Bike Lanes More Popular Than God

A growing majority of New Yorkers support the creation of new bike lanes, according to a series of Quinnipiac polls.

New York City’s bike lanes are now officially more popular than God. So here’s a helpful tip to ambitious New York City politicians: it might just be time to get on board with bike lanes.

The latest survey of New Yorkers by the nationally respected Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows support for new bike lanes at a new high. 59 percent of New Yorkers support the expansion of the bicycle network, up from 54 percent in March. Only 35 percent now disapprove.

For some context, compare the 59 percent approval enjoyed by New York City bike lanes to a recent national poll which found only a 52 percent approval rating for God. The creation of the universe, to be fair, significantly outpolled new bike lanes, with 71 percent of Americans approving.

Back in the realm of the secular, more New Yorkers think bike lanes are a good thing than a bad thing across all racial categories and all age groups. Majority support for more bike lanes can be found in every borough but Staten Island.

Politicians may be interested to know that majorities of both Democrats and independents — the keys to any New York City campaign — support more bike lanes, as do union households.

“Despite months of misinformation and fake controversy, a growing majority of New Yorkers support these street safety improvements,” said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White. “New Yorkers are savvy people.”

  • Its great to hear Bike Lane support grew in a random poll, but just a few percentage points… and over a time when no new major lanes have been installed (Eastern Parkway broke ground, but still has a while to go)… well, i’m not sure this is all too earth shattering. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled support didn’t drop and do want it to constantly go up… but not sure a 5 percent bump is all too amazing.  Much more curious to know the numbers after bike share comes in.  Also, any idea how the poll was worded? If it’s do you support bike lanes… that’s ok, but if it’s a more accurate description, like do you support using traffic calming devices like bike lanes, etc to bring about safer streets… that might be even more telling.

  • carma

    The only problem i see with this survey is that the n sample is ridiculously small.  n=1234 is too miniscule a population of new yorkers.  it is NOT a majority of new yorkers.

    1234/8000000 is less than 1%.  that is not a majority.  it is a minority of a minority.

  • carma

    The only problem i see with this survey is that the n sample is ridiculously small.  n=1234 is too miniscule a population of new yorkers.  it is NOT a majority of new yorkers.

    1234/8000000 is less than 1%.  that is not a majority.  it is a minority of a minority.

  • carma

    The only problem i see with this survey is that the n sample is ridiculously small.  n=1234 is too miniscule a population of new yorkers.  it is NOT a majority of new yorkers.

    1234/8000000 is less than 1%.  that is not a majority.  it is a minority of a minority.

  • Here in Norwalk, CT, our local paper just ran a poll on the subject (http://www.thehour.com/pollresults.php?pollid=1095). Support is almost 70%. C’mon New York, catch up!

  • Ben Fried

    That’s not how sample sizes and statistics work.

  • fdr

    This is the same poll that showed Ray Kelly is the most popular choice to be the next Mayor.

  • Pollster

    Do you understand how polls work? Survey says: no.

  • “From July 19 – 25, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,234 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.”

    If it was the same margin last time, then the increase is within the margin of error, right?

    Still good news.

  • Anonymous

    Well, to put it in perspective, if Obama’s approval rating went up by three to five percentage points the White House would be planning for his third term.  Bloomberg would kill to have the approval ratings bike lanes enjoy right now.

    Even a small bump is really remarkable, considering the full-frontal assault on JSK, the mayor, and all things biking from the Post, Daily News, lesser rags like the Brooklyn Paper and CBS2.  New Yorkers aren’t as dumb as Steve Cuozzo and people like Jim Walden think they are.

    And doesn’t it a poll, not a survey?  It’s representative, so the small sample size can be extrapolated to speak for a larger number of New Yorkers.

  • Bicycling God

    And you gotta wonder how much more popular they would be if the news media stopped the constant barrage of negativity. News is completely out of touch with average New Yorkers and God.

  • Guest

    This was the wording:
    As you may know, there has been an expansion of bicycle lanes in New York City. Which comes closer to your point of view: A) This is a good thing because it’s greener and healthier for people to ride their bicycle, or B) This is a bad thing because it leaves less room for cars which increases traffic.

  • carma

    i do understand, and thats why if someone does a similar poll in staten island.  i can say that your poll will yield widely different results and claim its a representation of NYC.

  • Mike

    carma is having big problems with math on another thread too.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The poll is skewed anti-bike lane because the young are less likely to answer, a problem for all polls.

    But it is skewed pro-bike lane, from a political perspective, because the respondents aren’t measured according to their relative worth and sense of entitlement.  And that’s how our politicians view the world.

