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The web site I chose to critique explains political polling and the statistical process behind the polling numbers This was of particular interest to me because I like many other Americans have never been asked nor know of anyone that has been asked a political question used in political polling In short the site explains what the numbers actually mean The site uses a fictional mayoral election to explain the numbers Also it discusses margin of error and how it affects the polls Next the site goes on to clarify confidence Finally elucidation on what can go wrong in the polling process is discussed In the fictional case Republican Stephanie Higgins was running against two-term incumbent Democrat Webster Fletcher Once Higgins formally announced she was running for mayor the polls showed that Fletcher would win with 56 of the vote However six months before the election the mayoral race was tightening up The polls showed that Fletcher continued to have a slight lead of 3 with a margin of error of - 5 The site raised the question of whether or not Fletcher actually had a lead if the margin of error is - 5 Three months before the election Higgins took a 15 lead in the polls with same margin of error Oddly enough the day before the election some polls showed Higgins winning by a landslide As expected it was a close election The lead changed hands several times However Higgins pulled ahead and won the election in its last moments To begin the site discusses the importance of the random sampling used in political polling In class we defined a random sample as everything in the sample stands the same chance of being selected at any point and any time A great example was given on the site If a doctor wants to figure out a patients white blood cell count the doctor doesnt drain out all the patients blood
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