Sunday, May 30, 2010

Being Correct (And the importance of front page stories being true)

People in Western Australia yesterday awoke to the front page story;

"Rudd to Face WA poll wipe-out" on the front of the West Australian.

Rudd to Face WA poll wipe-out

The Article went on to state that Westpoll had conducted a survey of the Brand Electorate mid-week, and their results indicate that the vast majority of people in that area were unhappy with the proposed mining tax and handling of asylum seekers.

Further reading indicated that only 406 people responded to the survey.

The Australian Electoral Commission indicates that "Brand covers an area of approximately 411 sq km from Rowley Road in the north to the northern suburbs of the City of Mandurah in the south, and also includes Garden Island. The main localities are the Town of Kwinana and the City of Rockingham. "

Now, although I have been unable to find out exactly how many people live in the Brand Electorate, in the Cities of Mandurah, Rockingham and Town of Kwinana, there are approximately 176,000 people (data gained from local gov websites).

Even assuming that only half of these are people of voting age , you still have 88,000 residents.

406/88000=0.0046 ... 0.46% of people responded to their survey.

And keep in mind that there are approximately 2.26 Million people living in WA at this time.

So in fact, the article told us precisely nothing about the chances of Mr Rudd gaining a favourable vote from the people of Western Australia in the next election, because the sample size of their survey was too small, and probably not conducted over a large enough time frame.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, but there's nothing like sparking fear factor with 'statistics'. It's the same as how fast food restaurants always use weird adjectives at the front of their burger names... makes it sound like you're getting more than you actually are!