Rethinking Public Opinion - the immense importance of public opinion polling in American politics, and the under-reported problems at the heart of the enterprise, combine to call for a serious critique of the polling industry, its assumptions, and its method
According to a recent international survey, there remains no global consensus regarding who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. "On average, 46 percent of those surveyed said al Qaeda was responsible, 15 percent said the U.S. government, 7 percent said Israel and 7 percent said some other perpetrator... The U.S. government was to blame, according to 23 percent of Germans and 15 percent of Italians." The poll was collected by World Public Opinion, a neat website filled with various polls about interesting topics.
BBC News is running a weekly ongoing series of articles that describe and illustrate common misconceptions (and manipulations) of statistics using examples from the news and ads.
Lesson 1: surveys. Lesson 2: counting. Lesson 3: percentage. Lesson 4: averages. Lesson 5: causation.
Lesson 1: surveys. Lesson 2: counting. Lesson 3: percentage. Lesson 4: averages. Lesson 5: causation.
What's YOUR Pew News IQ? (not to be confused with the New Zoo Revue, even though it rhymes) We've discussed Pew's surveys about news knowledge before, but this time you can test yourself. Just 12 eeeee-zeee questions (not 100). Wendell got them all correct. Can you? [more inside]
16% of US science teachers believe human beings have been created by God within the last 10,000 years. 25% of science teachers spend some time teaching about creationism or intelligent design. 12.5% teach it as a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species". 2% say they do not cover evolution at all. Teachers who have taken more science courses themselves devote more time to evolution - "This may be because better-prepared teachers are more confident in dealing with students' questions about a sensitive subject."
In April 2007, A List Apart and An Event Apart conducted a survey of people who make websites. Close to 33,000 web professionals answered the survey’s 37 questions, providing the first data ever collected on the business of web design and development as practiced in the U.S. and worldwide. [more inside]
The Third View project is a fascinating presentation of "rephotographs" of over 100 historic landscape sites in the American West that presents original 19th-century survey photographs, photographed again in the 1970s, then once again in the '90s - from the original vantage points, under similar lighting conditions, at (roughly) the same time of day and year. [Flash, and you'll probably need to allow pop-ups; a little more info inside...]
Surprising findings in Pew study of US Muslims. The interweb is all atwitter over some of the findings of a Pew Research Center study of the attitudes of Muslim-Americans (the most comprehensive one done yet). While most of the findings should be welcomed (US Muslims are well off, appreciate being here, have non-Muslim friends, shun extremism, etc.), there is one troubling statistic: 6% of US Muslims - and 15% of US Muslims under 30 - believe that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "often or sometimes justified". Sounds bad, but what happens when you ask the same question of non-Muslim Americans? Turns out that 24% of all Americans agreed - four times the 6% of US Muslims who share that view. So are US Muslims more peaceful than their non-Muslim neighbors?
The UBC Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory has an online sex survey to take. If you've got an hour to spare, the Sex Research Team at the University of British Columbia needs YOU. Go to www.christofflab.ca/sexstudy to take an anonymous sex survey. VIA
British bookseller Waterstones asked its 5,000 staff to name their favourite five books written since 1982, the date Waterstone’s opened its first store. These are the results.
The Black Youth Project, "will examine the attitudes, resources, and culture of African American youth ages 15 to 25, exploring how these factors and others influence their decision-making, norms, and behavior in critical domains such as sex, health, and politics." The project is run by University of Chicago professor Cathy J. Cohen. The sitemap may help you get a handle on what is a tremendous amount of information. Or you could read the press release for a succint summary and links to mentions in the media.
What Makes a Muslim Radical? Gallup polls 9000 Muslims in 9 countries and separates the Moderates from the Radicals. Most of the results are counter to "Conventional Wisdom". The most important stuff is on the last page of 5, including the methodology for deciding who was radical and who was moderate (in small print). Let's all get out our copies of How to Lie With Statistics and see if this survey is fatally flawed, shall we?
The Baylor Religion Survey (PDF) has been released, and - big surprise - Americans are religious. Just how religious? Although nearly a quarter of Americans believe in a "Distant god" - an essentially deist view - only 5.2% consider themselves atheist and 89% subscribe to some kind of organized religion. More stats: There are more evangelical Protestants (33.6%) than mainline Protestants or members of traditionally black churches put together. Of all people affiliated with a religion, 93% are Christian. And those considering themselves biblical literalists are twice as likely to support a pro-military, anti-crime political agenda.
I've long felt that the U.S. of A. "jumped the shark" as a country when we rejected the Metric System. The price of gasoline would still be under a dollar (per liter). Yet, we'd drive less because a short 20 mile trip would become a long 32 km trip. Then there's the most important measurement of all [maybe NSFW animated graph], providing us with the joy of 12.9(!) while we try to ignore that Japan is .1 ahead of us and France is .1 more than South Africa. (And is that Korean average North or South?)
