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jrsva

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Virginia

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Message Posted: Oct 5, 2009 11:38:00 PM

In a topic titled Suggest an Opinion Poll Question, a group of members work out the details of the weekly polls that appear here on GasBuddy. From time to time we have discussed various aspects of the results of past polls. Since that can get in the way of editing the next one, this new topic was created.

The idea is to be able to discuss any past poll, or a combination of past polls, with the idea of improving future polls. The focus here is on the construction of the polls and on their statistical significance or effectiveness, not on any individual result. Each poll has its own discussion thread and all can be found on the Past Polls page. If you want to discuss the issues addressed by the polls, please do it in those threads, not here.
 

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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Mar 25, 2014 12:26:16 AM

We missed the fact the same question was asked less than a year ago:

Poll 2013 #15

Should motorcycle riders be required to use a helmet?
Yes, all 69%
Yes, minors and/or new riders 11%
No 15%
No opinion 3%
Total votes: 23482

[Edited by: bugc at 3/25/2014 12:26:40 AM EST]
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Mar 24, 2014 6:55:30 AM

"One of the comments was that one drives with two hands all the time unless they don't have a hand. You cannot leave one of your hands at home."

Could be an amputee.
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jmdeng
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Mar 24, 2014 12:43:23 AM

For the motorcycle helmet, it just occurred to me that splitting the no answer into "No, I ride" and "No I don't ride" would have given me an idea if the Nos were just predominantly riders who didn't want to be inconvenienced.
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Zimcity
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Feb 27, 2014 9:21:50 AM

"We probably should have indicated if we were talking about having both hands on the steering wheel, or something else... "

I never even thought about shifting gears for manual transmission users. duh.
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 23, 2014 10:11:25 AM

We probably should have indicated if we were talking about having both hands on the steering wheel, or something else...
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ziyulu
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Feb 23, 2014 9:29:00 AM

One of the comments was that one drives with two hands all the time unless they don't have a hand. You cannot leave one of your hands at home.
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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Feb 16, 2014 12:41:35 PM

snow tires: kind of a regional question isnt it?
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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Feb 10, 2014 8:19:30 AM

Speed traps: Pretty even responses on this poll. It was a good one. Anybody ever flashed when there WASN'T a trap to encourage people to slow down anyway?
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Zimcity
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Dec 28, 2013 6:50:29 PM

Considering it was a poll on peak prices, it seems more logical to base the ranges on that, doesn't it?

Not sure why they couldn't run separate polls based on a user's home site, other than programming it.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Dec 28, 2013 12:38:45 AM

Zim, I agree completely that the US and Canada should be polled separately on this sort of thing. That is not going to happen so we do the best we can with what they give us.

I thought it was unfortunate that there was not a lower range than what was offered. That would have split up the relatively large vote for the first range.

Zim, I was not “looking at the ranges incorrectly.” It is just that I would have preferred to see the poll based on changes from current prices and you wanted it to reflect historical peaks. Either way would be valid but, sadly, it does not meet either criterion very well as presented.

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Zimcity
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Dec 26, 2013 8:44:05 AM

"The current US average is approximately $3.23/gal while the Canadian average is about 123¢/L. The bottom limit of $3.50 for the US represents an increase of 8.4% while the bottom limit of 130¢ for Canada is an increase of 5.7%. I have no idea if this will actually skew the results but one would expect Canadians to vote slightly higher on the scale than US members. The Mods probably can separate US and Canadian votes but the general membership is not allowed to see such data. PD also introduced gaps between the ranges, which is bad poll construction but is unlikely to affect the results."

I think you are looking at the ranges incorrectly when taken into context of historical peaks for the US vs. Canada. If anything the Canadian ranges are not low enough, as the last 3 years have all been within the 2nd tier, while the US peak has been in the 4th or 3rd. I think it is difficult to construct one poll for two distinct measures. They would really need to have a separate Canadian poll to have legitimate responses.

What this poll is showing, is respondents are either overly optomistic or not recalling the cyclical nature of gas prices or both.

[Edited by: Zimcity at 12/26/2013 8:45:06 AM EST]
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Dec 24, 2013 12:43:32 AM


Yeah, good point. He's probably going to write a blog comparing the poll results to what actually happens. I doubt that they pay much attention to the poll in most cases.
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RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Dec 23, 2013 6:50:59 AM

I understand the concept of public opinion polls. I was just curious what a "senior petroleum analyst" intends to do with price information derived from GB member opinions?

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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Dec 23, 2013 12:37:25 AM

Rich, I do not understand what you meant by “measured or analyzed by public opinion.”
This is a simple poll asking where one thinks gas prices will go in the next year. The interesting thing is how nearly equal the votes are for the various ranges. The group is leaning toward no great increases coming up; we’ll see how it works out.
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ziyulu
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Dec 22, 2013 9:17:22 AM

RichWLIN, it's called a future prediction. Experts do it all the time. We are not saying anyone's guess is right or not. And we cannot laugh at someone who thinks prices will go to $10 per gallon.
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RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Dec 22, 2013 6:43:39 AM

I fail to see how this latest poll can be measured or analyzed by public opinion?
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Dec 22, 2013 12:13:28 AM

When PD picked up the current poll, he lowered the high-low limits for the US price ranges but did not change the Canadian price limits that the poll committee had set; hence, the six ranges for Canadian prices do not have the same relationship to today’s national averages as do the US price ranges.

The current US average is approximately $3.23/gal while the Canadian average is about 123¢/L. The bottom limit of $3.50 for the US represents an increase of 8.4% while the bottom limit of 130¢ for Canada is an increase of 5.7%. I have no idea if this will actually skew the results but one would expect Canadians to vote slightly higher on the scale than US members. The Mods probably can separate US and Canadian votes but the general membership is not allowed to see such data. PD also introduced gaps between the ranges, which is bad poll construction but is unlikely to affect the results.

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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Dec 2, 2013 9:51:09 PM

Thanks, jrsva.

I suppose the Canadians could harken back to whatever they did for their Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, and add that to their Christmas plans?

The way it was worded and timed, it never occurred to me to think about Christmas and New Years. But I guess it fits.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Dec 2, 2013 12:01:16 AM

The Mods have run that holiday-travel poll every year and the results are virtually identical each year, certainly within the margin of error. I don’t think they are learning anything from it unless there is a really major change in fuel prices.

SUV, I would count multiple airport runs as long as they are enabling holiday events, not business travel, etc. The other question is, what is meant by “holiday” in this instance? I interpret it to mean the holiday season, Thanksgiving (US) thru New Year’s Day. Some probably took it to mean just Thanksgiving. I don’t know what the Canadians made of it, since their Thanksgiving was back in October. The poll committee tries hard to give Canada an equal shake; the Mods not so much.

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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Dec 1, 2013 9:04:06 PM

I just checked to see if the new poll was up yet but upon re reading last week's poll, realized I had not considered trips back and forth to the airport as part of my driving for holiday gatherings this year.

The gatherings I was attending would be held in the same place, but I had to make two trips back and forth to an airport so others could attend, which would increase my holiday travel a lot if it counted.

These "how much will/did you travel" polls repeat every year, and I know often the site mandates them, but I wonder what others who work on the polls think should "count" as holiday travel?
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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Oct 2, 2013 12:18:41 PM

I thought the "if" was fine. It made the question completely conditional, based on the assumption that followed. I think the vast majority of GBs could have handled it.

Some who opted for "no military action" likely did so based on their complete distrust of or blind faith in the President. The former laughed at him when he dug the hole with his "bright line" speech and never believed he would make good -- even when he said action was imminent -- but IF he did, they would have thought he'd lob a couple of cruise missiles toward a couple of "targets", declare the operation a success and be done in a day or two. The latter couldn't bring themselves to believe he might really pull the trigger, but IF he did, they would have feared the worst --
we'll find ourselves in another "quagmire" -- and taken the longest choice.

At some point, if the group really thought that many GBs were incapable of handling the assumption, a "no opinion" option would have been superior. The percentages for each varying duration would have been more meaningful.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Sep 27, 2013 1:25:22 AM

As I said earlier, we should have removed the “if” and revised the question but it should have been obvious to all that those who do not agree with the “if” must have some sort of answer to choose or they will forfeit their 100 points for this poll. Just imagine the furor if there were only the four time frames and no answer for those who felt that military action was not going to happen. The discussion forum would have been overloaded with “It ain’t going to happen so how can I vote on this thing” and similar comments.

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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Sep 25, 2013 11:00:54 AM

Had I commented in the thread, I, too, would have said, "no military action" does not answer the question.

Essentially, this poll asks two questions: Do you believe the US will take military action against Syria and, if you do, how long do you believe it will last?

The opinion regarding the duration of a potential conflict of those who believe we will sit it out is not represented in the poll.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Sep 22, 2013 11:54:31 AM

At this time there are 4800 votes but only 120 comments in the discussion forum, 2.5%.

Some folks are saying that “No military action” does not answer the question. That is technically true but there had to be some answer available for those who cannot answer “how long” because they think it will not start. I suppose we should have taken the “if” out of the question. I counted 6 out of the 120 comments that addressed this issue.

I counted 15 comments saying that the poll is inappropriate for GB, three of which I quoted earlier. I tried to count the political-troll comments but it was hard to decide where to draw the line between reasonable political discourse and true troll comments.

Here are three from the trolls —
“The incompetent liar better leave it alone!”
“[M]aybe one of the ‘other’ side will remove nobama from the equation.”
“Putin has played this bozo like a violin; nobama doesn't like confrontation.”

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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Sep 22, 2013 11:23:05 AM

“There are about a zillion places to discuss this type of question. I see no reason for something like this at this site.”

“how is this even remotely a gas buddy question ??”

“Why all this saber-ratteling [sic], GB / JT?”

A few comments in line with our advice to the Mods. Still, I’m surprised that there are not a lot more like this and surprised at how few political-troll comments there are.

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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Sep 22, 2013 10:17:18 AM

Actually, I see a lot of what I expected -- complaining about this poll and last weeks poll being improper polls for the board.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Sep 22, 2013 12:33:27 AM


I figured the political hacks would be out in force in “If military action is taken against Syria, in what time frame....” After 300 votes there are only 4 comments and only one of those is political. Stay tuned.
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jerry972
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Message Posted: Aug 29, 2013 9:04:53 PM

I would think the people without natural gas available anywhere near them would either answer "No and I would like to" or "No and am glad of it".

jrsva is entitled to his opinion but I believe the intrinsic safety of natural gas appliances (through pilotless ignitions, flame-out shutoffs, and the like) has increased significantly over the past 53 years. For example, I don't have a pilot light anywhere in my house now, whereas we had at least 7 in the house I lived in as a kid, but I have more natural gas appliances now than then.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 27, 2013 11:58:14 PM

SUV, a simple “yes/no” on the natural-gas poll would miss the entire point of the poll IMO. You may blame me for promoting that poll. I have been interested in how people feel about NG. I grew up with it and never gave it much thought. Then I started seeing or hearing about homes blowing up from gas leaks. Three homes blew up within a short period of time just after I moved to PA in 1960. My vote was for “No and I’m glad of it.”

Why does it have to be economically feasible for gas to be piped to one’s home in order to have an opinion on the virtues/dangers of gas? What is wrong with wishing for something you cannot have?

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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Aug 25, 2013 10:43:19 AM

This week's poll about natural gas in the home leaves a group with no choice. Natural gas is simply not available to many folks. Some may wish they had access, some may be glad, but I'd guess many don't have a viewpoint. I think the question would have been better as a straight up yes/no.

I also suspect that many who "wish" they had it don't understand why they don't. In low density rural areas, the cost of installing a pipeline system would be absolutely incredible.
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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Aug 12, 2013 6:47:43 PM

amazing eh?I have never bumped anybody hard enough to know how I would handle that situation. I might very well find that I am a low-life. But I have hit bumper-to-bumper in the past, done nothing about it, and have no bad conscience about that.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 12, 2013 5:17:55 AM

Regarding the August 11 poll, I have had cars that have been hit in parking lots at least 4 times. Apparently I have the rotten luck to consistently get hit by the 6% of people who drive away.

[Edited by: Scrapheap at 8/12/2013 5:18:47 AM EST]
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jerry972
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Message Posted: Jul 7, 2013 1:10:46 PM

Wow, we seem to have found the one point of widespread altruism left in North America - organ donation. I thought the percentage of yes was going to be much, much lower. I am thrilled to be wrong.

[Edited by: jerry972 at 7/7/2013 1:12:27 PM EST]
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Zimcity
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Jul 3, 2013 10:01:40 AM

OK thanks jrsva, though there's a difference between a bad idea and unsuitable for their vehicles.

Since my vehicle runs fine on the required E-10 I was surprised by your perception.

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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jul 3, 2013 12:55:26 AM

You’re right Bug, 20-20 hindsight, but who would have thought that those who do not use gasoline at all would choose an answer other than “NA”? Sometimes we beat these questions to death while other times we let something slip thru that could have been clarified. Our mandate to keep things concise makes it harder to be specific.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jul 3, 2013 12:44:39 AM

Zim asked why I think that most folks here think E10 is bad. I based that on numerous comments in these forums and on our poll (2013-06) last February, where 65% said that E10 is a bad idea. Jerry is right that the most vocal write comments but the poll is clear that 65% voted “no” while only 18% said E10 was a good idea.

