Survey of Young People Shows Strong Opposition to Earlier Bar Closing Times

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beer-barby Bob Fung
Civenergy did a quick internet survey after the November 18th community forum on Davis nightlife.  At the forum, it was clear that young people were underrepresented so we put together a survey which posed the 3 issues discussed at the forum:  closing times, seating, and restricting the hours of certain forms of alcohol (e.g., pitchers).   The survey was put out on social media with a focus on young people who participate in Davis nightlife.  Civenergy had 49 people (mostly between the ages of 21-30) respond to the survey in two days.
Of the 49 people that filled out the survey, a large majority were in the young adult age range we were targeting.  42 were in the 18-30 range with 7 people over 30. 35 of the survey respondents were Davis Residents, 12 were students, and the final 6 consisted of Alumni and residents of Woodland and Sacramento. 43 out of the 49 respondents participated regularly in Davis nightlife, 2 do not participate, and the remainder were out of town people who do go out when they visit.
With respect to their responses to the 3 questions, 41 out of the 49 responses (84%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with changing closing times for bars/nightclubs to midnight.   On regulating when certain forms (e.g., pitchers of alcohol) were served, 68% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with that kind of proposed regulation.   On maintaining seating requirements,  the response was in contrast more balanced  36% of respondents were neutral, with 10% in strong agreement and 17% strongly disagreeing.
Here’s the link to the survey results:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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26 thoughts on “Survey of Young People Shows Strong Opposition to Earlier Bar Closing Times”

  1. Tia Will

    Since the survey targeted the specific group of individuals known to frequent  these establishments, would one anticipate the result to have been any different ? In the interest of actual information, the survey should also have included members of the same age group who do not specifically frequent these establishments. I don’t see how cherry picking a specific subset of young people and then putting the information out as though it represents this age demographic sheds much light on the issue.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      Tia, I think you’re missing a key point here – the Vanguard discussion in October, the City discussion in November, neither of them had any real inclusion of students – don’t we want to know where they fall on this even if it is only to confirm what we already suspect?  That was the purpose here of publishing this piece.

      1. Tia Will


        I don’t think that I missed anything. I know that the young people who frequent these establishments were poorly represented. I was there. I also know that young people who do not frequent these establishments were poorly represented at the forum, and are still poorly represented since the survey excluded their voices thus not representing the entire demographic but those handpicked to support the night clubs.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          The survey didn’t exclude their voices, it’s just that those who participated tended to be reflect one group of people. I don’t think this is the end of the discussion, but rather it’s a piece of the discussion that was previously missing.

        2. Frankly

          WTH?   Do you even listen to yourself?

          So if the survey was earlier closing time for the library you would complain that we did not ask all the people that don’t go to the library?  Come on doctor, think it through.

      2. Steve McMahon

        The methodology described here is that of a petition — not a survey. It’s as valid a representation of opinion as the comments period at a City Council meeting. But you really can’t claim that it tells us anything about the opinions of students in general.

    2. Barack Palin

      Tia, do you not like the poll because of what you view as a flawed process or because you don’t like the results?

      BTW I agree with you, only 49 participants and all who most likely are part of the night club scene so no surprise there (DUH! was my first reaction to reading this).

      But, in turn, we’ve also had conversations about a few local activists with agendas speaking before the CC where I say they don’t represent the core of Davis and you have refuted me on this.  You can’t have it both ways.

      1. Tia Will


        I am not trying to have it both ways. In order for a poll to be meaningful it must be a large enough sample and it must include a cross section of the demographic it is supposedly representing. I was speaking to process only.

        To illustrate, if we were to ask only people who use automobiles as their sole means of transportation what they see as the most important infrastructure need, they will likely answer potholes in our roads. If we ask the same question of people who walk around town as their means of transportation, they are likely to say well maintained sidewalks and greenbelts. A poll to provide meaningful information should include a broad range of views, not those of a pre-selected few.

        Had the article been titled Survey of A Few Young People Who Like to Hang Out in Night Clubs, I would have had no problem with the article and would have completely agreed with David that it provided a viewpoint not heard in the forums.

        However, I would also point out that the view point of my children who are in this demographic and find this kind of drinking to inebriation disgusting and ridiculous behavior has still not been heard. I find it hard to believe that mine are the only two young people in Davis who feel this way.

        1. Frankly

          The ONLY people that should be counted as having a valid opinion about proposed earlier closing times of an establishment are the people that actually frequent the establishment.  We already know what the grumpy old core residents think.

    3. Bob Fung


      I do think the responses were interesting and not what I  expected.  I expected that they would just say strongly disagree with all 3 questions whereas the respondents were really against changing the closing time but didn’t really care that much about the seating.





  2. PhilColeman

    My college major required me to take the most boring and difficult course I ever attended, “Statistics.”  At the time I thought it was a total waste of time and tuition. Since then, I’ve never been more appreciative taking that course, learning the fundamental requirements for an objective and comprehensive statistical survey of a sample population.

    This column relies on something that wasn’t a statistical survey, it was a self-fulfilling prophesy. If UCD offers a statistics class the designer of this survey should be chained to a desk in the next scheduled course. In the interest of full disclosure, the experience could also increase your alcohol consumption.

    A more relevant issue lingers, the clearly “underrepresented” (the column’s exact wording) college-age population who consume alcohol. Here and in earlier discussions on this divisive topic the point has been raised that college-age drinkers has not been heard from, their expressed sentiments are missing, they have not spoken at public forums, such as City Council meetings. Exactly why has this sub-group not been heard from?

    Public forums convened to discuss this topic have not stationed bouncers restricting entry to drinking college students. The various Internet-based discussion groups, including this one, show no history of deleting this group’s postings. Area newspapers have not been accused of excluding letters to the editor from this population base. Even this survey, constructed with extreme bias elicited just 49 responses!

    Repeating what has been said before: Public policy makers and politicians all possess one basic ability. They know how to count. If you deliberately choose not to be counted, don’t complain later.

      1. PhilColeman

        Everybody is entitled to an opinion. An every opinion is noted when it publicly expressed. For the person spending all her time in the library, she can take a momentary break and express her opinion. But only then does she literally, “count.”

        The credibility of her opinion is measured by the fact that she has no personal experience in pub crawling. I find that trait virtuous but that’s my opinion, publicly expressed.

      2. Tia Will


        Absolutely she should. Her opinion is as valid as anyone else’s.

        Here are a few more groups you might want to consider ( other than grumpy old folks). How about the couple down the street with the baby that has difficulty sleeping. How about the students who have jobs to get up and go to early on Friday and weekend mornings? There are a lot of students living in Old East Davis. How about those who are in highly competitive fields and study late at night and in the early am ? With apartments as scarce as they are, they can’t exactly just pack up and leave if they have housing that works for them for both location and cost.  What about those who work in the downtown and find that they are having to clean up after the previous night and morning revelers?

        Life is about more than just going out and drinking. It is also about consideration for those who have other priorities than your own. Which is why I do not support a ban on nightclubs. I respect the young folks right to a fun time. I also, support fostering an attitude in which differing interests of various groups in our community are respected by all.

        1. Frankly

          How about the majority of residents that do not live it the core area and don’t have a cluse about what is going on downtown 3 nights a week from 11:30 PM to 2:00 AM?

          How about this… we mandate that everyone with an address in town has to compete the survey?

          I think you know that the core area residents would be outnumbered and lose their selfish battle.

  3. Tia Will


    those who participated tended to be reflect one group of people.”

    The survey was put out on social media with a focus on young people who participate in Davis nightlife.  “

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding the way these participants were selected. From these two sentences of the article, I inferred that “those who participated” actually refers to those who were invited to participate on the basis of their participation in Davis nightlife ( meaning the night clubs). If this is in error, it would be helpful to know what the actual selection criteria were.

