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.
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]
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!
[iv] Supra ii.
[v] Supra ii.