The nonprofit, nonpartisan Rivard Report and local television station KSAT announced Monday a partnership with the newly formed nonprofit Bexar Facts to launch a quarterly public opinion poll to find out what San Antonio voters really think about local issues and the future trajectory of the city.
The nonpartisan Bexar Facts/KSAT/Rivard Report Poll will seek to accurately gauge voter sentiment on issues of importance and interest, especially those that will find their way to the ballot this year in the May and November elections. Renewal of Pre-K4SA funding, how voters feel about shifting a one-eighth-cent sales tax from aquifer protection and the greenway trails system to VIA Metropolitan Transit, and the approval ratings of key elected officials will be explored in the initial poll, which is underway. Results will be released by the three partners on Feb. 11.
Bexar Facts is the brainchild of longtime political consultant and campaign manager Christian Archer, who has said that San Antonio is the only metropolitan area its size without a credible nonpartisan poll. The launch of Bexar Facts, he told the Rivard Report, signals the end of his career as a political consultant and his foray into measuring public opinion scientifically without regard to the outcome.
The quarterly polling partnership, perhaps the first of its kind in San Antonio, will be conducted by California-based FM3 Research and will be publicly available at bexarfacts.org at the same time results are reported on-air by KSAT and published on the Rivard Report. Both media partners are announcing the launch of the poll simultaneously Monday morning, and Rivard Report Publisher and Editor Robert Rivard is set to appear on SA Live, KSAT’s morning program with anchor Steve Spriester, along with Archer and other Bexar Facts associates.
The first poll is underway with phone calls to 600 likely voters in city elections who are being asked questions from whether San Antonio is a good place to live to how they view important issues such as the economy, affordable housing, health care, and transit.
The Rivard Report and KSAT will collaborate on shaping the poll’s questions and in reporting the results.
“San Antonio needs a reliable, nonpartisan polling enterprise like Bexar Facts with its finger on the pulse of voters, asking the right questions, and providing elected leaders and citizens with timely, interesting, and credible data and information,” Rivard said.
“We are proud to be partnering with our colleagues at KSAT-TV to serve as a publishing platform for the Bexar Facts poll results and to have our respective journalists help people understand what the survey results might mean for public policymakers going forward,” he added. “This important election year is an ideal time to launch.”
KSAT Anchor Steve Spriester said the poll gives Bexar County voters a voice.
“A lot of times, we’re guessing what are the most important issues to San Antonio – this takes some of that guesswork out of it,” he said. “Certainly it’s going to produce stories for KSAT and the Rivard Report, and we can go deeper into issues that are important.”
Bexar Facts/KSAT/Rivard Report Poll is led by Archer, a longtime political strategist who has advised the campaigns of various public officials, including Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and mayors in San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, as well as local bond campaigns. He also manages the governmental affairs arm of a law firm.
The goal of the poll, he said, is to motivate citizens to get involved with public policy and engage with local policymakers, and to ensure that decisions are made using data-driven analytics.
“As San Antonio looks to the future, we hope that our research will help boost civic engagement and be used as a resource to guide a nonpartisan approach to policy discussions,” Archer said. “I believe the data we receive from our surveys will be fundamental in building an inclusive and prosperous community for everyone.”
Results of the first poll will help determine what questions are asked in subsequent polls, he said. “I’m hoping that we find some diamonds in the rough, some issues our public officials aren’t necessarily bringing to the forefront.”
The 28-question survey, designed and fielded by FM3, is estimated to take 15 to 18 minutes to answer. Any registered voter in Bexar County could receive a call.
By surveying likely voters, the Bexar Facts Poll hopes to reach the people who are most engaged in their community.
Archer is personally funding the first poll and hopes to secure sponsorships and partnerships going forward.