Friday, July 26, 2002

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

The CA is proudly trumpeting new poll numbers under a headline, "Latest poll numbers show Wharton's lead widening," that a skimming reader might think means one thing, but actually shows something very much else.

The CA writes:

Wharton leads Republican George Flinn
with 45 percent of the vote compared
to 21 percent. Those who are
undecided registered at 27 percent.

Wharton’s lead has increased 5 percentage points since an
earlier poll conducted July 14-17.

Which is incredibly misleading because Wharton's numbers didn't go up, rather Flinn's went down! Dig down deeper into the print version of the story [which part is not online, oddly enough] and you find these ponderers:

* Wharton's percentage of the black vote is 66! When blacks are nearly 90% Democrat, that's something to worry over.

* Wharton is also only drawing less than half (49%) of city voters.

* Across the numbers, Undecideds account for anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of voters.

* Flinn's Don't Recognize/Don't Knows account for 40%, two-thirds the number of people who do Recognize him. With all his ads, and this close to the election, that's startling and very bad news.

Flinn's negatives have risen all across the numbers: whites, Republicans, suburbans, etc. But Wharton's "overall support has remained virtually the same...[his] support remains rock solid."

In other words, AC Wharton's numbers have stayed static. He's not attracting any more voters, and this after beginning a series of ads! What's happening is that Flinn is putting people off with his "crony" and "anti-arena" ads. This calculated move seems to be backfiring for Flinn, which ought to be good news for Wharton. But the real story is that AC isn't getting those Flinn voters. He appears to have reached his plateau.

The question is, with only six days left can Flinn repair the damage?

Until next time,
Your Working Boy

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