The Most Popular Answers Contest II: The Results

A couple weeks ago I published my second quiz in which I asked people to give what they think would be the most popular answer to each of 10 prompts. This time around I tried making the best answers slightly less obvious, and I think I may have succeeded too well — fully eight out of ten had at least fifteen unique responses given! Still, it was a lot of fun and 54 people took part this time around, so I might end up making another one of these in the future. I have a couple of ideas for twists to use.

Let’s go through each of the prompts:

Enter a really big number

A million and a billion were the most frequent numbers here, though no one chose a “normal” number higher than that. Eight people thought they were oh-so-smart (and I guess they were!) for literally entering “a really big number”. For those curious, a googol is 1 followed by 100 zeros, Graham’s number was for a while the largest number ever used in a mathematical proof, ℵ_0 (aleph-null) is a way to describe how large certain infinite sets are but isn’t itself infinity, and 420 is the weed number. And yes, someone did in fact enter in a 9 followed by 2,275 zeroes.

Name a video game

Super Mario Bros., being the iconic classic video game, earned the top spot. Animal Crossing, the latest craze, was tied for 2nd with another Nintendo classic, Mario Kart. Console games ruled the day, with the top PC entry (League of Legends) only netting 3 points. I was honestly a bit surprised that Pokemon only got one vote, though I suspect a lot of Pokemon fans would also be inclined to consider the other top answers as well.

[Note: People entered both “Animal Crossing” and “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”. Since the former is commonly used as a shorthand for the latter, I grouped them together even though Animal Crossing is technically the name of the Nintendo 64/Game Cube entry in the series.]

What is a book you had to read in school?

Of the 9 books that got answered multiple times, I had to read 8 of them for school, with the lone exception being To Kill a Mockingbird. Last contest’s top answer of Romeo and Juliet got another appearance, but with only 3 points this time. George Orwell was the most popular author, with 9 people choosing one of his two most famous works. Cradle to Cradle and As the Future Catches You were books everyone in my high school had to read during the summer, which explains their inclusion in the list.

Name a war

This was by far the answer with the most consensus. Coming into this, I thought that more people would pick the Civil War, though the major international conflict ended up winning by a large margin.

Name a constellation in the zodiac

I was very interested in how this one would go, because culturally there are only 12 possible answers and no one answer would be any more important than another. There ended up being a very even distribution, with eight constellations getting within half of the most popular answer. Of the 12, Taurus was the only one that didn’t make it on the list.

If you use the astronomical definition of the zodiac, which is the region of the sky approximately 9 degrees from the ecliptic where the planets can be spotted, then Orion is in fact a valid answer. Once again Ophiuchus gets snubbed despite crossing the ecliptic. One of these days it will get the recognition it deserves! Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper are considered asterisms, groups of stars that are not themselves constellations.

Give a girl’s name

There’s not really much of a correlation between popular baby names and the top answers here. Sarah, the #1 answer, was the 44th-most popular girl’s name in the 2010s. Meanwhile, Sophia was the second-most frequent gir’s name in the decade but was not entered here once. For the sake of this contest, I combined Ann and Anne as well as Sara and Sarah, as they appear to be simply variant spellings of each other with no etymological differences.

Name an Olympic sport that isn’t swimming

Swimming was excluded because I suspected that it could otherwise be the most popular answer by far, and because I wanted to see if anyone would go ahead and pick swimming anyway. No one ended up doing that this time around. Gymnastics and athletics were the two most popular sports by a large margin, which makes sense as they get a lot of prime-time coverage and they usually aren’t seen outside the Olympics. I had to make a lot of judgement calls here as to which answers I should group, but I ultimately decided that “running” was the same thing as “track”, which was a subset of “track and field”.

What is your least favorite state?

This one had the most variety of any prompt, with 22 different answers (and 20 of them being actual states). The south had quite a bit of representation here, as well as perennial butt of jokes New Jersey. Maryland got answered a few times thanks to there being a lot answerers being from Virginia. On the other hand, it seems like everyone more or less at least tolerates the Midwest and New England, with Ohio and Connecticut the only states in those regions to make the list.

Name a brand of car

This was only the second question to have fewer than 15 different answers given. Here, there was a more even split between Ford and Toyota, with a few other scattered answers. Chevrolet, despite being the third-highest selling car brand in the US, was not chosen once.

Name a TV show

The Office and Friends, two of the biggest sitcoms of the 90s and 2000s, top the list here. The vast majority of shows answered are off the air, with The Simpsons and Jeopardy! being the two major exceptions. That 70s Show was a repeat answer that surprised me, though cursory research has told me it was a lot more popular than I had initially thought.

The Scores

Congratulations to Asher who once again claimed the top prize! His score of 35.33 was almost 2 full points higher than Bobby, our second place finisher. Bobby actually had the highest number of most popular answers with 7, only missing out on naming a TV show, Olympic sport, and zodiac constellation. Anne, Six, Briana, JZ, Becca, Benji, Will D, and Finn round out our top 10, and each of them got over 30 total points each. A perfect score this time around would be 37.76, so they all did very well.

I’ve included the answers for the top 5 finishers, the complete standings, and the raw data of all the entries below this.

Number1,000,0001,000,0001,000,000Graham's number1,000,000
Video GameSuper Mario Bros.Super Mario Bros.Mario KartSuper Mario Bros.Animal Crossing
Book for SchoolThe Catcher in the RyeThe Great GatsbyThe Catcher in the RyeTo Kill a MockingbirdRomeo and Juliet
WarWorld War IIWorld War IIWorld War IIWorld War IIWorld War II
Girl's NameSarahSarahMaryMarySarah
Olympic SportTrackTrack and FieldGymnasticsGymnasticsTrack
Worst StateFloridaAlabamaNew JerseyTexasOhio
Brand of CarToyotaFordFordFordFord
TV ShowGame of ThronesJeopardy!FriendsThe OfficeThe Office
NameScoreRank# Most
Will D30.2894
Emily Gunter28.75135
Laura Handley28.34144
Alex D.26.2234
Sarah G26254
Victor Prieto24.88303
Late to Dinner24.26362
Joe Nutter22.14412
Michael UwU21.55434
Dan L17.98471
Ian D17.4480

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