Jackson Hole, WY News

Leonard Ross

Debbie Bancroft sits Leonard Ross down Saturday, Jan. 7, for his pre-party haircut. Bancroft routinely made the hourlong drive from the Teton Barber Shop to Ross’s home for a free haircut.

The results are in from the informal, unscientific poll conducted by the Teton Barber Shop each general election since 1982.

Mike Randall, who owns the shop, asked customers to participate in the poll throughout October. But, he said, distribution of the survey was spotty the first week of the month, yielding fewer responses than in past years.

Randall said barbershops provide a good cross-section of voters and a fun way to gather information. In previous election cycles, the poll has been pretty accurate, he said.

“It’s surprising how close it’s been,” Randall said. In 2016, he noted, “We’re somewhere between 90 to 92 percent accurate. It helps to have a wide breadth of customers — from people wearing Birkenstocks to cowboy boots. I’d give it an A-minus.”

In the last midterm election in 2014, the barbershop poll accurately predicted the top vote-getters in 17 of 20 races, including Teton County Board of County Commissioners, Town Council, assessor and U.S. Senate. It did get some wrong, like mayor. In 2016, the poll correctly predicted one of two county commissioner victories and both Town Council victories, but, once again, got the mayor wrong.

Almost everyone getting a haircut participates, Randall said. Some customers take their fake ballots home to read up on candidates and consider, bringing them back completed later.

Randall said that the barbershop doesn’t see as many women as men, which may skew poll results.

“And [people] should know if their candidate looks like he’s lagging behind, they’ve got a week to get out and knock on some doors,” he said.

Among the results of the poll is a very narrow approval of the lodging tax and a tight race for governor. County commission and Town Council races also appear close, according to the poll.

Randall said statewide race results should be taken with a grain of salt since Teton County has a very different partisan makeup than the rest of Wyoming.

Election Day is Nov. 6. Check out Wednesday’s Jackson Hole News&Guide for a comprehensive guide to the candidates, and after you cast your ballot see JHNewsAndGuide.com or #jhvotes for up-to-the-minute election results coverage.

Contact Allie Gross at 732-7063, county@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGcounty.

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(1) comment

John Sinson

This poll with be badly skewed by the fact that people would not tell the truth if they felt they would be judged by their answer. (No on the tax)

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