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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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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Oct 20, 2014 8:13:08 AM

The problem with this driving without lights poll is, if you don't know your lights aren't on, how are you going to vote YES?

Too many votes for NO, I bet that a large portion of those are either unaware YES's or 'automatic lights' people who didn't read down far enough.
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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Oct 14, 2014 7:27:00 AM

"If you were to buy a primary vehicle today, which would you buy?"

Some people seem to have missed the word PRIMARY and chose something other than what meets their primary need/desire.

Those who asked for a hatchback choice I suppose should have chosen sedan/coupe.
Didn't see anyone asking for a 'convertible' choice.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Oct 9, 2014 1:02:00 AM

Areas with extended rush hours (such as DC) would not benefit from tolls or flex-time. Carpooling and telecommuting seem to be the only real help there. So the most effective method (I do like that word) will be dependent on local conditions.

We had a collective lack of vision in designing the speed-trap poll. It started out as a survey question, which we decided to turn into an opinion poll and got it wrong. I agree that we should run A5's poll at some point. I would reword it to: What should government do with the money from traffic fines? So that would cover all fines, not just speeding.

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jerry972
Champion Author Denver

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Message Posted: Oct 8, 2014 7:42:58 PM

a5,

Your alternate question would be a good one to ask. I think it should be put on the list.
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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Oct 8, 2014 8:06:25 AM

I think it was a great poll. I actually had to stop and think about the options. I am one of those people who abhor paying for things that are, or used to be, free. Roads, TV, compressed air for your tires...

The speed-trap poll was bad because of the way it was worded. I don't think anyone on the potential paying end of the speed-trap would agree that the purpose of a speed trap was to generate income for those who are already getting paid by the taxes those same people pay. The whole purpose of fines was to act as a deterrent to people who have done something dangerous. I think a true police officer would prefer that people drive safely, not secretly hope that they break the law so that they can have more income. After all, how much money is a broken law really worth? when no one gets hurt? when someone loses a life? same act - different loss. and who really deserves to be paid when someone does something wrong? the people with power to rule or the people who suffered loss? What about the loss of the offending person's family?

sorry, I digress. The poll should have been something like: "What should law enforcement agencies do with the money from speed-traps (or fines)?"
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Oct 5, 2014 1:50:54 PM

Yep SUVfan, -- I think that the word 'effective' might have been better as it would have taken out "some" of the emotional component to the response.

It was a tough poll to create the options for, and there have been some good responses about better road design (I am seeing some bad design decisions here), and I think some options get short shrift due to poor implementation in their community. Plus, a lot of the options work better in some areas than others.

I have also seen folks avoid a toll road here because they felt the toll was too high. The road was terribly under-utilized and the surface streets and alternative routes didn't get the relief expected. I think places like Houston and Atlanta are a lot different than Tampa even, let alone more rural areas.

[Edited by: TxJeans at 10/5/2014 1:52:31 PM EST]
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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Oct 5, 2014 1:30:13 PM

Exactly, jrsva. It also makes sense that folks who want to drive their vehicles into or around the city for their personal convenience wouldn't want to bear the weight of making that easier. So I suppose other options would be "better" in their view.

I wonder if the results would differ much had we asked, "Which would be most effective"? That's how I interpreted "best" but I now realize others might not view it that way.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Oct 5, 2014 1:24:21 PM


I agree with SVF that rush-hour tolls would help with congestion in many places; however, I have long felt that GB members have a gut dislike for tolls. I predicted that 4% would vote for tolls, thinking that a low number, but I was off by a factor of 2x so far.
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Oct 5, 2014 12:05:38 PM

Seems like a fair number had trouble picking a "best" and felt that it was location dependent and/or requires a multiple-prong approach.
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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Oct 5, 2014 10:20:50 AM

I think it's interesting that only 2% went for rush hour specific tolls in the rush hour poll. I guessed the number would be 5%.

That item would make rush hour commuting more expensive and cause folks to demand many of the other things in the list, such as flexible work schedules. Public transportation usage would increase without improvement. Many folks drive due to the convenience relative to cost. If the cost of driving is increased substantially, many more would choose to ride the bus or the train. That would lead to more funds available for improvements.

When demand for the roads is high, make it cost more to use them. When demand is low, let it cost less.
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Sep 1, 2014 9:43:48 AM

"Have you noticed problems with power equipment (not vehicles) when using ethanol gasoline (E10)?"

Scrapheap: "The ending the the question "when using ethanol gasoline" made it clear."

