The votes are in and our readers have spoken! Just after the new year we opened voting in the first Borderstan reader poll of 2012. We asked our followers, “What kind of businesses do you want in Borderstan?”
We gave voters 12 choices plus an “other” category. Voters were allowed to pick as many of the choices as they wanted. The top four choices were about food, coffee, movies and clothes.
Overwhelmingly, the most popular choices called for more dining and entertainment establishments. Leading the list — with more than 15% of all votes cast — was cheap eats/diners. (See the compete list at the end of this story.)
It seems lots of us want an alternative to fine-dining — such as Estadio or Komi — that have come to the Logan and Dupont Circle areas in recent years. Residents may get their wish for cheap eats in the New Year. Just last week, Taylor Gourmet opened a location near 14th and U Streets and a burger joint called Black & Orange is scheduled to open across the street in the coming weeks.
In general, food options were the big winners: 37% of all votes went to just three categories, cheap eats, delis/corner markets and grocery stores; a number of the votes for “Other” were also related to food. In addition, indie coffee shops/cafes garnered 11% of votes cast. Bars and lounges took just 4% of the votes, but movie theaters got 13% of reader votes. The clothing stores option was in double digits with 10%.
In second place was the corner markets/delis option with 13% of all votes. No doubt people want a convenient alternative to the P Street Whole Foods and the 17th Street Safeway. There are a few local independent markets; notably the Best DC Supermarket at 1507 U Street. We should see some more options in the future. It was recently mentioned that Trader Joe’s might take the ground floor retail space of the apartment building planned for the southwest corner of 14th and U Streets.
Readers were also interested in seeing a movie theatre in the area (13% of votes), an alternative to going to the multiplex at Gallery Place or Georgetown. While one comment pointed out that the chances of that are slim, there is a short-term option to take in a first run movie here in Borderstan. The landmark Lincoln Theatre in the 1200 block of U Street will be showing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo until January 18.
Rounding out the top four choices, were votes for indie coffee shops/cafes (11%). This one is not a surprise since we have just recently lost a few such establishments. Last year Mid City Cafe closed its doors, and both Love Cafe and Artfully Chocolate (ACKC) announced closings within two weeks of each other (although both have other locations that will remain open).
Fortunately, we still have several independent options including Java House, Steam Cafe, Dolcezza and Filter in the Dupont area and Peregrine Espresso, Pitango, U Street Cafe and Cafe Collage in the Logan and U Street area.
The only other choice to make it into the double digits was clothing stores (10%).
Whatever your vote may have been, remember to support your local businesses. The closings of several Borderstan favorites in recent months underscores the risks local retailer face in an increasingly expensive real estate market.
What kind of businesses do readers want?
- Cheap eats/diners: 15%
- Small delis/corner markets: 13%
- Movie theaters: 13%
- Indie coffee shops/cafes: 11%
- Clothing stores: 10%
- Grocery stores: 9%
- Gift stores: 6%
- Other: 6%
- Pet supply/grooming/day care places: 4%
- Bars/nightclubs/lounges: 4%
- Children’s stores: 3%
- Office supply stores: 3%
- Furniture stores: 2%
Mary Burgan has column today on D.C.’s laws regarding bikes on sidewalks: Bikes and Sidewalks: Time to Update D.C.’s Laws? The current law allows them outside the downtown business corridor — which begins south of Massachusetts Avenue NW.
Should the laws be updated to prohibit bikes on all sidewalks in the Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods? Or should bikes be banned only from commercial corridors, such as 17th, 14th, U and P Streets NW? Another option: no bikes on sidewalks where there is a bike lane on the street. For example, Q, R and 14th Streets NW have bike lanes — but they are not two-way lanes next to curb like the one on 15th.
Or should the current set of rules for bikes on sidewalks be maintained?
Has the neighborhood changed so much, with additional residents and foot traffic, that it’s time to rethink bikes on sidewalks in the area?
The historically gay neighborhood in D.C. was, for decades, Dupont Circle. But the recognized center of the neighborhood within Dupont shifted over the years. Decades ago it was Connecticut Avenue and P Street west of the Circle. In the 1980s it began shifting to 17th Street, on the eastern end of Dupont.
Today 17th Street is still pretty much recognized as D.C.’s “gay Main Street” — only a few blocks from the Logan Circle neighborhood.
Is the Logan Circle area the new Dupont Circle when it comes to all things gay? Is 17th Street NW still the city’s gay Main Street? The gay neighborhood certainly seems to move a little farther east each year–and south and north as well.
Or, one might ask, “Does D.C. still have a single gay neighborhood?” Or even, “Does the D.C. gay community need one?”
Two of our 13 city council members are openly gay, we are one of the first “states” in the country to have same-sex marriage and members of the LGBT community increasingly move to all parts of the city.
What do you think?
We ran the same poll last year during Pride week and after voting closes for this year’s poll, we’ll compare the results. Here’s our 2011 poll.
