Island Life Survey Thoughts Part One

Last summer, Nantucket Data Platform, with the support of ReMain Nantucket, launched the Island Life Survey. The results offer great insights on community values that are based on a robust method and are weighted to the population to reflect the community as a whole. A few data points jumped out at us and either surprised us or confirmed some things we had only known to be true in our gut up until now. 

One key takeaway: people on Nantucket are passionate about local issues. 84% of men are either passionate or very passionate. 89% of women are passionate or very passionate. 

It’s great to hear the community feels so strongly about local issues. Especially considering that the pace of change in our lives can be overwhelming at times. 

But this data point also raised a few questions. The most obvious one is if everyone on the island is so passionate, why don’t we see more voter engagement? Less than 10% of registered voters on Nantucket go to Annual Town Meeting and only around 25% vote in local elections. (In contrast, 55% of voters nationwide participated in the last presidential election.) It’s clear there are roadblocks to overcome between our passionate community and public engagement, and as an organization, we hope to help remove a few of them.

Another question: If people are so passionate, what are the top issues that truly matter to them? The survey questions begin to address opinions on traffic and parking, overdevelopment and the challenges that come with growth. 

Also, looking only at the “strongly agree” results for the prompt, “I am passionate about local issues” (61% for women, 25% for men) it’s interesting to note that women are much more passionate than men on this question. Maybe women are impacted more by local issues? Maybe men are just uncomfortable talking about their feelings? (Gee, you think?) Either way, the recent surge in women running for public office at all levels, especially locally, might be a by-product of this difference and is a positive sign.

Ultimately, it has been the passion of the community that helped create ACK•Now in the first place. We believe if we can harness this passion and apply it to the right solutions, Nantucket can accomplish nearly anything. 

We would like to take a moment to commend ReMain Nantucket and The Nantucket Data Platform for taking on this important research. The more we know, the smarter our decisions as a community can be. 

Have a great Sunday.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *