[LINK] {OT} Walk against War - sunday in sydney

Chirgwin, Richard Richard.Chirgwin@informa.com.au
Mon, 17 Feb 2003 14:12:42 +1000


Grant Bayley wrote:
> Last I checked, polls != election results.
> 
> And polls in the US != Australian election results.
> 
> Correct me at any point if I am wrong here.

If you're saying that a poll doesn't (and should not) carry the same weight
as a genuine election, I agree.

If you're saying that a poll is a poor predictor of an election result, my
agreement would be more reserved. "It depends".

As for the number of marchers: whether the "real" number was 100,000 or
400,000, that would still represent a population sample far greater than is
generally used for polls. Of course, it's not a >random< sample - it is
specifically a sample of people who share a particular point of view.
However; it's still easily a statistically significant slab of the
population, in terms of how many people are needed to generate a statistical
prediction.

400,000 (taking the optimistic but probably over-estimated number) = roughly
2% of the Australian population; which is, most certainly, a number
sufficient to swing an election - "if" as Antony Green would say "this swing
were uniform across all electorates". And, of course, if half of the 400,000
were people who would have to change their vote to register their opposition
(ie, current Liberal voters).

But of course, extrapolating "voting intention" from "presence at the march"
is a very long bow to draw!

Oddly enough, I'm not one of those who says the marches alone >should<
change a policy position - even when I agree with the marchers. That's
because public opinion should be respected, but not deified; "the public"
is, hostorically, a very poor protector of the rights of the individual.
Everywhere from the playground upwards, the argument that "this is what the
majority says" is used to explain why a minority should suffer. Public
opinion doesn't like this, but it has to share the crown with the rights of
the citizen.

Richard Chirgwin

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Grant Bayley [mailto:gbayley@ausmac.net]
> Sent: Monday, 17 February 2003 11:27
> To: James Morris
> Cc: Link Institute
> Subject: Re: [LINK] {OT} Walk against War - sunday in sydney
> 
> 
> On Mon, 17 Feb 2003, James Morris wrote:
> 
> > On Mon, 17 Feb 2003, Grant Bayley wrote:
> >
> > > This all seems to imply, as other posters have with their vocal
> > > enthusiasm, that a crowd of 400,000 in a population of ~19,000,000
> > > is "representative".
> > >
> >
> > Partly, but this is backed up by polling in each country, 
> including the
> > US.
> 
> Last I checked, polls != election results.
> 
> And polls in the US != Australian election results.
> 
> Correct me at any point if I am wrong here.
> 
> Grant
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