L’ Observateur’s ONLINE POLL

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 20, 2010

By Robin Shannon


LAPLACE – Results of this week’s L’Observateur online poll show that Louisiana residents will forever be motivated to talk politics, no matter what time of year.

Record numbers of visitors flocked to our Web site to vote on their choice of four candidates running to succeed former Parish President Bill Hubbard. The final tally of 551 votes far surpassed previous reader participation in our online poll.

Throughout the first few days of polling, which began Tuesday, Jan. 12, the results were on par with previous questions. Former St. John Chief Administrative Officer Natalie Robottom had jumped out to an early lead and looked like she would cruise to victory. Then, Thursday evening that began to change.

Current acting CAO Buddy Boe used his online presence to send out messages via Facebook and Twitter asking for friends and followers to vote in the poll. As a result, Boe’s numbers began to soar to more than 300 votes — a true demonstration of the power of social media at work. Boe’s increase in votes, which put him in a commanding lead, produced a trickle down effect that bolstered all of the candidate’s final results. Whether they used similar tactics to “pad their stats” remains to be seen.

The quick increase prompted some readers to suggest that the poll was skewed and should be taken down. L’Observateur does not claim that any of the polls posted to our Web site have any level of scientific merit. The poll is merely used as a conversation starter.

Last week, L’Observateur asked its readers to respond to the question “The special election to choose who will serve out the remainder of former St. John Parish President Bill Hubbard’s term is just over two months away. With four candidates in the race so far, who do you think is the early favorite?”

A full breakdown of the responses follows:

• 59 percent of respondents selected Buddy Boe.

• 30 percent of respondents selected Natalie Robottom.

• 8 percent of respondents selected Gerald Keller.

• 4 percent of respondents selected Richard “Dale” Wolfe.

Next week’s question: The New Orleans Saints’ unprecedented 13-0 start created great expectations for the 2009-10 football season. What, if anything, still needs to happen for it to be considered a successful campaign?

Visit www.lobservateur.com to vote.