Y2k fears subsiding, poll shows

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This is front page in USA Today. My comments in brackets. Fears of the year 2000 computer bug have eased among the American Public even as many say they will prepare for the worst.[I never really noticed much fear among the general public...most appeared to me to be very nonchalant about y2k] A USA Today/National Science Foundation poll finds that 34% expect major problems in 2000, when many computers may be unable to interpret a date ending in two zeros. But that number is down from 48% in June who anticipated major problems. [48%?....in JUNE?] "It refects some underlying confidence[or naivate] that we are working the problem," says John Koskinen, who chairs the federal Council on Year 2000 Conversion. "But we need to get hard information out there so people can get a handle on where the real risks are." [Earth to Clinton....Earth to Clinton!] Although fears of a calamity have subsided,[who the he-- did these people poll?]a full 83% anticipated at least "minor problems." In fact 26% say they intend to stockpile food and water; 31% intend to set aside a large amount of cash.[But, they only expect minor inconveniences.......methinks the actions don't jibe with the responses.] But, with 79% saying they have heard "some or a great deal" about y2k, some complacency is evident: ~ 54% agree with the statement, "y2k will cause only minor disruptions and inconveniences." ~ 61% say they expect either no problems or only minor problems, up from 48% in June. ~ Most computer owners say they don't know whether their PCs are ready for 2000; half say they will just " wait and see what happens." ~ "I don't think they know enough about it to make that judgement," says Rep Steve Horn, R-Calif, who has issued quarterly report cards on the government's y2k progress. [And, I ask all public servants, who's fault is that?]"What worries us most is the power grid....A power blackout(in some areas) is entirely possible." The nationwide poll of 1032 adults by the Gallup Organization Dec. 9-13 has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. [Do any of you posters know how Gallup chooses their respondants?] "I'm not encouraged by this polling result," says Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., co-chair of the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000. "You can't tell this story in a sound byte, and unless I say a plane is going to crash...(Y2K) kind of glazes the eyes."

-- Alive in 2001 (outthere@somewhere.com), December 31, 1998


"I don't think they know enough about it to make that judgement," says Rep Steve Horn, R-Calif."

Yep. Polls will shift when "events" get reported. Stay tuned as John Koskinen continues spinning the "public" web v.s. the "back-channel" Washington D.C. web. Different info for different folks.

Diane *Sigh*

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 31, 1998.

Poll: Most Americans believe Y2K bug will cause minor problems

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), December 31, 1998.

There's another major, nationwide poll just conducted by a Florida-based group that found that 69% of Americans think that Y2K will be either "serious" or "very serious." It's difficult to reconcile the results of these two polls, except to note that poll figures may vary widely according to the way certain questions were asked, and that most Americans really know little about the Y2K problem specifically and so probably have vague, fluctuating feelings about it. A survey a few months ago found that only 37% of American men and 22% of American women had even minimal knowledge of the Y2K problem itself. Most still couldn't define, say, an "embedded system" to save their life.

Also remember that, as Yourdon has noted, even Y2K "experts" may fluctuate in their opinions depending on their mood that day, the latest news report they've seen, the progress (or lack thereof) in the last company they've visited, etc. Look at the fluctuating, if not sometimes schizophrenic, public statements of even Marcoccio, Rubin, de Jager, etc., over the past few months. So don't expect consistent, firm views among the American public (especially since these are the same Americans who profess to admire a president that they also think is untrustworthy and a liar). Logical thinking has never been the forte of most Americans; in these days of Wall Street mania and a "shop 'til you drop" mentality, rationality is basically on holiday.

Of course the lack of rationality cuts both ways; the same poll (conducted by the Florida-based group noted above) found that 15% of Americans think it is at least "somewhat likely" that the world will end in 2000! If there's one thing that worries me more than Y2K, it's the media attention that will be increasingly given to paramilitary groups, terrorists, and extreme religious fundamentalists of all stripes as the year 2000 approaches. One wonders about the way that such apocalyptic visions might impact crowd psychology.

-- Don Florence (dflorence@zianet.com), December 31, 1998.

Let me get this straight.

USA Today/Gallup called 1,032 people on the telephone (that's about four ten thousandths of ONE percent of the US population) and asked them some questions (which were undoubdtedly designed to show what the "pollsters" wanted them to "show" anyway) and I'm supposed to believe that this in any way shape or form tells me what "my fellow Americans" are thinking?

Please! Give me a break!

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), December 31, 1998.

I think Cory sums it up (WRP 106): "There's a lot of wishful thinking and creative status reporting going on. A last flurry of denial articles adds to the confusion."

-- a (a@a.a), December 31, 1998.


It's been too long for me to work the formula for statistical confidence, but, if these folks were truly randomly selected, the only to spin the poll is to shape the Q and A. This many people, dandomly selected and asked unbiased questions will get you a valid look at the country to within abuot 3 points. Someone with more current sadistics background can probably demonstrate this with the requisite formulae.

(All I remember is that the threshold for confidence is at 32)


-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 31, 1998.

Survey: Get Y2K out of the English language

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) - With a year to go before the end of the millennium, ``Y2K'' is already passe.

The term used in discussions about an end-of-this-year computer glitch topped the 23rd annual list of banished words released today by Lake Superior State University.

``It's already so overused I believe people's eyes glaze over when confronted with it,'' said John Charles Robbins, a columnist for the Petoskey News-Review.

The school releases the list each Jan. 1 from submissions gathered from academia, advertising, business, journalism, the military, politics and sports.
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 01, 1999.

In college I was given a polling project to do. I formulated the questions to fit my preconceived opinion and the results were exactly what I had figured they would be. All of my opinions were verified by the formulation of my poll questions. Don't lick polls if it is to cold out there?

-- Mark Hillyard (foster@inreach.com), January 01, 1999.


If you look at your computer screen (which, presumably you are doing right now) and consider that 4 ten thousandths of one percent is somewhere between 2 and 3 pixels (depending on what screen resolution you're running) and then randomly select any 2 or three pixels, select any information you want to about them and then present that information any way that you want to, do you seriously expect me to believe that you can ascertain anything meaningful about the other 99.9996% of whatever picture is on your screen?

No offense, but if you believe that, I've got some terrific Arizona waterfront property that you should look at!

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), January 02, 1999.

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