    If might, for example, mean one thing if the selection criteria was age and engagement on social media along, and mean something entirely different from if it were based on age, social media engagement, and participation in the night club scene.

    And don’t worry Bob, no one really wants to chain you to a desk while enduring the slow torture of a statistics course. ( Smile !)

    1. Bob Fung

      This wasn’t meant to be a statistically sound survey.  This was meant to give allow a specific segment of the population who were not represented at the community forum a chance to answer the 3 questions that were posed at the forum.  This was the first time we had used survey monkey.  I did a quick search on internet surveys and the consensus is that because of selection bias – those willling fill out a survey on the internet, any internet survey is not likely to be as representative of a population as traditional survey techniques.



      1. Mark West

        “any internet survey is not likely to be as representative of a population as traditional survey techniques.”

        Just as is true of those people speaking at public comment, posting here, or hanging out at the Farmer’s Market.  It is an opportunity to hear the views of someone other than yourself, whether you choose to listen or not, is up to you.

  4. Dave Hart

    Hey, everybody, it’s just a straw poll and it tells us what we should already know.  What it doesn’t address or tell us is what needs to change in terms of the environment of macho hard stares requiring a macho tough response.  This did not used to be an overriding problem, but when it gets to being stabbed, it tells you the scene is the problem, not the hours of operation.  The more pertinent questions are something like:  “When you go out to the bars at night in Davis, are you seeking an excitingly dangerous type atmosphere?”  “If you are male, do you enjoy drinking in a venue where you have a chance to impress females with your swagger or would you prefer a sports bar where you can just mix with like minds and discuss the latest baseball contract offers?” Etc.

  5. Michelle Millet

    With respect to their responses to the 3 questions, 41 out of the 49 responses (84%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with changing closing times for bars/nightclubs to midnight. 

    What problems will be solved by closing the bars at midnight?

  6. Tia Will

    Dave and Michelle

     it tells you the scene is the problem, not the hours of operation. “

    I am not sure this is true. I think that it is a question for the police to address. I do not know the statistics, but believe that it would be worth knowing when most of the problems occur. Do they occur between the hours of 9-11, 0r 10-12, or 12 -2am. There might not be a pattern, but if there were, then that should inform the decision making.

    What problems will be solved by closing the bars at midnight?”

    Solved is too strong a word, but mitigated is a possibility.

    I listed a number of groups of people who might prefer an earlier closing time, at least on Thursday nights, since for those of us who work and have students in the elementary and high school range, our weeks do not end at the end of classes on Thursday. We still have another whole day of our usual activities to get through. Would you really want your doctor doing your surgery, or my next door neighbor delivering your baby if we had been unable to sleep the night before because of the “fun” going on until 2 am. For me, living within the sound of the music and the celebrants stumbling back to their cars on J street, this is not, as Frankly would imply only about the partiers. It is about the surrounding neighborhood as well.

  7. Miwok

    Good comments by everyone, and I would add that this all seems to be micro when it should be macro. Just as government tries to legislate a sugar tax by one product, there are others affecting the problem.

    Closing bars is not a problem, many drinkers or partiers (another problem) Drink at home then travel to the venue where they can buy a non-alcoholic drink at a reduced price and listen to entertainment. I was amazed I did not think of it in my younger days, and when I worked with a previous student at  UCD, he told me would down a bottle (!) of something then go to a place that served alcohol on the premise it was cheaper than buying drinks there. If they are under age, I would assume they are doing the same.

    These attempts to raise the conversation to a scientific level is fun to read. I used to be one of those survey guys in one of the largest school districts in California, and meetings to ask a question a certain way, and multiple choice answers were given the same scrutiny. They would compare multi-year surveys to each other and see if the questions or answers were biased, or skewed in one way or another. Sometimes I am too critical of these “polls” because of this training and experience in the fields.

    This attempt to “take a poll” of 49 people “on the internet” speaks volumes about it. My surveys used to be over 40K people of all ages and demographics. You don’t even ask enough about the respondents to qualify the results. The Vanguard should dismiss this kind of influence on them and us.

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