Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Polls, Studies and Other Fairy Tales

Thought Number One .. Do these Polls Have It Right Or Wrong?

Do you happen to live in St. Louis, Missouri? If you do, you might have placed NUMBER ONE on a recent poll by Men's Health magazine. Of course, it is possible that you wouldn't want to be #1 as this particular list. That would mean you live in the city that has the worst drivers in America.

 Perhaps, you think that Men's Health got it wrong and the worst drivers are where you live.  OK, you still have a fighting chance at the title.   According to Travel + Leisure magazine, that honor goes to Miami, Florida.   Still not where you live???   No worries... you  have yet another shot at the prize (?)....You could have been the winner by living in Washington DC if you listen to Allstate Insurance's Best Driver Report (or worst depending on which end of the list you are on).

So what is the take away from all of this?????


Or maybe... another take-away is that there are a lot of really crappy drivers in  a lot of cities and no one can figure out who is the worst of the worst.

Thought Number Two:  A Lot of Disparity In the Numbers

To examine the differences between the polls dealing with America's worst drivers, I looked to see how my city's ranking fared.

The Allstate's Best Driver Report has Kansas City, Kansas listed as 37th best in a field on 100 for being safe drivers and Kansas City, Missouri as being the 22nd on the list.  So according to Allstate, we're bad drivers but clearly not the worst.

Then we get (nearly) vindicated by  Travel + Leisure.  They have Kansas City ranked as the second SAFEST city in America with only Portland, Oregon beating us out.  Yay us!!!

But wait...not so fast in taking our bows.... Men's Health has us as number 95th out of 100 on the WORST list.  There seems to be 5 other cities that have drivers that are worse than Kansas Citians. 

In all fairness to the various poll takers, perhaps the reason we are both 2nd from the top of the best drivers and fifth from the bottom of the worst drivers is that people are horribly confused about which state's DMV to check with.  There is an never-ending confusion on where we are and what state we are in.

First of all to locate us....we are in the middle...nearly the exact middle of  the United States. 

I did find it interesting as I looked at the cities listed on these various polls, most cities had a state listed behind it.  For example on all the lists Dallas, was listed as Dallas, Texas.  (BTW...for those of you that live in Dallas, your city did very well and ranked high for being the worst drivers in America.  You were #2 on the Men's Health Poll.  So close...but not quite the winner.  Better luck next year.) But conspicuously, there was not a state listed behind Kansas City.  I think given the fact that people were probably arguing back and forth..."it's Missouri....no it's Kansas" they opted not to take a chance and get it wrong.

I have to give praise where it's due though.  Allstate not only figured out that KC has a presence in two states but even ranked both sides of the city as noted above.  (Missouri 22 and Kansas 37.....as this was listing cities with safe drivers.....number one being the safest and 100 being Washington DC)

Maybe in the future I will confine my bad driving to the Missouri side of town, so I can try to help even up the score.

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Liggybee said...

Hmmm....I often question the reliability of published polls and surveys about Best or Worse Cities. Whenever I see a city mentioned which I lived in it makes me wonder about everywhere else, especially if I disagree with why the city made it on the list. Many times, I think the polls are just reflective of the writer's own opinions, don't you sometimes? Oh well, it makes it all fun reading anyway. If anything, it may give others a starting point whatever they are trying to compare anyway. :)

BTW, I didn't post for TST this week but I wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy Week ahead!!! (Here's your click for a great post and very nice graphics!!! I love them!)

momto8blog said...

my daughter told us 75% of statistics are made up.....we sort of believed her...and then she laughed and laughed...

Thechubbychatterbox said...

Mark Twain was talking about paper but he just as soon could have been talking about polls when he said, "The darn thing about paper is that it will lay there and let you write anything you want on it. " Polls are the same way.

Cheryl P. said...

I think the same thing sometimes...that surely there is a bias in play the way the numbers are skewed. Plus, I am amazed at the way certain numbers are retrieved. For example: unemployment numbers are in part guaged by the the number of unemployment checks issued. There are tons of people that neither qualify, apply, or have exhausted their benefits. How can the numbers be anything close to right?

Thanks for coming by...You have a good week as well.

Cheryl P. said...

I love it. 75%...I am positive she is the one truly accurate statistician!! That is funny!!!

Cheryl P. said...

I had never heard that quote. So true!!! Polls are probably as accurate as any form of media these days. Let the reader/buyer/listener beware.

meleahrebeccah said...

1. Oh you definitely can't trust a poll! I think the WORST drivers are in NJ!

Cheryl P. said...

Not to disparage your state but I think the scariest place that I have had the "displeasure" of driving, is pulling out of the Newark airport. To get to the correct lane you have to pull out like a bat out of hell and I swear the on coming drivers are trying to kill me.

meleahrebeccah said...

Oh, yes.

New Jersey is a terrifying place to drive.

wolfbernz said...

Apparently they skipped Delaware in this pole...
We seem to have the worst drivers ever!


Cheryl P. said...

They probably overlooked your state because they were busy arguing over which state KC is in. I guess it is safe to say that every state has more than it's fair share of crappy drivers.

oldereyes said...

It is really hard for me to believe that Greater LA isn't the worst, and that in Greater LA, Anaheim Hills isn't the worst. We definitely have the worst parking lot drivers ever ... I have a close call once a week in our local shopping center ... and, of course, I'M an excellent driver. The truth is, statistics are really tricky (it's one of my specialties). It is so easy to misinterpret data, particularly if you have a predetermined opinion.


Bodaciousboomer said...

I was actually born in St. Louis, but came of age to drive down here in TX.; so I had nothing to do with their stats.

Cheryl P. said...

I was actually shocked not to see LA at the top of the list...any of the lists. While I hate driving from the Newark airport into New York City, I abhor LA driving. I also, hate Pittsburg come to think of it. They might have your area beat.

Parking must just suck everywhere. I don't think KC drivers are really all that bad but parking seems to be a challenge here as well.

I am an OK driver in "Drive" I am not a good driver in "Reverse". When I occassionally have to back up down a long curvy driveway...it's laughable. (by those watching, not by me)

Cheryl P. said...

I was surprised to see St. Louis so high on some of the lists. I don't think they compare to other cities. Your in the Houston area right???

While I am not thrilled about driving in Houston, I think Dallas drivers are more aggressive. I never have had a wreck in TX though, I have had a couple in St. Louis. Of course, I lived in St. Louis 12 years compared to 6 in Dallas. Maybe I just needed to stick around longer.

AngelBaby said...

I don't know about most people, I just don't put much stock in surveys. They never are the same in two of them because they do not use enough people to make them right.

Sorry I did not get here sooner, I was at my granddaughters graduation until 6pm and then we went to dinner. I did not get home until late and I was pooped, I hope you understand.

Love and Blessings,

Cheryl P. said...

I think it is extremely wise not to put much stock in polls and surveys. As no two ever give the same results, obviously someone or everyone has "it" wrong.

Congrats on your granddaughter's graduation. You never need to concern yourself if you get busy and don't have time to come by my blog. I absolutely understand. I am so glad you had an evening out with your family.