Showing posts with label Survey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Survey. Show all posts

Sunday, November 29, 2020

A Tie for First Place in the Best Nonfiction Book of All Time Poll

I'll take another break from Coronavirus to talk about my book and the second anniversary of my Best Nonfiction Book of All Time poll.  Hopefully it's more inspiring this holiday season.  First my book.

Christmas tree created by Duane Webb showing books by local authors (myself included).  You can bid on it at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County's silent auction on Menoher Blvd

Wuthering Depths in Johnstown: By the Numbers now ranks tenth on the Made in Somerset County best seller list out of 46 books.  It is now listed as sold out so I will have to get them more copies for the holidays.

As a reminder I will be having a book signing at AT Merchant in the Galleria Mall in Johnstown this Saturday from noon to three.  Hope you can make it.  

My book is now available at Riek's of Brownstown in addition to the other bookstores:  Classic ElementsYoung Hearts Books and ToysChameleon BookstoreSecond Chapter Books in Ligonier, and the Bottle Works Ethnic arts Center.

This week marks the second anniversary of my poll for the best nonfiction book of all time.  This time last year, the poll had 45 responses.  This year it has 57 total responses.  The top 6 responses are in the table below.


Number (%)

1.    On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859)

15 (26.3%)

1.    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)

15 (26.3%)

2.    Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)

13 (22.8%)

3.    Night by Elie Wiesel (1956)

11 (19.3%)

4.    On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (2000)

9 (15.8%)

5.    Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854)

8 (14%)

As you can see, there is currently a tie for the top spot between the Origin of Species and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.  Last year, Darwin's book held the top spot while Anne Frank's diary was in the tie for second with the Silent SpringNight by Elie Wiesel moved up one spot.  Stephen King's book On Writing entered the top 5 while Henry David Thoreau's Walden moved down one spot.  

You are more than welcome to break the tie or create new ones by voting in the poll in by clicking on the tab at the top.  There is no finality to the poll but you can make your voice heard.

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Creative Nonfiction Awards

Friday, May 8, 2020

Coronavirus and the 2020 Election

Today there is a wealth of statistics being released including the ones that I have compiled here.  The official unemployment rate increased from 4.4% in March 2020 to 14.7% in April 2020.  The unofficial rate (which some call the true unemployment rate) rose from 8.7% in March to 22.8% in April.  The official rate counts people who are unemployed and are looking for work.  The unofficial rate includes those who have given up looking for full time work and those who are underemployed (including myself).

Undoubtedly, the political campaigns are going over these numbers to see how they can gain an advantage over the other.  As of today, Joe Biden has a 4.4% advantage in the Real Clear Politics poll average over Donald Trump.  On this date four years ago (May 8), Hillary Clinton had a 6.5% advantage over Trump in the same poll average.  On the same date four years ago Bernie, Sanders had a 13.4% advantage over Trump in the RCP average.  At the time Sanders dropped out of the race on April 7, he had a 4.2% advantage over Trump in the RCP average.  On the same day, Biden had a 6.1% advantage over Trump.

It may be to early to say what impact Tara Reade's allegations have had on the Trump-Biden race.  Both candidates have lost support in recent weeks as can be seen above.  At the beginning of April, Trump's overall approval rating reached its highest point at 47.4% in the RCP average.  It has since fallen to 44.6% which is close to where it was before the pandemic started.

I stay away from making predictions, especially this far out.  Anything is possible in the next few months.  The crisis has given the administration cover on the economy.  They can blame it on the virus.  Both sides will demonize China.  Pennsylvania Governor Wolf has announced that 

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Socialism is "Uncomfortable"?

In last Wednesday's debate, NBC anchor Lester Holt asked Senator Bernie Sanders about his network's poll where 67% of registered voters said that they were either "very uncomfortable" (46%) or "have some reservations" (21%) about a socialist candidate for president.  Sanders retorted "who was winning" in that poll (hint it's Bernie)? Looking at the text report for that poll, it does not ask the respondents what their understanding of the word 'socialist' is.

