Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Straits Times and its Stupid Polls

As usual, another pointless straw poll was conducted and reported in the Straits Times today entitled 'Foreigners welcome, say teens' which comprised asking 100 random (one hopes) youngsters a few questions on their perception of foreigners in Singapore. Then, as if the extremely small number of 100 wasn't already silly enough, this group was inextricably further divided into 2 age groups (13-18 vs 19-24) to arrive at (one can only assume) a positive angle for the story.

Of the innumerable problems with the interpretation of the 'findings', the one that calls for a big fat "what the..." is clearly the age groups selected as categories. The definition of teen (i.e. teenager) is a person in their teens (meaning 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 AND 19, inclusive), so there is no logical reason to separate 19 from the group classified by ST as 'teens'.

original source: Straits Times

Perhaps it is because without this senseless separation of the sample size, the headline would read 'Foreigners NOT welcome, say young Singaporeans'? If we look at the portion circled in red above, not having these silly categories (i.e. 13-18 vs 19-24), causes the findings to show that a clear 38% of respondents felt that immigration rules
should be tighter and only 25% wanted to keep them as they are with another 25% wanting them to be relaxed.

Well, going by the way ST's been throwing out these ridiculous polls, I guess it would be alright then to quote TOC's polls which regularly receive 200+ votes each. So, for example, we could say 93% of the blogosphere was not quite impressed with the PAP's National Day Message or 83% of the blogosphere rated MOM's performance as 'poor' or 'bad' (see poll results below).

source: TOC

source: TOC

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