Combined Advocate Surveys vs. CAI surveys

Let the truth be known!

Two homeowner rights advocates, Sara Benson (Chicago) and Jill Schweitzer (Phoenix), were responsible for 2 online polls on homeowner satisfaction with HOAs.[i]  In stark contrast, not surprisingly, the Combined Advocate Surveys, as I refer to them, revealed opinions and views refuting the results of the CAI “happiness” surveys.[ii] It appears that the CAI studies were happiness studies of happy HOA members.

Under the trade name, George Analytics,[iii] a proprietary investigation and analysis of the 3 surveys was conducted and standard statistical T Tests for validity were applied.  Some observations: both the CAI and Combined surveys were internet polls (CAI included telephone calling) consisted of a reported 800 responses.  CAI’s questions were more generalized and less detailed than the enquiring questions in the Combined surveys, which, naturally, provided more insights into HOA issues and controversies.

Because of the variations in the questions asked and response alternatives provided, some ‘reworking’ was in order.  Consequently, a ‘favorable to HOA’ vs. ‘unfavorable to HOA’ category was adopted and the responses placed accordingly.  For example, a YES response could be pro-HOA or not depending on the wording of the question. Three sets of responses are used as examples:  yes/no, like/favor/prefer, and positive/negative with respect to favorable or unfavorable.  To avoid the yes/no example above, I had to rephrase some questions so that ‘yes,’ for example, was always a favorable, pro-HOA response.

In statistical terms, the George Analytics table below shows that the CAI and Combined responses (average percentages) come from 2 distinct samples, segments, of the HOA population at a 99.5% significance level.

favorable            unfavorable

combined advocate response                 8%                          79%

CAI response                                             59%                         15%


Now, in laymen’s terms, what does this mean and how can this wide gap in views be reconciled? First, the lauded CAI surveys do not represent the complete population of HOA members as claimed by CAI[iv], and these surveys cannot be promoted as representing reality within HOA-Land.  They are tainted!  So too, for that matter, are the Combined surveys. However, they are valid within themselves and also serve the important purpose of refuting the results of all those CAI surveys that CAI now claims to have been validated. As CAI proclaimed,

The findings objectively refute the unfounded and unsubstantiated myth that the community association model of governance is failing to serve the best interests of Americans who choose to live in common-interest communities.[v]

Not so!

The findings from the six surveys are strikingly consistent and rarely vary a standard margin error for national, demographically representative surveys.[v]

This is a meaningless statement. What does ‘rarely vary a standard margin of error’ ( the commonly seen “+/- n” footnotes to political polls) mean?  It refers to the internal consistency of the polled samples and has only meaning as being representative only if there are statistics relating to a survey sample representing all HOA members. The Combined Advocate Surveys demonstrate that the CAI surveys are not representative of all HOA members.

Call to Action!

To truly validate its surveys CAI must reject the findings of the Combined Advocate Surveys, not by hyperbole or by rhetoric, but by opening up to a bona fide study of HOA-Land by independent researchers.  And state governments must cry out for this independent study to end its lack of awareness of conditions and stress within HOA-Land.

The Truth Is Out There!



[i] Combined Advocate Surveys — Sara Benson: Chppi’s 2015 National HOA Survey; Jill Schweitzer’s HOA Industry Survey.

[ii] CAI 2016 National Homeowner Survey,

[iii] HOA Surveys Comparison.

[iv] Supra ii.

[v] Supra ii.

Published in: on June 16, 2016 at 6:54 am  Comments (6)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] [4] See Combined Advocate Surveys vs. CAI surveys. […]

  2. An important fist step in refuting the phoney CAI study. We do need a study that segments respondent types: homeowner, Board member, etc. and HOA type: residential, townhouse, and condominiums. These groups are likely to have different views of the delirious joy of HOA living reported by CAI.

  3. I have lived in an HOA since 1988 and no one has ever asked me to complete a survey about HOAs. Even if the CAI surveys were objective 800 out of the thousands living in HOAs would be a very small sample!

    • You are right that 800 would be a very small sample size for those 300,000+ HOAs in the US. However, it is the question of how well that sample represents the larger population of HOA members. Statistical methods handle this – the same methods that are used in all those political campaign polls/surveys.

      My Analytics used these methods to show that the CAI and Combined samples represent distinct segments of all members. Consequently, CAI cannot argue that its surveys apply to all members and neither can the Combined surveys. The importance of this result is that a valid study representing all the members must be conducted to arrive at the truth. There are research methods using statistics to narrow the risk of the sample not being representative — commonly used and accepted methods. The term employed is “at the 95% or 99% level of significance”. The chance of being wrong is 5% and 1%, relatively. A standard statistical approach.

      CAI does not provide such research data in support of its sampling of members.

      I hope you followed this short course in statistics.

  4. Yes, we would appreciate clean, scientific data. Industry players are not going to want to fund a true survey, though. It doesn’t advance, nor align, with their interests—which are power and money.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: