Experienced survey companies know that what people say they will do and what they actually end up doing are sometimes two different things.
They also know that picking the correct survey group to represent a broader population is crucial to obtaining useful results.
Our (unscientific) Twitter polls are largely seen only by this site's Twitter followers—some 9,000 of them at the moment—who likely don't represent the car-buying public at large.
That's why we're not too surprised that the results of our latest survey, asking what kind of car our followers may buy, came back the way they did.
You likely wouldn't expect useful results on future pickup-truck sales by asking only apartment dwellers in New York, Boston, and San Francisco whether they intend to buy one.
So our audience of green-car owners, fans, and advocates is likely to skew more toward certain types of cars than does the country at large.
What will your next new car be?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) January 8, 2018
Even still, the results had a remarkable skew toward one specific type of vehicle.
We essentially asked what kind of powertrain poll participants would choose in their next car.
The choices were conventional gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric. (We left out hydrogen fuel-cell because those cars are only available in select areas of one state.)
The results came in resoundingly on the side of cars that plug in.
Just 11 percent of respondents chose cars without plugs: 7 percent for a standard gas vehicle, only 4 percent for a conventional hybrid.
Another 16 percent chose a plug-in hybrid, but the overwhelming majority of poll participants—73 percent—said their next vehicle would be battery-electric.
2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
This is somewhat at odds with the current new-vehicle market, in which just under 200,000 new vehicles were sold with plugs, adding together battery-electrics and plug-in hybrids.
That's about 1 percent of the overall market of 17.5 million new vehicles.
Whether those respondents act on their stated intentions the next time they're at a car dealer with checkbook in hand, of course, would likely be a different survey altogether.
As always, please note that our Twitter polls are far from scientifically valid, due to small sample size and self-selection by those who choose to participate.