Surviving Feminism, Daytime Urbanites, Etc.

True or false: Men believe the women’s movement has wrecked their lives. To the more combative sort of feminist, the answer is embodied in the stereotype of bitter men brooding over the loss of male hegemony. No doubt there are plenty of men who fit the bill. But we learn from a CBS News survey that they’re not in the majority. Asked whether the women’s movement has made their own lives better or worse (or neither), 47 percent of men said “better” and 46 percent said “worse,” with 7 percent saying it hasn’t made a difference either way. Female respondents were more apt to say the women’s movement has changed their lives for the better, with 69 percent holding that opinion. Still, a significant minority of women—27 percent—said the movement has made their lives worse.

Forget mad cows. Chickens are the ones who ought to be peeved. In a poll by Opinion Research Corp., adults were asked whether they’re eating more or eating less of several foods. For beef, the eating-less vote was more than double the eating-more tally (34 percent vs. 16 percent). For chicken, eating-more trounced eating-less, 42 percent to 9 percent. Fish has more takers, too, with 32 percent eating more vs. 21 percent eating less. One might suppose the shift from beef reflects fear of mad-cow disease, but net anti-pork sentiment was even stronger (albeit just slightly): 34 percent of respondents said they’re eating less pork, while 14 percent said they’re eating more.

“Employee discounts” are all well and good. What consumers really want when they shop for a car, though, are low everyday prices. A Maritz Poll asked people whether they’d prefer a lower retail price to some incentives auto dealers often dangle. The lower price beat zero-percent financing by 57 percent to 43 percent, the employee discount by 69 percent to 31 percent, a cash-back rebate by 69 percent to 31 percent and a “no-haggle” price by 74 percent to 26 percent.

Given people’s weakness for wishful thinking about this life, we shouldn’t be surprised when they apply it to the afterlife as well. Thus, polls consistently find Americans more likely to believe in heaven than in hell. That holds true in a new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics survey, as the chart here indicates. Along the same lines, the devil has lagged behind God by as much as 31 percentage points in Fox polls dating back to the mid-1990s and has never trailed by fewer than 20 points. By the way, if you feel you’ve read about such polls in a previous life, that puts you in a minority: Just 27 percent of respondents said they believe in reincarnation.

“Sleeping Pill Use by Youths Soars, Study Says.” So said the headline of a recent story in The New York Times on a Medco Health Solutions study that examined the use of prescription sleeping pills. Among kids age 10-19, the number who used such drugs did indeed soar, nearly doubling. Looking at the actual numbers, though, we find that the incidence soared from about one-sixth of 1 percent of kids all the way up to one-third of 1 percent. The moral of the story for connoisseurs of statistics: When something starts from a tiny base, it can increase dramatically while still remaining tiny. As the article noted, usage of prescription sleeping medications rises with age. Among people 20-44, nearly 3 percent take them, as do more than 5 percent of those 45-64 and more than 6 percent of those 65 and older. It also tends to be a female practice. As Medco said in its own analysis of the data, “Females are far more likely to use sleeping aids than males. In 2004, there were 37 percent more girls age 19 and under, 58 percent more women ages 20-64, and 36 percent more women 65 and over taking sleeping medications than their male counterparts.”

Sounds like the Washington Nationals should play lots of day games. A Census Bureau report says the daytime population of Washington, D.C., is 72 percent higher on a weekday than the resident population. That’s the highest percentage differential for any city with a population above 500,000. While commuters add half-a-million souls to New York on a weekday, this makes the daytime population just 7 percent bigger than the resident population. Cities with large daytime gains include Atlanta (62 percent), Tampa (48 percent) and Pittsburgh (41 percent).