NBC did put the same question to respondents in February 2019 and 29% had "some reservations" and 43% were "very uncomfortable" for a total of 72%.  In October 2015, and 25% had "some reservations" and 45% were "very uncomfortable" for a total of 70%. Among registered Democrats in the Feb 2020 poll, 53% said that they were "enthusiastic (16%)" or "comfortable (37%)" with a socialist candidate.  In Feb 2019, 47% said that they were "enthusiastic (10%)" or "comfortable (37%)" with a socialist candidate.

A different picture emerges if one looks at the individual proposals of the "socialist" Bernie Sanders.  A CNBC poll of all Americans, whether registered to vote or not, showed strong support for the individual proposals that the "socialist" Bernie Sanders makes.  Goran Lazarevski makes a strong argument that "centrist" candidates like Biden, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg are not necessarily the most electable.  

It doesn't matter who the Democrats nominate.  The right will label them as "socialist."  It is more important to have a candidate with proposals that are at the center of peoples lives rather than a mythical center.  A new Yale study shows that Medicare for All would save money and lives.

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Medicare for All is a "Top/Important Priority" in Pennsylvania

I saw this article by a Julian Routh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette where he reports on a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Cook Political Report of voters in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin called The Blue Wall Project.  He highlights their responses to questions on implementing a Medicare for All System and on banning fracking as warning signs for progressives.  He sites that 57% of PA voters believe that an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a "bad idea."  Also he says that 56% of swing voters believe that Medicare for All is a bad idea.

I went back to look at the raw results for the survey to see where he found those numbers.  For starters this was a long survey administered by telephone (8%), computer assisted telephone interviewing or CATI (6%), and online (86%) with 3,222 respondents.  752 respondents were in Pennsylvania.  They were offered $2 as a pre-incentive.  Hispanics were offered an additional $10 for completing the survey.  There were 36 questions followed by demographic questions.

The items that Routh cites were items 23g and 23f for fracking and Medicare for all respectively.  Survey item #4 asked respondents what the top priority should be for Congress in the upcoming year.  Item 4d asked: "Implementing a national Medicare-for-all plan, in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan."  For Pennsylvania, 54% of all respondents said that this was either a top priority (26%) or an important (28%) thing.  

The length of this suggests that their may be a fatigue effect.  Also the wording of the question may bias the result.  Respondents were paid to encourage them to complete the survey.  

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Vote for the Best Nonfiction Books of All Time

Last week I discussed the PBS series The Great American Read and the need for an online poll for the greatest non fiction book of all time.  This week I thought I would take it upon myself to create such an online poll so that you can make your voice heard on the matter.  Admittedly this is not a scientific survey.  Respondents can vote as often as they like.  

Respondents may go to the survey page by clicking on the survey page tab at the top or this link, check on the books that you think are deserving out of the 100 that I have selected, and then submit your vote by clicking the submit button.  There is an other box at the bottom where you can suggest a book that I have missed.

I have compiled the list from other online lists of the greatest (or most popular) nonfiction books. It is admittedly a Euro and male centered author list as it has been a male and Euro dominated world for many centuries.  Only 10 authors are female.  Six authors are African American.  The lists from which I drew were also euro and male dominated.  I did make an effort to include non-European books and authors such as Confucius, Sun Tzu (Art of War), and the Kama Sutra.  Ancient as well as modern authors are included.  

So as not to bias the voter to one book over the other, only the title, author, and date of publication for the book are presented.  There are no images in this post for the same reason.  The voter can look up information on the book if he or she are unfamiliar with a title.  As yet there is no fixed end for this poll.  I will post the results as they change.

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The Great American Read-Nonfiction Edition

Friday, August 17, 2018

Trump is Popular on the Economy but not Foreign Policy

Much has been written about how Trump's popularity inched up from a low of 37% (according to the Real Clear Politics (RCP) poll average) in December 2017 to 43% in June of 2018.  It has stubbornly remained around 43% ever since as can be seen in the graph above.  His disapproval ratings have fluctuated between 52% and 54% over the same period.

