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January 26, 2007

Those Wacky Pollsters

My favorite thing about my job is the amount of bizarre information I come across. While working on the documentation for the November 1995 ABC News HMO Poll, I learned that the second-to-last question was, verbatim: "what's your favorite on Thanksgiving dinner -- the turkey, the stuffing or the cranberry sauce?" The last question was, "is that the white meat or the dark meat?" I kid you not. If I were a sociologist, I could use this dataset to write a dissertation on whether or not there is a correlation between liking dark meat and having a particular type of health insurance.

In case you're wondering, out of 1005 respondents, 487 (48.5%) preferred turkey, 356 (35.4%) preferred stuffing, 117 (11.6%) liked the cranberry sauce best, 27 (2.7%) expressed a different favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal, 4 (.4%) don't celebrate Thanksgiving, and 3 (.3%) had no preference. Of the 487 who answered turkey, 318 (65.3%) prefer white meat, 115 (23.6%) prefer dark meat, 53 (10.9%) like both equally, and one person (.2%) refused to answer.

Posted by eklanche at January 26, 2007 10:38 AM


Man, Americans have opinions on everything that doesn't matter. Only one person had the gumption to not answer! (I probably would have said some other part of the dinner.)

Posted by: kisha at January 26, 2007 10:58 PM

Don't worry. All aspersions cast on sociologists were taken in loving jest. They are, after all, some of the most fascinating and well meaning people I know. Perhaps they were checking in with respondents at the end of the survey to make sure they were still breathing, or testing the validity of the other questions (if there's a range of typical answers to the Thanksgiving questions),or perhaps they wanted to reward the respondents with a meal to their liking!

Posted by: khilfman@earthlink.net at January 27, 2007 12:52 PM

Em - I meant to say validity of responses to the other questions, rather than the validity of other questions themselves- anyway, perhaps just more proof of our goofy thinking! Love - Mom

Posted by: khilfman@earthlink.net at January 27, 2007 01:10 PM

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