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Author Topic: Poll Results Discussion Back to Topics
jrsva

Champion Author
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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Byte_Doctor
Champion Author Akron

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Message Posted: Nov 17, 2014 9:35:03 AM

"6% of people don't post prices? What are they doing here then?"

Socializing and benefitting from the prices posted by the other 94%.
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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Nov 17, 2014 9:18:47 AM

2014 47 When I post prices on GasBuddy I most frequently post:

6% of people don't post prices? What are they doing here then?
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jrsva
Champion Author Virginia

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Message Posted: Nov 13, 2014 12:59:53 AM

None of those who were predicting results this week were very good at it, including me; however, looking back on it, the results seem logical. There were only three categories with significant numbers —

I seriously doubt that ‘savings/investment/retirement’ folks actually moved money into those types of accounts. To me, savings just means that I would have a little more left in my bank account or wallet at the end of the month and I did not spend it on other stuff.

Debt reduction probably means that one paid a few bucks more on the credit-card bill, not that one tried to pay off his mortgage.

There may be some specific uses in the “Other” part of the last answer but I’m guessing that for most of the 45%, ‘nothing in particular’ simply means that the very modest amount gained from lower fuel prices was simply hidden in the month-to-month variability of the family budget and, while appreciated, it could not be assigned to any particular category. That is certainly the case for me. Out of the several thousand dollars that comes and goes every month, an extra ten or twenty bucks is not even noticed. Nothing sad about that. If I was driving to two minimum-wage jobs, trying to make ends meet, it would be important. That’s sad, that folks are in that situation.

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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2014 8:32:13 AM

"You said it was sad that they didn't put their money to (in your view) better use - that implies you are looking down at them as incapable or unwilling to make good financial decisions."

In your opinion that is what it implies. And boy that is a stretch. I never posted anything that said I was looking down on anyone or that anyone was a loser who answered other / nothing in particular. You, TxJeans, made that leap all on your own. And it is 100% incorrect.

"That is your common approach."

And yours is to find something wrong with everything I post.

"Saying it is "sad" that they didn't put their money to better use" is a negative judgement call.................."

In your opinion, TxJeans.

Sorry for tagging along on this derailing, folks.

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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2014 8:21:39 AM

You said it was sad that they didn't put their money to (in your view) better use - that implies you are looking down at them as incapable or unwilling to make good financial decisions.

That is your common approach.

If OTHER was the same as "Nothing in particular" we would have just put "Nothing in particular" which is still a valid response depending on the amount of "savings" a particular person made.

The only thing "sad" is that the savings is likely eaten up elsewhere with other rising prices for many folks.

Saying it is "sad" that they didn't put their money to better use" is a negative judgement call against those that chose that option, and I (and others) are pointing out that choosing that option does not mean folks aren't taking advantage of savings. They just aren't putting it where YOU think they should based on YOUR situation. You don't know if they didn't put it to better use for THEIR situation - such as charity, helping a friend, etc.

So, go on feeling sad about the 45% or so - it is your prerogative.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2014 8:00:49 AM

"So, unlike you, I do not see all folks that chose that option as losers that don't know what they are doing financially and something to be sad about."

Where did I call anyone in this topic a loser, TxJeans? Nowhere. Again your interpretation. I think it's about time you stop putting words in my mouth.

If the choice was titled just "Other", I would not have made the comment. But it is titled "other / Nothing in particular" which, in my opinion, gives the connotation of nothing being done. You might not agree but that is my opinion. Nowhere did I claim or state anyone was a loser.

And, TxJeans, just like me, you don't know the peoples situations that answered Other / nothing in particular. I never claimed I did and neither did you but you made the assumption I thought they were losers. I made no such assumption.
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2014 7:49:51 AM

Scout - that 45% includes a lot of other things that can be just as valuable for those to spend their money on if they have their retirement and savings under control - charitable spending (which most would not classify as shopping is just one example). You are looking at it from the expect the worse side and painting with a board brush. But, I understand you feel that way and why you do.

