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The Weekly Exit Poll


Apparently Minyans love gambling, are split on Iran, don't believe in alternative fuels, think Ford is done, and advocate commercial flights for journalists...


Minyanville has always been about community, sharing knowledge and ideas as well as opinions and perspectives. With that in mind, we've recently launched a daily poll pertaining to events going on in the world and issues that help paint the daily and longer-term tape that we follow so closely. With that, we encourage you to take part in the polls by voting, but also expanding on the options we provide you with your own thoughts on the issues. Every week we'll sum up the week's thoughts here in an "Exit Poll".

We started off the week on Monday looking to get your thoughts on the legalization of on-line gambling, a booming business which the U.S. government has recently stepped up its efforts to try and cripple, with the Department of Justice recently issuing subpoenas to at least four Wall St investment banks in their investigation into the multi-billion dollar industry.

We're not here to judge in Minyanville, and value your thoughts, and of course there are no wrong answers in an opinion poll, but 12.3% of you said it should be illegal to gamble online. I trust that's because you run your own book and would go out of business if online gambling became legal. Either that, or you definitely didn't grow up at the track, OTB or with the telephone being referred to as, "my gambling device," by your father like some of us. A quarter of you equated some of the new ploys by online brokerages such as Bank of America offering free online trading to gambling, while 54.5% were confused as to how the government can allow you to "invest" in horse races around the country, but placing a bet on the Super Bowl is illegal.

Many of you questioned slot machines popping up everywhere, as well as state lotteries providing "gambling" outlets. Minyan Marc opines that: While our government is crossing international borders to stop on line gaming, slot machines are on their way to every street corner in and around Philadelphia. So while Mr Jones from Fishtown can blow his Social Security check on the slots, I can't bet 50 bucks on the Eagles. Totally absurd! Good point. A little more suspect is the desire to bet on the Eagles.

Other great points raised by the Minyanship included the amount of tax dollars to the U.S. that online gambling companies would pay if it was legalized, assuming companies would return from their foreign bases, and that the difference between horse racing and on-line gambling is that the pony industry had a better lobby and connections.

Forgot to vote on Monday? Don't worry, click here to do so. We're like Broward County, we'll keep counting votes as long as you keep voting.

On Tuesday, in what has become an increasingly intensifying issue of global importance, we asked your thoughts on whether or not the U.S.A. will end up going to war with Iran. We posed the question ahead of Dubya's State of the Union address, with the thought that he might touch on the tension there among other things.

The results in terms of yes or no were split 47/53, but the overwhelming majority of the yes votes felt that this has already been planned by the powers that be and is just a matter of time. The "no" votes were much more split, with 24.8% feeling that troops are stretched too thin already, and 28.3% believing that it won't come to war but that Iran will be "confronted" by Israel with staunch U.S. support.

This will remain a touchy subject for months to come, and though we try to keep politics out of the 'Ville, geopolitical concerns such as this could have a great effect on the stock and commodity markets.

Again, this is an issue that we'll undoubtedly revisit, so let your voice be known on the issue if you haven't already by voting here.

In Tuesday night's State of the Union address, President Bush laid out certain energy goals he has for the United States in an effort to rely less upon oil. At the forefront of this plan is the promotion of alternative fuels and his hopes that the U.S. can reduce its gasoline usage by 20% over the course of the next decade. Wednesday, we wanted to know if you felt this is feasible. Click here to vote if you haven't.

More than half (51.4%) of you said that the plan isn't ambitious or feasible enough, with an additional 17.5% thinking the plan is a good one, but the timeframe is simply not enough. Of the "yes" votes, 18% of you felt it would be moving in the right direction, but additional legislation and help from Congress would be necessary. Just under 13% believe that this plan is what is needed to move away from oil dependency. That 13% has already gotten their cars converted to run on ethanol and bought a corn farm to expedite the decline in gasoline dependency, right? Slackers.

On Thursday, we took a look at the well documented struggles of the American automobile industry following Ford Motor's quarterly report, which showed a significant loss for the quarter ($5.8 bln) and for the year ($12.7 bln). Their forecast for the coming year wasn't exactly sunny skies and 75 degrees either, but did assure us that turnaround efforts are underway. We wanted to know what you thought it would take to save the company built by Henry Ford. Click here to vote if you haven't done so.

Simply put, optimism wasn't running high from the Minyanship on Ford's ability to turn it around and become the company it once was. Nearly 43% of you laid to rest the dreams that the assembly line and Model-T brought to life, saying there was nothing that could be done to save Ford. For those that listen to George Michael and have faith in the company, it was a dead heat between those who felt that new models of cars and trucks could do the trick, and those who felt the only way to get back to profitability is a merger with another automaker. Not surprisingly, only 10% of you believed that CEO Mulally's restructuring is the best course of action.

Finally, on Friday we dipped into the "controversy" that has crossed over anywhere from the front page, to the business section to Page Six over the course of the past week. For those of you that stick to the back page, we're talking about the backlash from Citigroup's former head of global wealth management's sudden departure, followed by a number of questionable expenses and practices over the past year. Perhaps the "juiciest" issue came with the reports that last year, Thompson arranged for CNBC's Maria Bartiromo to fly back from China on the company's jet. What's so bad about that, you ask? He left members of his team from Citigroup to make their own arrangements for the return trip. CNBC insists no wrong doing on their part, and that they made proper payment arrangements. I don't think Chuck Prince took it quite in stride, and Maria is now banned from the Citigroup jet. We wanted to know if you felt that's she should be barred from the plane. Click here to vote.

Not surprisingly, just over 57% of you felt this was an appropriate move as it creates the potential for conflicts of interest. Nearly 30% were fine with a journalist being on the plane, but felt the jump seat should be reserved for a sweeter piece of eye candy like Lou Dobbs. Meanwhile, apparently 7.5% of you have read CNBC's ethics manual and decided that Maria did not violate those standards. A whopping 5% put trust in her journalistic integrity and deemed her a professional with the ability to remain objective. .

Maria's been awfully quiet on the issue, but she's been in Davos this week reporting from the world economic forum. There have been no reports as to her flight arrangements or ski tab out there. For the record, Maria, I feel your pain, as I too have been barred from a few places in my day. You just have to keep your chin up and remember that no matter where you're barred from, there's always another one the next block down.

If you're still reading this, I suppose I owe you a thanks, or an apology. I do, however, want to encourage you to share your thoughts with us on a daily basis on the topics presented in polls. Each poll has a link to email us. Also, please feel free to email us with any topic suggestions throughout the week. I'm hoping the Exit Polls will be mostly sharing your thoughts and less of my ramblings.

Enjoy your weekend.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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