October 31, 2011

Stat of the Week Competition: October 29-November 4 2011

Each week, we would like to invite readers of Stats Chat to submit nominations for our Stat of the Week competition and be in with the chance to win an iTunes voucher.

Here’s how it works:

  • Anyone may add a comment on this post to nominate their Stat of the Week candidate before midday Friday November 4 2011.
  • Statistics can be bad, exemplary or fascinating.
  • The statistic must be in the NZ media during the period of October 29-November 4 2011 inclusive.
  • Quote the statistic, when and where it was published and tell us why it should be our Stat of the Week.

Next Monday at midday we’ll announce the winner of this week’s Stat of the Week competition, and start a new one.

The fine print:

  • Judging will be conducted by the blog moderator in liaison with staff at the Department of Statistics, The University of Auckland.
  • The judges’ decision will be final.
  • The judges can decide not to award a prize if they do not believe a suitable statistic has been posted in the preceeding week.
  • Only the first nomination of any individual example of a statistic used in the NZ media will qualify for the competition.
  • Employees (other than student employees) of the Statistics department at the University of Auckland are not eligible to win.
  • The person posting the winning entry will receive a $20 iTunes voucher.
  • The blog moderator will contact the winner via their notified email address and advise the details of the $20 iTunes voucher to that same email address.
  • The competition will commence Monday 8 August 2011 and continue until cancellation is notified on the blog.


  • avatar

    Statistic: Tomorrow is expected to be the day the world population hits 7 billion – and it’s likely to be a Kiwi because we are first on the dateline.
    Source: Herald on Sunday
    Date: 30 October 2011

    I found the Herald’s logic quite amusing.

    On the same page in the Herald is this big story:

    “A Queenstown man has been arrested for assault after a fight broke out after he farted in bed and his wife sprayed him with air freshener.”

    Slow news day I guess.

    6 years ago

  • avatar

    Statistic: Just over 36 per cent of respondents thought the response was unsatisfactory – a view backed by opposition parties who say the container ship’s grounding on October 5 and subsequent oil spill had been politically damaging for the Government.
    Source: NZ Herald
    Date: October 31, 2011

    Amazing they cam to that conclusion when elsewhere int eh article it says:
    “At the other end of the scale, 11 per cent thought the response was “very good” and 50.3 per cent thought it adequate.”

    So they focus on the 36% when 61.3% was the combined total of opposing views and the bare majority still said the response was adequate.

    6 years ago

  • avatar

    Statistic: “Sixty-one percent of people said Key impressed them the most in the debate in a text poll, compared to 39% for Goff”
    Source: http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/goff-and-key-clash-in-opening-debate-4492905
    Date: 31st October, 2011

    This is a useless statistic as the cost of the messages was a silly 75c each. Furthermore the nature of submissions (text message) mean that many elderly (in particular) are unlikely to participate. A poor representation even of those actually watching the debate, I suspect.

    6 years ago

  • avatar

    Statistic: Early results in a poll suggest Labour’s Phil Goff won the debate with Prime Minister John Key last night.
    Mr Goff is 7.4 percent ahead of Mr Key in the RadioLIVE-HorizonPoll, which is ongoing.
    So far 227 people have been asked, and the survey is still underway.
    Mr Goff scored 39.1 percent to Mr Key’s 31.7 percent.
    Source: 3 News
    Date: 1 November 2011

    My alltime favourite the Horison Poll that is actually a self selecting web survey.

    Tv3/Radio Live though say this is more accurate than:

    “A One News text poll giving the debate to Mr Key 61-39 has been widely discredited, since it cost 75c to vote.”

    Both are self selecting and no more relevant than each other.

    6 years ago

  • avatar

    Statistic: Fairfax Research 3D poll graph (linked)
    Source: The Press (hard copy) pA5, 2 Nov 2011
    Date: 2 November 2011

    A classic example of 3D misrepresentation. The height of each column represents the % vote, but the depth adds a disproportional volume. The graphic is also unclear about where the ‘undecided’ group is included. Should it be on the axis alongside the party groups if the party % value was calculated after excluding ‘undecided’? And finally, I’m no Anderton fanboy, but why were the Progressives denied a spot on the graph?

    6 years ago

  • avatar

    Statistic: Labour slips further in latest poll
    Source: New Zealand Herald
    Date: 3 November 2011

    If the margin of error for a poll is 3.6% and if two consecutive polls are independent (i.e. they interview a different group of people each time – which is the case for Digipoll) then a little know fact is that the margin of error for the difference between two polls is 3.6% times the square root of two, i.e. 5.1%.

    So the “slip” of 1.2% is 1.2/5.1 = 0.23 or about a quarter of the margin of error. In other words, statistically bugger all. Could just be chance.

    Another example of a headline from nothing (and a good chance for me to point out the square root of two rule).

    6 years ago