Monday, September 26, 2011

Fun With Statistics: Barack Obama Versus George W. Bush as Presidents.

Here's an interesting headline from a recent poll:
Majority Rates Obama ‘Same’ as or ‘Worse’ Than George W. Bush
To be fair, the headline is taken from the writeup of the poll by Gallup:
Majority Rates Obama Same or Worse Compared With Bush
The headlines are true, of course. But the reverse headlines would also be true! The data all these are based on are as follows:

When compared to George W. Bush, 43% of the respondents regard Obama as better, 22% about the same and 34% worse. The tricky bit is how to view those three figures. The headline makers chose to add together the last two figures, thus getting the result that the majority rates Obama no better than George W. Bush.

But if we add together the first two figures we get a clear majority (and a bigger one at 65% vs. 56%) which rates Obama better than or same as George W. Bush!

Miraculous, isn't it, how these headlines are picked? (This doesn't excuse Obama's inability to do better than this in a poll. Against Georgie Porgie, of all people!)