I totally agree Scrapheap.
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Scrapheap
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 31, 2014 10:31:36 AM

The ending the the question "when using ethanol gasoline" made it clear.
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ziyulu
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Aug 31, 2014 9:10:14 AM

I just realized in the poll, we didn't specify gasoline-powered equipment as there is power equipment that is not gasoline powered.
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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Aug 31, 2014 12:05:31 AM

Snapshot of early results, that I doubt will hold up:

Yes 23%
No 35%
I never use ethanol gasoline 25%
I don’t use power equipment 15%
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 27, 2014 12:53:29 AM

Since the Census Bureau started keeping mobility statistics in 1948, between 12% and 20% of the US population moves to a different house or apartment each year. Mobility has been in the low end of that range in the past few years. GB membership changes over the course of a year as new members join and others drop out. I’m still surprised that there is a difference of only 1% between polls run one year apart.
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jerry972
Champion Author Denver

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Message Posted: Aug 26, 2014 11:22:37 PM

Since most people don't change their houses often, I would expect any results of a query about a feature of one's dwelling to be extremely stable over the response set of several thousand votes.
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 26, 2014 1:19:53 AM

The current poll, 2014-35, is an exact repeat of 2013-35. One would expect similar results but I am surprised at how similar they are:

2013: 14 / 19 / 62 / 2 with 21003 total votes.
2014: 14 / 19 / 63 / 2 with 12747 votes so far.

I’m also amazed at the large majority (>80%) that likes gas, given the number of homes and businesses that blow up and burn down from malfunctioning gas appliances.

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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Aug 26, 2014 1:18:41 AM

“To me, and [sic] active member is one who does anything on the site that earns points.”

How often? Does one have to earn points every day or every week or every month to be considered “active”? If you mean every day, then only those with speed lines behind their cars are “active.” It is a pretty subjective concept. For me, an “active” member is one who does something to earn points several times a week for most weeks. And since price posting is the main thing here, that “something” ought to include price posting on most of those days, not just forum posts and news “reading.” Just my opinion.

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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Aug 20, 2014 7:15:09 AM

To me, and active member is one who does anything on the site that earns points.
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jerry972
Champion Author Denver

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Message Posted: Aug 19, 2014 10:48:26 PM

Sometime after I joined GB, in 2008 or 2009, they expanded the 30 day list to 10000 names from 1000. Back then, you could miss a day or two in a month and still make the top 30 days list. I guess not anymore.

I suspect there are a lot of people out there who may post just on weekdays (as a result of their commute) or just on weekends (because they take a train or subway). In total, it adds up to a lot of additional data even if it is not recognized in a top list.
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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Aug 19, 2014 10:05:07 PM

"Those are all folks who show up every day and post only gas prices."

are you assuming that since the point total is exactly rounded off to a thousand that that means that they 5 prices and nothing else? Is there no other way to get exactly 33,000 points in a 30 day span?

p.s. what do you mean by a bonus weekend? Isn't a 30-day point total just that?

Do you figure that GB cuts the list off at 10,000 names regardless of how many people are at 33,000 and above?
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SUVFan
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Aug 18, 2014 12:08:11 PM

"would you say that there are roughly 20,000 active members"

Taking "active members" to mean in this context members who show up most weeks, I think it's low. The two polls show that 9-12 percent of poll responders say they "never" post gas prices, which is the main function of the site. If they are being truthful and not just grabbing points, that's in the 2,000 range. That makes me think there are far more who post only prices.

One indicator of frequent activity is the 30 day list. The last 4 pages have several thousand plus with exactly 34,000 or 33,000 points starting near the end of page 5. Those are all folks who show up every day and post only gas prices. Normally, 31,000 would be their max for 30 days, but we're coming off bonus weekend, so 34,000 would be tops. None of them are represented in the poll numbers. With that many (and we don't know how many because the 33,000s continue to the end of the last page) posting prices only every day, there have to be a lot more that post prices only on some days.

[Edited by: SUVFan at 8/18/2014 12:08:55 PM EST]
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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Aug 18, 2014 11:53:03 AM

No idea. What is an "active member"?

I would expect a lot of "members" never vote in the poll.
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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Aug 17, 2014 10:08:40 PM

"Interesting the see the "Every day" % is still falling"

bugc, it would make sense that the "every day" number falls since all the every day people would have voted on the first day and the occasional people would have voted the next time they logged in.

on a side note, since all the polls are close to 20,000 votes, would you say that there are roughly 20,000 active members (less a small percentage who don't do the poll)?

Would you also say that it would be a reasonable assumption to say that those same 20,000 people enter the prize draw to any degree (less again a small percentage who don't ever enter the draw)?
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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Jun 28, 2014 12:09:13 AM

Our poll on fuel additives made the news - at least the gas buddy blogs. See it here.
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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Jun 15, 2014 12:57:35 AM

And it now dropped to 39....

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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Jun 14, 2014 12:09:43 AM

Interesting the see the "Every day" % is still falling. At 16997 voting it is now 41%. There are few other questions that would show the distribution of infrequent participants.

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bugc
Champion Author Boston

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Message Posted: Jun 11, 2014 12:19:46 AM

Interesting to note that this weeks question was asked exactly a year ago, with quite different results:

Poll 2013 #24
I post fuel prices on GasBuddy
Every day 38%
Most days 22%
About half 10%
Seldom 15%
Never 12%


Poll 2014 #24
I post fuel prices on GasBuddy
Every day 48%
Most days 20%
About half 8%
Seldom 12%
Never 9%
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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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