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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Jul 2, 2013 9:55:27 AM

Another poll that could have been done better....

I would have preferred being more explicit with the answer
NA (Diesel, EV,etc.)

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Zimcity
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Jul 1, 2013 10:17:21 AM

"I assume the diesel-user's response was "NA." That is what that answer choice was intended for, only with EVs and other non-gasoline vehicles."

I think the proper response for Diesel users would be No.

" Most folks on this site seem to feel that E10 is unsuitable for their vehicles."

What do you base your comment on?
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jerry972
Champion Author Denver

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Message Posted: Jun 30, 2013 1:48:03 PM

I think the really vocal people who post are the ones who don't want E10. While some of their arguments make sense, I suspect that, out the 15000 people who vote in the poll, the majority don't care so long as their vehicle runs.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jun 30, 2013 11:19:31 AM

I assume the diesel-user's response was "NA." That is what that answer choice was intended for, only with EVs and other non-gasoline vehicles.

I'm actually surprised that the percentage for "no" is not higher. Most folks on this site seem to feel that E10 is unsuitable for their vehicles.
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SUVFan
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Message Posted: Jun 30, 2013 10:10:09 AM

I didn't look at the comments for last week's poll, but I did wonder if very many might take photos to remember the prices? I suppose that might stretch to "writing them down".

For this week, I was surprised to see more than half opine that E15 would not work in their car. Before answering, my guess was 15-41-41-0. I was intentionally estimating the "it won't work" option as high as I could imagine and still ended up over 10 points low.

I thought it was an excellent question.
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ziyulu
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Jun 30, 2013 7:03:22 AM

One person said,

NO - I use diesel. They don't mix

I guess we could have had a separate option for diesel users.
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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Jun 27, 2013 6:53:30 PM

Good point, SM.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jun 24, 2013 8:12:35 AM

And don't forget there are a lot of app only posters out there who never see these polls.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jun 24, 2013 12:31:57 AM

Ah but the question asks “usually.” So which do you do more often — post immediately or memorize and post later?

When I check my two local stations I just take note of whether anything has changed. I can easily remember “no change” but if there are new prices I use a digital voice recorder. The latter is my usual method, what I do whenever I am on the road and collecting prices for many stations.

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ziyulu
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Jun 23, 2013 10:10:54 AM

Here is a response from the discussion...

Another survey where more than one of the above would be the best choice.

If I can SAFELY post immediately with my iPhone, I will do so. Otherwise I try to remember them and post using either my iPad or iPhone when I reach my destination. Very easy to memorize when prices haven't changed for several weeks now.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jun 18, 2013 1:21:55 AM

I like Bug’s answer; makes sense in hindsight but I sure did not think of it on my own.
I’m sure the Mods have access to all manner of interesting data on site use. Too bad they do not take an interest in sharing with the membership. Most members probably do not care but a few of us have an interest in how this place works.
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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Jun 15, 2013 10:33:46 AM

What we're seeing is that, most likely, just over a quarter come here almost exclusively to check prices.

It would really be interesting if there were a way for us to track how that changes, but I guess that would require one of us to know someone in the Administration, or at least the NSA.
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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Jun 14, 2013 11:28:51 AM

Yes, it is amazing how the voting has changed. I abstained and then predicted I would have been very wrong had I posted a prediction. It turns out I would have done very well if I had posted.

I expect the shift is easily explained. Those who post frequently will submit their poll answers at the beginning of the week. Those who visit the website infrequently will tend to answer more randomly through the week, moving the averages toward the infrequent end of the spectrum. I cannot recall another poll that carries this built-in bias.

I haven't tracked the total vote across a week for a long time, but it would be a good indicator of how many visit the site frequently vs infrequently. We could assume an equal probability of answering the poll on any visit (not quite true), and get an idea of how many don't visit the site until the end of the week.

Maybe we need a similar poll asking "How often do you visit the GB website?"
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Jun 11, 2013 11:53:13 PM

Plastic, I would count that instance; you saw problems coming and changed plans before it became a full-blown disaster. I suspect that is a common situation. I think we put “declared” in the question in an attempt to limit it to major events. Of course everyone will interpret it to suit themselves. I answered “never” because I could not recall any such instance; if there was any such it was long years ago.

On the current poll about posting prices, I’m amazed how much the numbers are changing as the votes add up. “Every day” started out in the 80s and has dwindled down to 43% while “never” started out at 0, then 2% and has now worked up to 10%, with others making similar excursions. Generally, once a few hundred votes are cast the numbers change only a little and virtually not at all after a couple of thousand. Interesting but I can’t think of a reason for it.

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