Danes top world happiness ranking. "Piecing together information from more than 100 studies in the growing field of happiness research, a British psychologist has produced what he says is the first world map of happiness." The study ranks each country based on it's SWL (Satisfaction with Life, calculated from data published by the New Economics Foundation) and contrasts it with statistics such as Life Expectancy, GDP per capita and the level of Access to Education.
You might have caught the first Click Survey on mefi projects, but there's a new and much more interesting series of 8 images in Click Survey 2. Click where you feel like and watch the results in real time.
“Research in individual differences addresses three broad questions: 1) developing an adequate descriptive taxonomy of how people differ; 2) applying differences in one situation to predict differences in other situations; and 3) testing theoretical explanations of the structure and dynamics of individual differences.”Visit the Personality Project. While you're there, participate in the Internet Personality Inventory Survey.
Where'd the remaining 27% go. Researchers in Germany have finished a survey that tells them how people spend their time. With an average life-span of 78 years most time is spent sleeping with the least time spent making new people. Number crunching this research [direct image link] reveals:
5.12% 4 years housework | 0.96% 9 months washing and ironing |
1.71% 16 months cleaning |
2.78% 26 months cooking |
6.41% 5 years eating and drinking |
7.05% 66 months watching television |
0.53% 5 months diy |
8.97% 7 years at work |
0.96% 9 months commuting, plus |
0.64% 6 months traffic jams |
2.14% 20 months in school |
1.71% 16 hours orgasms |
0.05% 2 weeks kissing |
32.20% 24 years 4 months sleeping |
0.64% 6 months sitting on the lavatory |
0.05% 2 weeks praying |
1.92% 18 months shopping
Blog readers are young and rich. A study [.pdf] released today concludes that as blogs continue to grow, blog readers are tending to be geekier and more affluent than previously thought. Nick Denton who helped sponsor the study (with SixApart) is delighted with the results.
Research finds that 87% of internet users are unfamiliar with "podcasting" and 91% have never heard of "RSS". The study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project also found that only 3% of users still don't know what spam is. Here's a PDF of the findings.
Make some science. Take a survey.
Understanding elections beyond the red and blue axis. Since 1987, the Pew Research center has been conducting a political survey that divides voters into various typologies based on core beliefs-- upbeats and disaffected, enterprisers and bystanders -- and tracking political opinions and votes. The biggest trends have been the rise of disadvantaged pro-government conservatives and the shift of the middle to the right. Fortunately, there is a survey that will determine your type. Where does the typical MeFi visitor fit? (Hint from the typology: "Liberals- Affluent and highly secular...ideologically consistent on social issues, foreign policy and the role of government..nearly four-in-10 cite the Internet as their main source of news.")
SexID Some researchers say that men can have 'women's brains' and that women can think more like men. Find out more about 'brain sex' differences by taking the Sex ID test, a groundbreaking experiment designed by a team of top psychologists:
How does your marketing salary compare?. The Aquent AMA Compensation Survey of Marketing Professionals 2005 has recently been released. (scary staring people warning). Or view the AIGA Aquent 2004 Designer Survey. Apologies - US salaries only.
Guess what? Another poll (since MeFites enjoy them sooooo much)! This one is a take on how much the world trusts and loves Bush.
Marcel Duchamp's "readymade" Fountain has been named the World's Most Influential work of modern art, according to 500 artists, curators, critics and dealers in a survey conducted by Turner Prize sponsor Gordon's. (more inside)
other half top quintile lives... Coldwell Banker has released the first Coldwell Banker(R) Luxury Index, a "study conducted in August 2004 of U.S. luxury homeowners -- those owning homes valued at $1 million or more -- concerning their attitudes, preferences and purchasing behavior related to luxury goods and services." You might be interested to discover that 61% of those surveyed stated recent increases in interest rates would have no impact on their luxury item purchases.
Europeans on Europeans. Reader's Digest dispatched researchers to 38 towns in 19 countries across Europe, from the UK to Russia, inviting nearly 4,000 respondents to comment on any country but their own. Italians finished as "most liked," Germans as "least liked," Belgians as the "least sexy," and Paris triumphed as "favorite European city." The full results can be seen here. (PDF)
Political ads fail their mission. In an Advertising Age poll, 92% of respondants said the ads had not swayed them to change their prospective votes. More than half said the ads didn't influence them, and nearly a quarter found Bush's ads "not at all persuasive." Before you liberals get cocky, consider this: 29% thought Kerry's ads were totally unpersuasive.
MIT's blog survey results are in. Some highlights: 55% of respondents use their real names on their blog, 63% of respondents are male, 36% of respondents have gotten in trouble because of things they've written, and almost no one has a good idea of who's reading their blog.
