The difference in percentage points between democrats

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The difference in percentage points between Democrats and Republicans (and between Democrats and Independents) is 8%. Since the margin of error is 7%, it is likely that there is even less of a difference. The graph implies that the Democrats were 8 times more likely to agree with the decision. In truth, they were only slightly more likely to agree with the decision. The graph does not accurately demonstrate that a majority of all groups interviewed agreed with the decision.
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CNN.com updates the graph:
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carefully considering statistical measures Failure to report the margin of error (a.k.a “sampling error”) example: +/- 5% in a national poll of 1,200 respondents Making conclusions within the margin of error If candidate A is preferred by 43% of voters, and candidate B is preferred by 46% of voters, all one can say is that they are tied in a statistical dead heat. Not stating whether the results are statistically significant or what the threshold for statistical significance is. example: p < .05
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What does the top of this graph show? About 12 million people are downloading music legally. Just over 9 million people are downloading music illegally. The bottom of the graph is misleading. Why? The graph implies that 1% of the iPods are filled with legally downloaded music. It implies that the other 99% are filled with illegally downloaded music. Why is this wrong?
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What could be in those iPods besides legally downloaded music? Empty space most people don t have iPods that are filled to capacity. Songs that were added from legally purchased CDs. Games, calendars, other applications. Songs that were downloaded illegally. It is possible that the rest of the iPod contains some illegally downloaded music, but it is unlikely that 99% of a person’s iPod is filled with illegal music.
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More information: The iPod graphic appeared in Wired magazine. A quote from the article: What s filling all that excess capacity? Well, despite the efforts of the Recording Industry Association of America, nearly a billion songs are traded on P2P networks every month. This article was trying to imply that all of the excess space is filled with illegal downloads, which is likely untrue. The statistics for the article were provided by the music industry.
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misleading statistics Some studies have reported that 90% of students are bullied at school. But the results depend on what the researcher defines as “bullying.” Does bullying included physical and verbal abuse? If bullying means “people being mean to you,” then it is surprising that 10% of students haven’t been bullied!
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Misleading statistics Comparing the total number of complaints by airline passengers, without considering the total numbers of passengers per airline.
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  • Spring '09
  • Orrange
  • Margin of error, Ross Perot, Napoleon I of France, unexpected events

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Christopher Reinemann
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