    As for Ray Kelly, how do you explain the fact that a bureacrat who has never held elective office outpolls a bunch of incumbent Democrats with significant electoral histories in an overwhelmingly Democratic city?  Is this a bizzare abberation?

    No.  Ed Koch ran against the Democratic machine in 1977, and was re-elected on both the Republican and Democratic lines twice after battling with local Democrats as Mayor.  Giuliani was a Republican, and Bloomberg ran as one.  That’s 10 of 11 elections the majority of New Yorkers voted against a Mayoral candidate seen as a representative of Democratic party interest groups.  The same New Yorkers who waited in line for hours to vote for President Obama.

    That’s what officeholders need to pay attention to.  Pander all you want to get the nomination.  But if there is a decent alternative on Election Day, which there ONLY has been for Mayor, those loyal Democrats will take it.  “Ray Kelly” means “not them.”

  • carma

    Mike, are you some financial/math wizard?  so stfu.

  • But if the same poll of 1,200 New Yorkers had a 60/40 split AGAINST bike lanes, it’s fine for all of the pro-automobile people to run with that until all non-auto infrastructure is burned off the pavement with acid, right?

    Perfect troll, 10/10

  • Eric McClure

    @d8d46f16f380afef59ca318522397233:disqus , they broke out the numbers for Staten Island, where a majority disapproves of bike lanes. 1234 people is a robust sample size, and projectable to all of New York City.

  • carma

    btw:  i do have a background in statistics.

    my point is that although i dont refute that ny’ers are in favor of the lanes, but that your sample is grossly small to claim that 1234 ny’ers are a majority.

    you can extrapolate those numbers to assume that your representation is 100% of ny’ers, but it will never be accurate.  yes, thats what a margin of error is.  but to claim that 1234 is a majority is VERY misleading.

  • Bolwerk

    Elected citywide offices are in the sense the only ones that approach actually democratic elections.  Districts are so gerrymandered that it’s hard for an outsider to overcome the power of incumbency. It’s likely that the technocrats who win those elections do so as a reaction against the entrenched council.

  • Mike

    carma has serious problems understanding numbers (on another thread s/he actually compared percentages of one thing with percentages of a completely separate thing), and any claims to a “background in statistics” are absurd.  of course no one is claiming that 1234 new yorkers are a majority.  it’s a *poll*.  it has a margin of error.  and every such poll has found similar results, making the effective margin of error even smaller.

  • Bolwerk

    Eh, well, margins of error are the margins of error within the poll.  There are other potential problems besides margin of error, like a crappy sample to begin with.

  • Bolwerk

     Eh, who said it’s a majority?  It’s a sample. 

  • Driver

    It seems to me that only sampling registered voters doesn’t make for an accurate sample.  Unless everyone in this city is a registered voter.  

  • carma

    Who said its a majority?
    Noah did.

    From Today’s Headlines.
    Another Poll, Another Strong Majority of New Yorkers Support Bike Lanes (News)

    STRONG MAJORITY is NOT < 1%.  im not doubting the poll, nor the claim from the poll. Im refuting that 1234 pollers do NOT represent a Strong Majority.

    i hope that makes it clear what im trying to say.  Mike seems to have a hard time.

  • Paul Bikehike

    compare the 59 percent approval enjoyed by New York City bike lanes to a recent national poll which found only a 52 percent approval rating for God. Amazing! No words to say.

  • Paul Bikehike

    compare the 59 percent approval enjoyed by New York City bike lanes to a recent national poll which found only a 52 percent approval rating for God. Amazing! No words to say.

  • carma

    Eric,

    Thats my point.  you can even say that you took a sampling from Staten Island and claim its a representation of NY.  technically speaking it is true.

  • carma

    Eric,

    Thats my point.  you can even say that you took a sampling from Staten Island and claim its a representation of NY.  technically speaking it is true.

  • Anonymous

    carma, I’m not sure where you got your statistics education, but you might want to ask for a refund.

    a sample size of 1,200 is plenty big enough to give robust results, especially if it uses fairly common stratification methods to achieve a sample representative of the population.

    I don’t know much about this particular survey, so maybe all 1200 people live in park slope, but unless you have some evidence of this nature your argument really doesn’t make any sense.

  • Bolwerk

     @SB_Driver:disqus : it does if you’re measuring registered voters.

  • Driver

    Carma, I think the majority refers to the majority of the sample size, which is SUPPOSED to be a representational cross section of the whole population. 

    Whether you can get an accurate representation of a city as vast and diverse as NYC with 1200 samples is questionable in my opinion. 

  • Driver

    Carma, I think the majority refers to the majority of the sample size, which is SUPPOSED to be a representational cross section of the whole population. 

