Good Things to Know… About the Super Bowl

While Deflate-Gate has occupied much of the nation’s attention as we approach the kickoff to Super Bowl XLIX, Opinions 4 Good (Op4G) has decided to bring relevancy back to the conversation.  This week we surveyed 1000 people (balanced across gender, age, income, ethnicity, and education) to find out what people are really thinking about the big game.

And so without further ado, we present to you the first annual Opinions 4 Good “Good Things to Know” about the Super Bowl Survey.

Let’s begin by looking into the percentage of folks who intend to watch the game on Sunday.  A whopping 86% plan to watch the entire game while only 12% don’t plan to watch at all.  That’s a lot of American attention focused on a very narrow band of prime time.  It’s not hard to see why the Super Bowl commercials are a highly expensive commodity.

Speaking of commercials, the word on the street suggests we have a few surprises in store for us.  We asked our respondents which company will have the “best” (relative to individual preferences) commercial this year from among these companies: Bud Light, Coca-Cola, Doritos, Dove Men+Care, GoDaddy, McDonald’s,, Old Spice, and Pepsi.  The hands-down winner was Bud Light by a wide margin with nearly 34% of the votes.  The runner up, according to public perception was Doritos at 23%.  There’s no doubt that beer and chips have always gone well together and at $4.5 Million for a 30 second spot, America agrees.

We found some interesting insights into what many feel is the “greatest show on earth,” halftime at the Super Bowl.  While we know that Katy Perry will be the headlining performer, we asked people whether they’d be interested in watching and 63% said “yes”.  Conversely, over 1/3 of our respondents indicated they have no interest in seeing Katy Perry perform… curious result, to say the least.  We also know that Idina Menzel, a Broadway performer, will be singing the national anthem.  On a more patriotic note, 78% of people intend to watch the singing of our national anthem.

Ok let’s talk about food.  You can’t watch the Super Bowl without having something to snack on during this 4 hour T.V. marathon.  We asked people, of these four snacks (Chips and Salsa / Guacamole, Veggies and Dip, Wings, Pizza), which is your favorite Super Bowl appetizer?  According to our panel, the king of munchies is Chips and Salsa / Guacamole at 32% of the votes.  True to American form, Veggies and Dip came in last at 13%. The timing of this game with our New Year Resolutions couldn’t be worse.

Americans do like a good party and the Super Bowl appears to be one of the many excuses to have one.  While 38% of our respondents plan to watch the game at home, nearly 50% will go to or host a party on Sunday.

Given all you just learned, it’s time to talk about the outcome. If you believe in the validity of crowd-sourced predictions for the future, you may want to pay attention to this.  We asked folks, “Who do you think is going to win Super Bowl XLIX?”  We found that 53.75% of people believe that the Seahawks will win.  When we probed a little further it was revealed that 79% think the result will be a close score.  Take that at face value, or take it to the bank.  The choice is yours.

Last but certainly not least, we asked the following, “Do you plan to support a non-profit organization in 2015?” We found that 82% of our respondents said “Yes!”  That’s certainly not a surprise, given that we are Opinions 4 Good.  And with that, we’d like to thank all the good people who participated in our Survey Bowl survey.

This study was fielded from January 26th to January 28th.  Data was collected from 1000 respondents and was balanced across gender, age, income, ethnicity, and education.

About Op4G: 
Op4G provides client access to a unique database of highly qualified leaders and engaged members who participate in internet-based research for the opportunity to earn funds for themselves and/or to donate up to 100% of their earnings directly to one of our partnering charities. Since beginning client delivery in June 2010, our clients’ incentive funds have allowed our panel members to redirect over $389,000 to our growing number of non-profits. Panel member trust is the key to our quality data. Each element of Op4G is designed to fiercely protect our Members’ privacy. Every activity is opt-in, every survey participant is anonymous, and every member is in full control of their secure information.


Flickr Image Credit: Mike Mozart


American Sniper Triggers Key Conversation

587578Americans are abuzz over American Sniper. The Clint Eastwood film grossed $105 million in its opening weekend, more than The Hobbit and Avatar. It has shattered January box office records in “red and blue states, small and large cities, tiny towns — everywhere”. Furthermore, it has earned 6 Academy Award nominations, including for best picture and best leading actor.

But Americans are buzzing about more than the blockbuster sales and moving performances. They are also embroiled in a heated debate on the subject of the film, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Kyle completed four tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2009. During this time, he racked up 160 confirmed enemy kills, making him the most lethal US sniper in history.

In 2009, Kyle received an honorable discharge after 10 years of service. He returned to Texas and wrote a best-selling memoir, in which he claimed to have killed over 200 enemy combatants, 2 Texan car thieves, and 30 looters after Hurricane Katrina. Ironically, Kyle met his end in 2013 when he “was shot point-blank and killed by Eddie Ray Routh, a veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”.

American Sniper, and its profile of Kyle, has provoked intense reactions on both sides. Some argue that the film glorifies a “misanthropic, racist, stone-cold killer”. In Los Angles, vandals painted “Murder!” on a billboard for the film. Others call the film “jingoistic propaganda”. Actor Seth Rogan, for example, likened it to the Nazi propaganda movie in Inglorious Basterds. But perhaps the most incendiary comments came from director and anti-gun activist, Michael Moore. Quoting his father, Moore stated that sniper “aren’t heroes” but “cowards [that] will shoot you in the back”. He noted that Martin Luther King Jr, honored this week, was “killed by a sniper’s bullet”.

