Thursday, December 27, 2007

Plus, They Called His Mom Twenty Five Times

We've been reading a lot about polls lately. No, not those poles, these Poles. Wait, not them either. These poles. No, no, the ones that are all mathematical and such, you know, polls. Yes, that's it. See, we always thought these polls were like, all scientific and stuff with lots of calculations and Greek letters and calculus and what not, but it turns out you can do a poll and pretty much pick what you want it to say.

All of which goes to show that Mr. Constant, our ninth grade algebra teacher really did have it in for us when he refused to accept our alternate solutions to his homework problems. "You cannot have more than one answer to math problems," he would say. Then, "Go talk to the counselor." Well, Mr. You Have To Memorize The Quadratic Equation If You're Ever Going To Pass This Class, take a look at this and tell me math can't have as many answers as Bush has reasons for invading Iraq.

President Bush and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton again top Gallup's annual lists of "most admired" men and women, the polling firm said. OK, right away when you read that, you know the Gallup company has rather loose policies on drinking at work, and it turns out you're not too far wrong, but that's beside the point. Let's apply our mad algebra skillz, courtesy of Mr. Constant, to this latest pollistical effluvia and see what squirts out.

Bush's support was the choice of 10% of 1,011 Americans polled. OK, we were awake in math class that day and we know if 10% of the people chose Bush, that means 90% didn't. So who else was on the list? Genghis Kahn? Charles Manson? George Steinbrenner?

Also, 10% of 1011 people is about 100 people. Wait. One hundred people still admire Bush? That might not be too far off. On the other hand, this was a phone survey and if you randomly call a thousand people or so, some of them are bound to be drunk or high. Then factor in that Gallup says each number has a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points and that could mean only 7% of the people still admire Bush more than Genghis Kahn. See, this math stuff isn't so hard if you just work at it.

Oh, and we never did memorize the quadratic equation.

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