Survey of design salaries 2003 - how do you compare? The American Institute of Graphic Arts and Communication Arts team up to offer a white paper summary of national and regional salaries and benefits for web designers and developers, copywriters, art directors, print production managers, freelancers, and related positions. The survey is based on responses from 3,184 people in 17 job categories. (28 page PDF)
...The Rolling Stones released their Four Flicks DVD in Canada on an exclusive distribution basis, limiting availability of the Four Flicks DVD to only one retailer, thereby excluding HMV and all other retailers from making this product available to their consumers....HMV responded by indicating that if its consumers were not good enough to have access to the Rolling Stones new product in HMV stores, then the Rolling Stones were not worthy of having ANY of its products in HMV’s stores...HMV would now like to solicit your opinion as it decides its next steps with regards to its position...
The Great Arc of India is a travelling exhibition that celebrates the two hundredth anniversary of the trigonometric survey of the Indian subcontinent by William Lambton, George Everest, and many others. The exhibition will visit Edinburgh, Birmingham, London, and Manchester. In case you can't catch the actual exhibition, the site includes a PDF of the exhibition guide, in two parts. Along with the exhibition there is a programme of performances and visual events by Indian artists.
Unprecedented victories for Republican foreign policy. A new survey from Pew Global shows that in the past 2 years the Muslim world has been further alienated from the US, Europe wants to be more independent of the US, and the UN's reputation has been dramatically weakened. The Cliff notes. A wide variety of other interesting results are in the complete report.
An international survey for National Geographic finds that of Americans surveyed between 18 and 24, half couldn't find New York on a map of the US, only one in seven can find Iraq on a map of the world, and one in nine couldn't find the United States on that same map. Sweden averaged 40 correct answers out of 56. The US averaged 23. What is the US doing wrong that countries like Sweden are doing right in education and world awareness?
Tracing Baby Boomer Attitudes Then and Now: A Comparative Look at the Attitudes of Baby Boomers in the 1970s and 2002 From an AARP study..."we gathered attitudinal surveys conducted in the early to mid 1970s, when these leading edge baby boomers were in their 20s. We then asked the same questions of this same group today, now that they are in their 50s."
Salaries of presidents at private US colleges and universities. The Chronicle of Higher Education releases results of country-wide survey (complete database available only with subscription). The salaries and benefits of presidents at public universities from previous report.
Canada's long term viability in question amongst canadians "only 30 per cent of Canadians are certain we will have an independent country 25 years from now". Sure it's a link about canada, but I'm sure it has plenty of North American and Global relevance, doesn't it?
"We have done more than 100 surveys and reports since late 2000 and this survey has the most overwhelming, and negative, response to a company or technology we have ever seen." A survey by investment and research firm ChangeWave of its clients who are current and former subscribers of America Online showed that 40% of respondents were dissatisfied with the service.
Public Survey for Input to the Planetary Decadal Survey. The Planetary Society is seeking input from the public for NASA's planetary research priorities for the next 10 years. The deadline for taking the survey is January 31st.
The United States - "Sexual Superpower" - according to a study done by condom maker SSL International, folks in the US are having more sex (an average of 124 times per year), with more partners (an average of 14.3 partners), and starting to have sex younger (average age of 16) than any country in the world.
Money4Opinions claims to be a service that connects members to paid-for-taking surveys. It's costs $20 to become a member, and they advertise in all sorts of "tiny classified ads." David Gagne thought it smelled fishy, and found out it was a scam.
Are you smarter than Miss America? She got 6 out of 8 right. How'd you do?
Survey on Learning Standard American English in Black American Communities. This academic survey is designed to gather attitudes among Black Americans regarding Ebonics, better known to linguists at African American Vernacular English.
Arbitron just sent me a dollar..? I've been invited to participate in a once (sometimes occasionally twice) in a lifetime opportunity. No wonder our radio waves are so screwed up. Station owners think they learn what the public wants through a short-sighted random process, which obviously doesn't work. What's most amusing to me is they're buying my opinion for a buck. Even jury duty was kind enough to pay me six!
The Flintsons: Based on a True Story According to a recent survey, half the adults surveyed didn't know that the Earth revolves around the sun, and 42 percent said they thought early humans lived side by side with dinosaurs. Seems like we hear about some survey of this nature every year ("87% of high school children can't find the US on a map of the US!"), although this article at least has a citation. I couldn't find any mention of said survey on the CAoS website. (Although if you take a look at their masthead, you can see why some people may be confused about scientific issues, as it seems to show fish revolving around the DinoWorld ...)
WSJ/NBC conducted a pretty extensive poll about the state of the country ranging from taxes to energy concerns to the Golden Dollar. I got the phone call to participate in the poll on Saturday and the questions were thought provoking and relevant...here are the results.