it better! 😁

QUESTION 11 ANALYSIS: As we all know, the local media absolutely ADORES publishing the results of bullshit polls, and has done so on numerous occasions. The question is: SHOULD THEY? For the first time in our poll, I'm going to disagree with the majority (59%) who thinks the Oregonian should report on the results of our poll (because presumably what's good for the police goose is also good for the Mercury gander). I think the 26% of people who said "NO, because publishing the results of polls that are intended to manipulate the public is a clear violation of journalistic ethics" are absolutely correct. EVEN THOUGH THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M DOING RIGHT NOW. (Look... what can I say? I'm a complicated guy. 😘)

QUESTION 12 ANALYSIS: Okay, so we've established that many of you think that publishing the results of a sketchy, politically motivated poll as "fact" should be considered journalistic malpractice. However, that sorry situation is made infinitely worse by the addition of click-baity, inaccurate headlines such as "Majority of Portland voters say they'd consider leaving if they could....," especially when that is not at all true—at least according to the majority of those polled by the Mercury who said a much better title would've been "Police Union Unveils Latest Scheme to Avoid Transparency and Get Away with Literal Murder." (Note to other local media outlets: If you'd like me to help write your headlines, hit me up... I only charge $25 per article! Also, I am not responsible for any resulting lawsuits.)

QUESTION 13 ANALYSIS: And finally, while one would be right to question the validity of the Mercury's poll, it's kind of hard to argue with the 74% (98% if you include the maybes) of you who says that Portland's police union hates Portland, because... well, they obviously do. Otherwise, why would they put their own greed and selfish needs above the people they are sworn to protect? (That's a rhetorical question, but if the police union wants to use it in their next poll, that's okay by me!)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Polls can be fun little snapshots of what people are thinking at any given moment, but—scientifically speaking—they are absolute garbage most of the time. Never believe the results of any poll commissioned by a lobbying group or political action committee—particularly around election time (looks hard at all those polls already declaring Biden being less popular than Trump). That said... THANK YOU FOR TAKING OUR GARBAGE POLL! And if any local news source is planning on writing about it, here's a suggested headline (for free): "An Overwhelming Majority of Portlanders Would Replace Local Police Union with a Rancid Baloney Sandwich, New Garbage Poll Finds."

[Want to take our garbage poll? It's still open and waiting for you!]