The poll, conducted by Moore Information, surveyed 400 likely voters in the C-Tran service district last weekend, according to the Washington Policy Center. It reported a sampling error of 5 percent.
Respondents were asked a series of questions, among them: “Do you support or oppose raising the sales tax for a new light rail system from Vancouver to Portland?” A total of 66 percent of people surveyed said no.
In a later question, 57 percent of respondents said they’re against “any type of tax or fee” to pay for light rail, according to the poll.
But when pollsters posed a question that used the same language that will appear on the ballot — the results came out markedly different. Forty-eight percent said they would approve Proposition 1, with 42 percent against it. Ten percent were undecided.
This year’s measure has drawn high interest with its direct connection to light rail and the politically charged Columbia River Crossing. Bus rapid transit is less a part of the conversation, but has recently drawn a campaign of its own.
Seeing relatively few undecided voters may suggest a public that’s already plugged in on one side of the debate or another, said C-Tran public affairs director Scott Patterson.
“It shows that many people have taken time to consider the issues associated with these two high-capacity transit projects,” Patterson said. “Voters are becoming more informed, and we think that’s a good thing.”
The poll reached all voting age ranges, including 21 percent older than 65 years old. Respondents identified themselves as 30 percent Republican, 32 percent Democrat, 27 percent independent, according to the Washington Policy Center. The rest answered “something else” or “don’t know,” according to the survey.
Ennis, who directs the group’s Center for Transportation, said the poll was conducted to get a better pulse on a Clark County issue that’s been watched closely.
And the seemingly disparate results?
“Polls don’t surprise me anymore,” Ennis said.