Last week’s Borderstan Reader Poll asked, How many foreign countries have you visted? Not surprisingly, residents of Dupont-Logan-U Street are a well-traveled bunch. Still, it is amazing to see just how well-traveled survey respondents are (it would be interesting to compare them to all Americans).
Like cousin Cathy in the Patty Duke Show (1965), our readers appear to have “been most everywhere, from Zanzibar to Berkeley Square.”
Take this week’s reader poll in the right column of the Borderstan home page: Your take on the revamped 2-way bike lane on 15th St.?
Only 1% of survey takers said they had never been outside the United States. At the other extreme, a whopping 26% said they had been to 21 countries or more. Full results of last week’s poll are below.
Respondents of last week’s survey said:
- 0 countries: 1%
- 1 to 5 countries: 21%
- 6 to 10 countries: 18%
- 11 to 15 countries: 18%
- 16 to 20 countries: 16%
- 21-plus countries: 26%
Last week’s Borderstan Reader Poll asked, What do you eat? Respondents said:
- I eat everything: 70%
- I’m a vegetarian: 12%
- Only seafood: 9%
- No red meat (yes to chicken & fish): 5%
- I’m a vegan: 3%
- Other: 1%
Check out this week’s reader poll in the right column of the Borderstan home page: How many foreign countries have you visited?
Online polls are not reliable; they are easily manipulated and you cannot determine the validity of the sample. We know that, but we like to run them because they’re fun and you do get some insights into your readers.
I do think you are more likely to get somewhat accurate information when you ask noncontroversial questions, such as, “What neighborhood do you live in?”
But when it comes to political races or controversial social and political issues, online political polls are, by nature, prone to “bombing.” By bombing, I mean that supporters of candidates and causes are likely to steer their people toward the poll.
We ran two reader polls on the DC mayoral race this year and we didn’t seem to see too much bombing by supporters of either Adrian Fenty or Vincent Gray. It will be interesting to see how local precincts end up voting on September 14 compared to what our readers told us. (We’re not counting on being particularly accurate.)
On Friday, August 20, we ran a reader poll on the landing page, Ward 1 Democrats: Who’s your choice for Council?, with an accompanying article. The poll choices were Jim Graham, Jeff Smith, Bryan Weaver, “Undecided even though I know the candidates,” and “Undecided: Who are these guys?”
What ended up being most interesting about our reader poll on the Ward 1 Council race wasn’t the poll results–it was the effective use of social media (Facebook and Twitter) by two scrappy campaigns fighting to get all the attention and publicity they can muster against a three-term incumbent. Yes, this type of thing is common. But this was an interesting example of how it’s done.
Through Tuesday the 23rd a total of 93 readers had voted. It was obvious that the Weaver campaign had found the poll: he got 77 of those first 93 votes. Incumbent Graham–who is heavily favored to win on September 14–had 9 votes and Smith had 2 votes. (The D.C. Wire at The Washington Post reported that Graham campaign did a July poll showing him getting 68%.)
Then on Wednesday the 25th, much larger numbers of Weaver supporters found the online poll and began voting for their guy. By Thursday the 26th Smith supporters were in the game and the number of people voting for these two candidates soared. Smith took the lead for a day but then Weaver got it back.
By the time we closed the poll Monday night, 861 readers (many of them undoubtedly not regular Borderstan readers) had voted in the Ward 1 Council poll. The results were Weaver 52%, Smith 43%, Graham 4%, and Undecided 1%.
What happened? First, local blogger Dave Stroup picked up the poll on Twitter and began commenting about it (Stroup writes about DC politics for We Love DC and Greater Greater Washington). Then, supporters of both Weaver and Smith began tweeting about the poll, posting on Facebook (and undoubtedly sending emails). My question at the time on Twitter and Facebook was, “Where are the Graham supporters?” For whatever reason, the Graham campaign decided not to drive local supporters to our reader poll. Of course, when you are the heavy favorite, you don’t feel the need to participate in online reader polls.
So, on September 14 we will be watching the results of the Democratic Primary in Ward 1 for the Council seat… to see how Graham, Smith and Weaver do. And we will keep running reader polls at Borderstan because they are often interesting and you snapshots of your readers–with varying degrees of accuracy.
Vincent Orange’s road map to victory on September 14 probably doesn’t run through the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Orange, who is running for DC Council Chairman, got only 9% (with leaners) of reader votes in this week’s Borderstan poll. The easy winner among Borderstan readers was Councimember Kwame Brown with 66%, including leaners.
Orange, a former member of the DC Council from Ward 5, is the underdog, citywide, against Brown–all bets are on Brown to win.
The number of undecideds in the poll was 25%–with 17% checking “Undecided: Who are these guys?” Obviously, one in six readers have no idea who Brown or Orange are or their positions.
- Strongly for Kwame Brown – 54%
- Leaning toward Kwame Brown – 12%
- Strongly for Vincent Orange – 3%
- Leaning toward Vincent Orange – 6%
- Undecided: Who are these guys? – 17%
- Undecided even though I know the candidates – 8%
Note to newcomers: The chairman of the DC Council is the 13th member of the Council. Eight members are elected from wards and four more are elected at large.
