Statistricks part 3: how they lie to you with polls

Are you diving into the data, or is the data diving into you?

WHAT’S MY TRIBE?

VIEWS AS NEWS GETS VIEWS

BLUNT TOOLS

TORIES, TROLLS AND TERGIVERSATORS

MARKET INTELLIGENCE

OFFICES OF STATE

“Opinion polls are a device for influencing public opinion, not a device for measuring it. Crack that, and it all makes sense” — Peter Hitchens, The Broken Compass (2009)

WHAT CAN WE DO?

  • Who commissioned the poll?
  • Who carried out the poll?
  • What was the sample size? If it’s much less than 2,000, ignore it.
  • What’s the relative standard error? (A measure of the confidence in the accuracy of the survey. If Labour are leading the Tories in a poll by 36% to 35% and the RSE is over 2% — as it is on samples of less than 2,000 — then they may not be leading at all.)
  • What were the questions?
  • What was the methodology?

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Newsperson and scriptwriter. Blogs at http://rainbowsandlollipops.net/

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Andy Bodle

Andy Bodle

Newsperson and scriptwriter. Blogs at http://rainbowsandlollipops.net/

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