Saturday, 14 April 2012

Online polls

I was more than bemused to see that stupid little survey "Voteline" (usually on the second letters page of the Advertiser) a few days ago.
It was about marriage equality and it said 700+ were opposed to same-sex marriage and only 20 or 30 were in favour.
How can this be? Particularly since almost every other poll for the last three years has told us that at least 66%...and up to 75% and more are IN FAVOUR of same-sex marriage.
Well, of course, it is the mad methodology. I have blogged about this before (see here for one (but not the only) example)
Yesterday's poll (for example) about the very serious question "Should the Reserve Bank drop interest rates?"   49% of people said yes...and 51% said no. Wow!

Now 49% (on this occasion) was actually 24 phone calls! And 51% was 25 calls!
How can this be? There were over 700 phone calls about same-sex marriage!
Ahh yes, I get it now. Vested interest. Swamping.

It rather exposes how this "Voteline" methodology is fundamentally flawed. It tells us that there in no control (a fundamental concept in statistical analysis), because there is nothing to stop vested interests 'swamping' the protest.
My dear former student D de L was no doubt pretty active, along with his FOL colleagues
It is ALWAYS the case that when the questions have a strong political dimension, either Leftist or Rightist, then the number of phone calls increases dramtically. Not usually up to 700+....but it's the same phenomenon I suggest

Of course there are now all sorts of important polls online. One is the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy & Legal Affairs survey on the two Marriage Equality Acts (2 Amendments: Bandt and Jones at the 2nd reading stage)
If you would like to fill this in then go here
I mention this because there was some concern from one group I belong to that there was 'swamping' going on.  This (as I said above) is the great flaw in the methodology.
They were encouraging marriage equality supporters to fill in the survey...this is allegedly attempting to redress a balance, but is of course also skewing the results.

A few of my more Churchy readers may also be interested to know that I have also filled out the Crown Nominations Commission Advisory  quiz about the next Archbishop of Canterbury! (see here) says

" In the past only Primates and Provincial Secretaries of the Anglican Communion have had this opportunity"
and indeed it also says
"Cette opportunité était auparavant réservée aux Primats de la Communion anglicane." & "En tiempos pasados solamente han tenido esta oportunidad los primados de la Comunión Anglicana:" & "No passado, apenas primazes e secretários provinciais da Comunhão Anglicana tiveram essa oportunidade"

(interesting that the French and the Spanish only refer to the Primates/Primats/ and do not make reference to the provincial secretaries!!  as do the English and the Portuguese)

Does at least tell us something about the cosmopolitan nature of the Anglican Communion/Communion Anglicane/Comunión Anglicana/Comunhão would also want to add various other languages...Swahili/Korean/Japanese/Mandarin/Cantonese/Arabic/Melanesian/Australian(!)/ u.s.w.....

I suggested that it was a pity that such a catholic Communion was not looking beyond the British Isles for the leader of this polyglot Church!

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