    Whether you can get an accurate representation of a city as vast and diverse as NYC with 1200 samples is questionable in my opinion. 

  • Driver

    Carma, I think the majority refers to the majority of the sample size, which is SUPPOSED to be a representational cross section of the whole population. 

    Whether you can get an accurate representation of a city as vast and diverse as NYC with 1200 samples is questionable in my opinion. 

  • kevd

    So are no polls valid or useful in your logical universe?

    I’m not a statistician, and maybe 1234 isn’t a large enough sample size
    to draw meaningful conclusions.  But you seem to be saying, that because
    they didn’t ask everyone, the results are meaningless, which would imply that you don’t trust any poll, or even the concept of polling.

  • kevd

    So are no polls valid or useful in your logical universe?

    I’m not a statistician, and maybe 1234 isn’t a large enough sample size
    to draw meaningful conclusions.  But you seem to be saying, that because
    they didn’t ask everyone, the results are meaningless, which would imply that you don’t trust any poll, or even the concept of polling.

  • Bolwerk

    @carma:twitter : that’s an extrapolation from the poll. The claim is that the random sample polled reflects the population accurately, not that the members of the random sample polled themselves constitute a majority of New Yorkers. I don’t think anybody is having trouble with this concept.

  • Bolwerk

    @carma:twitter : that’s an extrapolation from the poll. The claim is that the random sample polled reflects the population accurately, not that the members of the random sample polled themselves constitute a majority of New Yorkers. I don’t think anybody is having trouble with this concept.

  • Anonymous

    I think the point was to see how the issue might play in the upcoming election, hence polling registered voters.

  • Bolwerk

     Well, given how God’s followers seem to be running amok the world over….

  • Bolwerk

     Well, given how God’s followers seem to be running amok the world over….

  • Bolwerk

     Well, given how God’s followers seem to be running amok the world over….

  • I think what Paco is saying isn’t that 5 percent is a completely useless amount. its that we are talking about 5 points in a Quinnipiac university poll about bike lane popularity.  Presidential approval ratings are a very well known thing however accurate or inaccurate they may be.  But a single poll about who does or does not like bike lanes is a completely different thing.  5 percent might be less than the degree of accuracy of this poll.  That’s what makes it less interesting.  It doesn’t really say much.

  • 1,234 is actually a larger sample than most national pollsters use in Presidential tracking polls.

  • carma

    @3a9cb377ae68ba7b489d30e5eb859747:disqus 

    i do think there is a problem when a headline claims to say a Majority of New Yorkers.

    look, on SB, there is no win here to present anything anti-bike.  am im going to perceive your responses thinking im anti bike which i am not.

    but honestly, you can use any statistic to claim anything.  and the headline stating that “Majority of New Yorkers” is a very stretched claim.  i am saying this from a neutral perspective.

  • carma

    Chris,

    A poll taken from Fox News versus a poll from NBC will have WIDELY different results.  Or better, Rasmussen vs. Quinnipiac.
    So yes, you do have to question the polls, and the source.

    You get the point.

  • vnm

    Paco, my takeaway from this news is that The Media-Driven Bikelash was all smoke and no fire. Hyperventilating by pundits and reporters was neither an indication of changes among New Yorkers as a whole, nor a catalyst for erosion in support for bikes. It’s really good news.

  • carma, define WIDELY. The latest NBC and Fox News polls on the president’s approval rating varied by two percentage points. The Quinnipiac poll sampled a proportion of the New York population more than 50x larger than the national polls sample the national population. The methodology is strong, and the sample is not “ridiculously small,” as you first asserted.

    In fact, if a national poll were to have as statistically significant a sample as this Q-Poll, it would have to poll almost 50,000 people. Even the largest national poll in the ’08 Presidential Election sampled about 3,000 – and none of them were outside their margin of error compared with the final result.

    If you have an issue with polls in general, fine, just say that. Don’t nitpick this particular poll when the methodology is on solid ground.

  • carma

    Chris, widely to me is 5% points.  in fact, during the bush years, FOX consistently gave bush higher approval ratings than NBC polls.
    sure, sometimes, that trend would reverse with FOX having lower approval than NBC.

    you know what, regardless of how accurate polls are, you can skew the results so greatly.

    A Whopping 60% dissaprove.  versus 40% approve of the measure.

    I stand by my point saying that to use Majority in the context of this poll is grossly misleading

  • The MoE on this is +/- 2.8%. The MoE on the March poll was +/- 2.9%. So technically, yes, that five percent could be within the margin of error. But at worst, poll numbers didn’t budge by more than a couple tenths of a percentage point despite the barrage of negative media coverage. At best, they grew in the face of the negative media coverage. Either way, it’s a win-win for supporters of bike lanes.

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