Much less reported is Trump's approval ratings on the economy.  The RCP average of polls on this question is 50.8%, a slight majority.  The polls used to create this average over the last two months can be seen in the image above.  The approval ratings of these polls range from 49% to 55%.  The letter RV next to the sample size for the poll means that they limited their sample to registered voters.  The A next to the sample size means that all Americans were included in the sample.  There is no graph showing how this rating has changed over time but the few times I have looked at this average has been consistent.  His disapproval ratings on the economy average to 42% and range from 36% to 47%.  There aren't as many polls on this question as there are on his overall popularity.  

One poll that is absent from the above table in Rasmussen Reports.  They come out almost daily with overall approval ratings for Trump ranging from 46% to 50%.  They restrict their sample to likely voters (the only ones in the RCP average to do so) and their estimates are consistently the most generous to Trump.

There are even fewer polls asking about Trump's approval on Foreign Policy.  Not surprisingly the RCP average on this is lower than his overall approval rating and his approval rating on the economy at 40.7%.  Rasmussen's polls are not on this question either.  

For the generic congressional race polls the Democrats have a 6.8% lead in the RCP average.  Only Rasmussen limits their sample to likely voters the rest use registered voters on this question.  These numbers have been more volatile than the approval ratings for Trump.  Gerrymandering in many states gives the GOP an advantage in states where the two parties have an equal number of voters.  Pennsylvania just had it's congressional districts redrawn and it remains to be seen what impact it will have.

The Republicans running this year probably will stress the economy while Democrats should be stressing Trump's foreign policy as his approval ratings are weaker there. This doesn't mean that Democrats should ignore domestic/economic issues such as health care, immigration, climate change, and income inequality.  Foreign policy provides a fuller picture.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

US Life Expectancy Decreases and Those Who Want the Affordable Care Act Expanded Increases

This month it has been reported that life expectancy in 2015 in the US has decreased for the first time since 1993.  The decrease was from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.8 in 2015.  The reasons for this decrease are unclear though the overall death rate increased by 1.2% last year.  The top causes of death had increased rates except for cancer.  Alzheimer's disease showed the largest increase in mortality.  The study's authors caution that this decrease in life expectancy of 0.1 years (which corresponds to a decrease of 37 days) may be a statistical aberration.

Views of the ACA (CBS News Poll)
Dec 2016
Feb 2015
Working well, keep as is
Good things, but changes needed
Needs to be repealed entirely

One statistic that has changed little in the last 6 years is the level of support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare).  The above table shows how views of the ACA have changed over the last year according to a CBS poll conducted this month.  Overall the poll showed that 45% of the public approve of the ACA while 50% do not.  The same respondents were asked what changes to the law were needed.  Only 10% wanted it kept as is (up from 6% last Feb).  The number who wanted changes made to the law increased to 63% from 60% while the number who want it repealed entirely decreased from 32% in 2015 to 25 this month.  The poll did break the numbers down by political party and found that 47% of Republicans wanted changes compared to 78% of Democrats and 61% of independents.  The poll did not specify which changes were needed to the law.

Opinion of ACA (Pew Research)
Nov 30-Dec 5, 2016
Oct 20-25, 2016
Mar 7-11, 2012
Sep 22-Oct 4, 2011
Jan 5-9, 2011
Nov 4-7, 2010
Expand it
Leave it as is
Repeal it
Don’t Know/Refused
Expand + As is

Another poll was published this month showing essentially a 48% to 47% approval/disapproval ratio (essentially a tie) for the ACA published by Pew research.  The poll did ask respondents (n=752) what changes they wanted to see to the ACA.  39% said expand it which is virtually unchanged from October but increased from 2012 and 2011 levels by 5 to 9%.  The number who wanted it left as is increased by 2% from October but decreased from 2011 by 5 to 7%.  The number who want it repealed decreased by 5% from October but stayed within the values from 2012 to 2010.  If one adds the % who want it expanded to those who want it left as is we find a consistent majority across the six year period ranging from 54% this month to 52% in Nov 2010.

It is a matter of interpretation exactly what "expand it" means but other polls have found similar results using wording of the question "Is the ACA not Liberal Enough" or "Approve" as is, found similar majorities when the two categories are added.  The conclusion is that a majority of the US public wants universal health care with a growing percentage wanting a better bill.  Such actions are unlikely in the short term in the Federal Government with Trump in the White House (though he once supported single payer) and the GOP controlling Congress.

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