Take the new reader poll: DC Democrats: Who’s your choice for Council Chairman? It’s in the right nav bar.
We like running reader polls here at Borderstan even though we know they are unscientific. Plus, the ones related to elections are prone to “poll bombing” from people besides our regular readers. So we take the results with a grain of salt and enjoy finding out something about you and the people who visit us every day.
We just closed a poll this morning, “What’s your level of education?” and the high education levels of respondents were not surprising. We have a good idea of how well educated people are in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area: 40% of readers said they have a Bachelor’s Degree and another 58% have some sort of advanced degree.
But, the 19% who say they have a law degree did take us by surprise; even for this part of DC, the number seems astounding. DC has a reputation as a city full of lawyers and we have numerous friends, neighbors and acquitances who can put an Esquire after their names.
But, almost one in five of our readers are lawyers? Maybe lawyers are simply more likely to take online reader polls. One wonders.
Even the one-third of respondents who said they have a Master’s Degree and the 5% who claim a PhD did not shock us compared to the number of lawyers in the neighborhood.
Reader Poll Results
A total of 216 Borderstan readers answered the poll, “What’s your level of education?”
- Bachelor’s Degree: 40%
- Master’s Degree: 33%
- JD (law degree): 18%
- PhD: 5%
- LLD (doctor of laws): 1%
- MD: 1%
- Associate’s Degree: 1%
- High School Diploma: 1%
UPDATE: Poll closes today, July 30.
We have a new reader poll up this week for DC Democrats: Who’s your choice for mayor in the September 14 Democratic Primary?
Are you for the incumbent, Adrian Fenty… or challenger Vincent Gray? Undecided?
How about bringing back former Mayor Anthony Williams? We thought it would be fun to throw in an unusual option since Borderstan has heard a number of people say, “I don’t like either choice.” While it is too late for Williams to qualify for the September 14 ballot, he could go the write-in route either in the primary or the November 2 general election.
The poll is on the home page in the right navigation bar.
The results of a similar Borderstan reader poll in late April had Fenty at 49%, Gray at 26% and 21% undecided. The Ward 2 Democrats in conjunction with the Logan Circle Community Association are holding a forum and straw poll on Wednesday, July 21 (both candidates have been invited). Doors open at 7 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.
Last week’s reader poll asked, “Are you an immigrant?” It turns out that about one in four of the Borderstan readers who responded is an immigrant, 24% to be exact. More specifically, 14% of poll respondents are naturalized citizens and 10% are legal residents. In addition, 17% have at least one parent who is an immigrant.
A 2006 estimate put the number of immigrants in the DC metro area at one million in a metro-area population of 5.1 million, almost 20%. In DC, there are an estimated 75,000 immigrants out of 600,000 people, about 13%. These numbers compare to the U.S. population where a 2007 estimate put the number of foreign-born at 37 million, about 12% percent of the population.
Here is the breakdown from responses to our reader poll:
Are you an immigrant?
- No, native born: 58%
- No, but one or both my parents are: 17%
- Yes, a naturalized citizen: 14%
- Yes, a resident of the U.S.: 10%
- No, a foreigner just visiting: 1%
Last week’s mystery city is Valparaiso, Chile–the top choice of 26% of voters in our reader poll. Kudos to the reader who clicked on the enlarged image and found the Chilean flag in the lower-right hand corner of the photo.
Of the additional eight choices in the poll, there was a tie for second place: Naples, Italy… Copenhagen, Denmark… and Halifax, Nova Scotia, each got 14% of readers’ votes.
We will have another mystery city photo tomorrow with the identify revealed on Friday.
The reader poll is still open, but the results from around 200 Borderstan readers are in on “How Do You Get to Work?” Close to one-half of our readers use human muscle to commute, either by walking (39%) or cycling (6%). One-third (34%) use some combination of Metro–bus, subway or a combination thereof. Only 13% drive a car to work and 3% work at home. Full results below.
- Walk: 39%
- Metro (subway): 20%
- Car: 13%
- Bus: 12%
- Bicycle: 6%
- I work at home: 3%
- Bus and metro combo: 2%
- Scooter or motorcycle: 1%
- Commuter train: 1%
- Other: 1%
We ran a reader opinion poll last Wednesday, “Poll: Grade DC’s Snow Removal Efforts this Winter.” We asked readers to grade the city’s snow removal efforts for the entire winter:
How did the DC Government do in its efforts to remove snow from the city’s streets this winter? When giving your grade, consider the December snowstorm as well as the back-to-back storms in February that comprised Snowpocalypse.
A total of 129 readers responded. The city got Excellent or Good marks from 34% of readers while 41% gave Poor/Failing marks. In the middle were 25% of readers who gave the DC government a fair mark for snow removal efforts. Here is how Borderstan readers graded the effort:
- A/Excellent – 8%
- B/Good – 26%
- C/Fair – 26%
- D/Poor – 25%
- F/Fail – 15%