On the flip side, many have fervently defended the film. Former Navy SEAL sniper instructor Brandon Webb says that the film “[celebrates] a hero...when the country needs a hero”. Country singer and veteran Craig Morgan hailed the film’s depiction of military sacrifice, stating “you have no idea what it takes for this country to maintain our freedoms”. And the often-controversial Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook: “God bless our troops, especially our snipers”.

Spokespeople for the film have a more measured response. Bradley Cooper, who portrayed Kyle, explains that “the film wasn’t intended to be political but a human story about a soldier’s life and internal struggles…We hope that you can have your eyes opened to the struggle of the soldier rather than the specifics of the war”. The filmmakers concur, asserting that they “wanted the movie to be a thoughtful character study of the most lethal military sniper in U.S. history”.

Regardless of your perspective, one thing is clear: American Sniper has triggered a critical conversation about America’s veterans (generating twice the average twitter volume for films). As noted in past blogs, these veterans face major challenges during the transition from military to civilian life, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the words of Cooper, “We need to pay attention to our vets … people are coming home, and we have to take care of them”.

Thus, please consider supporting Hope for the Warriors, the Fisher House Foundation, or our partners: Give an Hour, Honoring the Path, and Still Serving Veterans.

Flickr photo credit: Mike Mozart



Adding Fuel to the Fire: Will Plunging Oil Prices Hurt the Environment?

2131Oil prices are in free fall. On Monday, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell below $50 for the first time since 2009. This compares to a price of $105 per barrel just 6 months prior. Certainly, a drop of this magnitude could have considerable economic and geopolitical implications. But how will it impact the environment?

On one hand, analysts argue that the slide in oil prices could generate environmental benefits and opportunities. Foremost, the lower price of oil reduces the incentive of energy companies to drill for more. According to one shale pioneer, companies will “pull back and won’t drill until the price recovers”. This is particularly true for high cost oil fields with break-even points above $50 per barrel. Many such fields contain heavier oils, which require significantly more energy to extract/refine and create greenhouse gas footprints “nearly twice as large as lighter oils”. Thus, in the words of the National Resources Defense Council, “Low prices keep the dirty stuff in the ground”.

Secondly, the drop in oil prices and production will hurt the energy sector’s bottom line. While big oil can likely weather the storm, many junior oil companies will struggle to secure enough profit and financing to remain in business. In fact, some believe that OPEC is intentionally suppressing oil prices to “clean up the marginal market”. Already, the number of junior oil companies in Canada’s oil sands has fallen from 94 in 2007 to 43 (as of Q3 2014). This decline in oil companies could further reduce oil extraction.

Additionally, low oil prices will make it more “politically feasible to implement the carbon pricing reforms…necessary for significantly reducing emissions”. Consumers will “more readily accept” a carbon tax, for example, than when oil prices are already high. Hence, according to Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson, “If governments want a carbon tax…[2015] would be the best time”. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers adds that “It would be a hugely important symbolic step ahead of the global climate summit in Paris late this year”.

But lower oil prices could also produce significant adverse environmental effects. The clearest effect is on oil consumption, which produces the greenhouse gases linked to climate change. Basic economics dictates that as the price of oil declines, there will be “more oil use now”. The same is true for oil products (e.g. gasoline) or complements (e.g. cars and flights).

Consider gasoline, for example. Cheaper oil translates into cheaper gasoline, as “crude oil accounts for about half of the price of gasoline at the pump”. In the short-term, this may lead to longer or more frequent vehicle use. Over the long-term, it may encourage consumers to purchase less fuel efficient vehicles or homes further from the city. Consequently, economists estimate that a 25% drop in gasoline prices could increase gasoline consumption by 2 – 5% immediately and 10 to 20% over the long-term.

With increased consumption of oil and oil products, the demand for alternative energy will also fall. This includes wind, geothermal, and solar energy (which was cheaper than oil before the drop). Likewise, “a sustained period of low oil prices will dampen investment in alternative technologies”, which appear “less urgent”. Governments could attempt to counter such effects through subsidies to producers or consumers. However, subsidies would need to increase as the price gap between oil and alternative power grows. For these reasons, some maintain that collapsing oil prices will “derail the green energy revolution”.

In sum, the net environmental impact of plummeting oil prices is “not immediately clear”. What is clear is that “Whether oil’s price tag is high or low, neither ensures climate protection”. So what, then, is the best long-term price of oil, from an environmental perspective According to experts at Harvard University, the ideal price range could be between $60 and $80. At $75 a barrel, for example, the price is “high enough to keep investments flowing into alternatives, while giving energy companies less reason to pursue expensive and risky oil fields that also pose the greatest threat to the environment”.

To support or learn more about alternative energy, please contact Clean Energy Now, GRID Alternatives, or our partners, Solar Sonoma County[xxxi] and Clean Air Cool Planet.

Flickr photo credit: taylorandayumi