Sunday, April 14, 2013

I Have Some Follow-Up Questions

Today I have a poll for you. Nothing bigger. Just a poll. But the results of it are a little surprising. A firm called Infosecurity Europe commissioned a survey of 1,000 residents in London and asked which of five household utilities they least live without: heating, the Internet, TV, the washing machine, or water.

Coming in last was the washing machine at 4%, which makes sense; you need water to run the thing, right?
TV came in fourth at 8%, which also makes sense, because the Internet does more, and besides, you need water to sustain yourself to enjoy either one.
Heating came in third at 18%... well, okay, I might have had it in second, because it's kind of hard to be on the Internet if you're freezing to death, but I guess if those South Pole researchers can be on the Internet... all right.
Second was of course the Intern...

...wait, what do you mean 'water came in second'?

By a margin of 38-32, the Internet was deemed more important than water. Let's not take this straight at face value, though; let's recall everything we've learned from 538 over the years. First off, this was the organizer of a tech security conference that commissioned the survey, so we have to be concerned about bias. We also ought to note that other questions in the same survey could have primed the results: the survey as a whole was meant to gauge the importance of the Internet to the average person. Other questions asked how long people thought they could go without the Internet (not long), whether they could live without an Internet connection (27% said no, up 10% from a year ago) and what the most stressful thing is at work (suddenly losing the Internet connection). If any of those other questions came before the most-important-utility question- and we don't know whether they did- they could easily have skewed the answers given to where people just went 'Internet, Internet, Internet' over and over. It's perhaps worth repeating the question with another pollster, such as Reuters.

Not as an online poll, though.

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