Seriously, my "savings" in gas money for this short down tick is not significant to my retirement or savings unless prices remain down for an extended period of time. I don't add to my retirement funds in that manner nor am I going to move $5/10 even $20 to my "Savings" accounts during this down tick that I doubt will be long term.

So, what I do with it in the short term vs the long term depends on MY specific situation. If I have been putting off some purchases because of budget, I might spend on those purchases now, or I might just park it on the side until I see how long this down tick occurs, and then decide where best to put it. Yeah, I might call that savings - but other might not at this point but just consider it gas money for when gas goes back up.

And, there are many that might just let it go to their contingency fund and not consider that "Savings/Investments/retirements" as they may interpret that as putting it in a specific account for a specific purpose.

So, unlike you, I do not see all folks that chose that option as losers that don't know what they are doing financially and something to be sad about.

Yeah, I bet there are some that fall in that category, but I won't use that broad paintbrush as there are so many reasons for choosing that option that ARE valid reasons for responsible people.

Saying it is sad - you are judging those that you say are "not taking better advantage of their savings"...You don't know they aren't just because they chose OTHER/Nothing in particular. Is my mom that saved an entire $5 thus far "not taking better advantage of her savings" because that $5 stayed in her budget?



[Edited by: TxJeans at 11/12/2014 7:52:08 AM EST]
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2014 7:00:45 AM

I'm not judging anyone negatively, TxJeans. I just think it's sad that people aren't taking better advantage of their savings. Nothing negative there, except your interpretation.

It is encouraging to see that roughly 40% are saving or reducing their debt.
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RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Nov 12, 2014 6:55:29 AM

The poll is simply flawed. The savings for temporarily lower fuel costs for the average household are fleeting. The poll is really asking folks what they would like to do with any extra cash they may have. It is doubtful that many people can actually account for the few extra bucks they didn't spend on fuel.

It is unlikely that many respondents even know where any meager gas savings are winding up. It may be wishful thinking by those who say their few dollars gas savings per week end up in savings or invested in a retirement account, but it is much more believable that any short term surplus is spent elsewhere and not saved.

About half the respondents answered honestly.

RG


[Edited by: RichWLIN at 11/12/2014 6:56:45 AM EST]
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TxJeans
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Nov 11, 2014 7:58:16 PM

The money I’m saving from lower fuel prices is going mainly into: (Discuss)
Savings/investment/retirement 15%
Entertainment/fun 3%
Debt reduction 24%
Shopping 5%
More driving 4%
Other / nothing in particular 45%
Total votes: 14072

Scout posted this in the Poll Results topic rather than here:

"I feel it's sad because people have the chance to do something with the money they are saving and currently 46% are doing Other/Nothing."

Although I am a bit surprised it was 46% that said Other/Nothing, I don't feel "sad" about it and not negatively judging all of them.

I feel encouraged that almost 1/4 said "debt reduction" and another 15% said retirement. The amounts for shopping and entertainment were lower than I might have expected.

That OTHER could include a large number of things depending on their overall financial picture....Positive things.

Things such as:
- Charity.
- Helping a friend or family member
- Church
- Off setting increases in heating costs, or health care costs, etc.
etc.

And, there are some who being retired may not see much savings from the gas prices due to the small amount of gas that they use. I think many might have interpreted the categories a bit too strictly and though technically saving it, not being specific about putting it in their formal savings account, but going to give a bit more cushion against the "bumps" on the road of life in their "general" fund.

"Other" could also include spreading the savings across several different categories of responses. A number indicated that it went to offset the increase of cost in other areas of their budget. Several mentioned groceries and might not have considered that as part of "shopping" by interpreting shopping for non-essentials - wants or nice to haves, not needs.

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a5
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Nov 10, 2014 7:40:08 AM

2014 46 The money I’m saving from lower fuel prices is going mainly into:

This poll has a large percentage of people saying "other" probably due the the high level of cynicism of the members of this site towards the gas market. If you did get an answer about a trip to Hawaii with the extra $50 saved, it was likely sarcastic.
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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

Posts:71,009
Points:4,293,010
Joined:Aug 2001
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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