PHILADELPHIA–February 22, 2018–Beginning last Wednesday, February 14th, the Philly GOP ran a week-long Facebook poll gauging its followers initial views of the city’s proposed, safe drug injection sites. In addition to being circulated organically via the party’s Facebook page and 6131 followers, the poll was boosted via the platform’s advertising programs. Parameters set for those reached by the poll included geotargeting users in the Philadelphia metro area likely to engage with all three categories of political content including liberal, moderate and conservative.
Reaching 7087 people, the poll returned 327 responses to the question, “Do you support safe drug injection sites, as proposed to be implemented here in Philadelphia?” Overwhelmingly, respondents said no, they do not approve. The final tally was 287 persons (or 87%) voting in disagreement with the proposal and 42 persons (13%) voting in agreement with the proposal.
Statement from RCC Chairman Michael Meehan:
“We decided to run the unofficial poll after noticing a sharp jump in engagement on articles we posted across our social media channels pertaining to the city’s plan for safe drug injection sites. These articles received hundreds sometimes more than a thousand click-throughs, comments and reactions, whereas engagement by our followers is typically lower on other topics we present via local and national news. It seemed to be a potential hot-button issue for Philadelphia and surrounding area residents. So we took it a step further and directly asked users for their opinions. I can’t say that I was surprised at the response. Councilwoman, Quiñones-Sánchez, whose district includes Kensington, at the heart of the opioid crisis, has even voiced concerns over the proposed program.
I don’t think city officials interested in this program have done much to gauge public opinion on the topic. They seem to be resorting to the ‘government knows best’ strategy, so prevalent amongst radical leftists like Larry Krasner and progressive liberals like Jim Kenney. However, the thing to remember is that these ‘safe spaces’ for drug use will need to be set-up in someone’s community. Considering it’s a novel program and Philadelphia is a figurative, ‘national guinea pig,’ I think that residents deserved to be consulted, and extensively, before any of the moves already made toward setting up this program.
Furthermore, State Attorney General Shapiro, a Democrat, also opposes the program, characterizing it as illegal and also expressing wariness over the idea that there is any safe way at all to inject heroin. It’s a bit of an oxymoron to me as well. The sites pose a clear threat to rule of law, while simultaneously we have no official public opinion polls on whether or not law-abiding residents perceive these sites as being forced into their communities, where they are trying to deal with their own safety as well as that of their children and grandchildren. This is a ‘not in my backyard’ issue where we need to honestly wonder how likely it is that these sites will end up in the backyards of Larry Krasner or Mayor Jim Kenney.
Philadelphia’s current leadership seems to lack a clear understanding of the American ideals of Liberty and Democracy, which includes the ability for local residents themselves to exercise some control over the health and safety of their own communities. This runs quite contrary to a system where government uses its own citizens as guinea pigs, while not even having the decency to conduct formal, proactive outreach to garner their feelings on the topic-at-hand, in advance,” said Michael Meehan, Chairman of the Republican Party of Philadelphia.