Ocean City Today

Agency stands by resort survey

Readers' Forum
Nov 30, 2017



printed 12/01/2017



In his Nov. 24 letter, Mr. Rick Buterbaugh refers to a scientific survey my firm conducted at the direction of the tourism commission as “ridiculous.”

He claims that 7,000 responses is not a meaningful sample and not so subtly implies that the results are biased to support some preordained position of the mayor.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

At no time did any member of the tourism commission, town elected officials or staff express any desire for the survey to reach any conclusion.  In fact, the original impetus of the survey was to get an objective view of visitor’s feelings of safety in town because of recent incidents.

We received a total of 6,783 responses from Ocean City visitors (local residents were excluded). Based on an estimated Ocean City visitor population of 8 million people (including those that come more than once), the survey results have a 1.2 percent margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level.

For comparison, the “gold standard” for margin of error is 3 percent.

A 1.2 percent margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level means that if the study were repeated for the same population, statistically 95 times out of 100, the results would on average fall within +/- 1.2 percent.

​If we assume that the unique number of visitors is lower than 8 million, the margin of error is actually stronger than 1.2 percent.

I hope this clears up any misconceptions about the survey’s methods and goals.

Andrew Malis


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