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Intellectual dishonesty @ The Age … or just stupid?


The front page of today's Age ~ click to enlarge

(Here’s one the so-called keepers of ‘intellectual honesty’ in the media seem to have missed. Looks like it went over the PP boys’ heads)

It’s bloody obvious that a great majority of the Australian electorate would prefer Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister over Julia Gillard … as all the polls show. Including the one conducted by The Age and highlighted on their front page above: 58% Rudd, 34% Gillard. It’s decisive.

Why then has The Age also chosen to highlight the much closer poll that says voters are evenly split on whether or not the ALP should change leaders (48% & 47%)? And what does it mean?

VOTERS would overwhelmingly prefer Kevin Rudd over Julia Gillard as Labor leader but are split over whether Labor should make the swap when caucus votes on Monday, according to a Saturday Age/Nielsen poll.

Why? Well, it’s either deliberately misleading or just plain dumb. Don’t they know why there is an apparent contradiction in the two results? I’ll try to explain it for them:

When 1,000 or so people (probably about the size of The Age sample) are asked the question, “Who would be the better PM, Rudd or Gillard”, it is not a political question per se, in that it’s just about who people see as the better PM. Period. It’s devoid of any further ramifications. Therefore, most people, regardless of their political leanings ALP or Liberal, would answer it honestly and without prejudice.

HOWEVER, when you then ask the same group of people a secondary question being, “Should the ALP change from Gillard to Rudd”, some of the Liberal supporters might say “No” on the simple premise that it would give the ALP a better chance of staying in power.

The second question is a politically based one and, therefore, the almost line-ball result merely indicates that the respondents have answered pretty much in keeping with their political leanings. It’s irrelevant and shouldn’t have even been asked, let alone highlighted on the front page of The Age.

You have to wonder what possessed The Age to make such a blunder. On its front page. In the middle of the challenge!


1 Comment

  1. Iain Hall says:

    As the old saying goes Ray there are lies , damned lies and statistics Your example from the age just shows how willing some people are to try to spin this contest to suit their own agendas.

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