Category Archives: poll

Okay, I have a poll for Matthew; no need to join Twitter

I didn’t realize that you had to actually JOIN Twitter to vote on Matthew’s poll about microbes. My apologies, and I’ll put Matthew’s poll here as well. PLEASE vote, and he’ll add our results to those on his poll from a few hours ago. Here it is, but you can vote here: If you already […]

A poll from Matthew: please vote

Matthew has asked me to request that readers here, which are numerous, give an answer his “quiz”. Please oblige him (and me) by simply clicking on his tweet below and giving your answer. You have less than a day.  I don’t often ask readers to do anything, but I’d appreciate this. Thanks! My first quiz. […]

This year’s Edge question

Every year John Brockman, the literary agent for many scientists who write popular books (including me), asked all of us to answer a question as part of his online salon, Edge. Usually the questions involve writing short essays, maybe two hundred words or so, and I’ve contributed a few times. This year, however, will be […]

Al Franken and our poll

Here are the results of the poll I posted yesterday:   Given the number of subscribers, I’m a bit disappointed that there were relatively few votes (around 500 total, or roughly 1% of subscribers). That said, there were enough to show that more people want Al Franken to stay in the Senate than to resign, […]

Cato Institute releases survey on free speech and tolerance

The Cato Institute, as I mentioned yesterday, conducted a poll (along with YouGov) of 2300 Americans on their attitudes toward free speech and related issues. Their report, “The state of free speech and tolerance in America“, is now online, and it’s a gold mine of data, even if the sample size is a bit small. […]

Doubts cast on recent survey of college students’ attitudes toward free speech

Four days ago I wrote about the results of a poll of American college students’ attitudes towards free speech. That poll was conducted by UCLA professor and Brookings senior fellow John Villasenor, and was supported by the Charles Koch Foundation. The results were scary, with 44% of all students thinking that hate speech is not protected by […]

On the non-reading of books by Americans

I’ve long heard the claim that the average American reads less than one book a year, but a Pew Poll released last November shows that that’s not accurate—in two ways. First, as I note below, the concept of “books read by the average American” isn’t accurate, as the concept of “the average American” is meaningless on […]

Your vote needed in Virginia poll on a church vs. state issue

According to, the sheriff’s office in Poquosan-York, Virginia has decided to put “In God We Trust” decals on all its police cars; the decals cost $1480, paid for personally by Sheriff J. D. “Danny” Diggs. The report: “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.” Diggs said.  “It honors God.  God has been […]

The new Pew survey: religiosity in America continues to decrease, “nones” are biggest group among Democrats

This time I won’t digest the whole thing for you, as the title of the newly released Pew Survey, called “U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious,” tells the tale (full pdf here). But they try to leaven the “bad” news with some other findings: Is the American public becoming less religious? Yes, at least by some […]

24% of British Muslims say violence against cartoonists who draw Muhammad is justifiable

Yes, British Muslims. ComRes polled British Muslims on their feelings about discrimination, fealty for Britain, and their attitudes towards those who satirize Islam or Muhammed. Here is a summary of poll results, which the BBC seems to see as reassuring, but I beg to differ: Here’s the breakdown of the Charlie Hebdo question: And the breakdown of […]