Councilmember Hans Riemer (D-At large) said he expected criticism for a poll he put together that sought opinions on Montgomery County’s floundering nightlife scene.
Instead, Riemer said he got enthusiastic responses from people across a wide age spectrum.
Sixty-three percent of the 1,831 respondents said they were married, 61 percent responded that they had at least one child, 48 percent said they were age 50 or older and 53 percent said they had lived in the county for 20 or more years.
“I was really expecting some negative, even hostile response for this. It’s a way of life issue,” Riemer told the Nighttime Economy Task Force on Monday during its meeting in Rockville. “There’s just a lot of enthusiasm for the policy issues being pursued by this group.”
The 48 percent of respondents age 50 or older likely made the median age of respondents significantly higher than the actual median age of the county , which was 39 in 2012 according to the Census Bureau.
That made the results to the survey’s way of life question particularly surprising.
A majority of almost every demographic group said Montgomery County needs to focus on improving dining and entertainment options to improve quality of life and attract younger workers. Overall, 74 percent said that statement is closer to their view.
Twenty-six percent of respondents said the competing statement, that Montgomery is a suburban community and is fine the way it is, is closer to their view.
The results back up the idea that Montgomery is trailing D.C. in Arlington in providing a vibrant nighttime economy. Ten percent of respondents said they would rate the nightlife options in their area as great, with 51 percent younger than the age of 30 rating it as “not very good.”
There were noticeable, if expected, splits in opinion between younger and older people on other questions.
While Bethesda scored on par with D.C. on the question of “Where do you most like to spend time for evening entertainment?” two-thirds of respondents younger than 40 picked D.C. as a favorite night spot.
More than 60 percent of people older than 50 said adequate parking was one of the most important things in picking a place to go out at night. Fewer than 40 percent of people younger than 30 agreed.
The survey also asked about the idea that more grocery stores should sell beer and wine, a topic sure to draw the attention of independent beer and wine shop owners.
More than 1,000 respondents (58 percent) said it’s a problem that needs to be fixed. Thirty-three percent of respondents said it isn’t a big deal.