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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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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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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
Champion Author Denver

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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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