Category Archives: Surveys

Yunel Escobar, Homosexual Slurs, and the 2008 Presidential Election

I just came across this poll question on ESPN about people’s opinions regarding the Yunel Escobar’s suspension, and I couldn’t help but notice that this map (below) look very similar to the 2008 presidential election map.  I suppose you could view the map below as essentially serving as a state by state snap shot of how residents (well residents who read and vote in their polls) feel about homosexual slurs.  Take a look at this map:

Now take a look at this map that shows which states voted for McCain and Obama in the 2008 presidential election:

The similarities are striking.  The states that judge the punishment to be too harsh, the blue states in ESPN’s map, align very strongly with red states in the presidential map.  Similarly, the green (Too lenient) and red (Just right) states align very closely with the blue states in the presidential election map.  All six of the green states voted for Obama in the last election with the exception of South Dakota.  Of the red states in the ESPN map only Montana, North Dakota  West Virginia went for McCain in 2008.  Likewise, of the blue states in the ESPN map only Indiana, North Carolina, and Florida went for Obama.  Finally, here is a two by two table with a break down of the relationship between Yunel Escobar opinions and presidential states.  (The p-value for the fisher test of independence between rows and columns is 8.213e-07).   So, it seems there is a  significant association between how people feel about Yunel Escobar’s suspension for using a gay slur and how that state voted in the 2008 presidential election.


MLB Rankings – 5/14/2012

StatsInTheWild MLB rankings as of May 14, 2012 at 8am.

Team Rank Change Record ESPN
Texas 1 ↑1 22-13 1 1
Atlanta 2 2 22-13 4 3
St. Louis 3 20-14 5 6
LA Dodgers 4 4 23-11 2 4
Baltimore 5 4 22-13 3 2
Washington 6 21-13 6 7
Toronto 7 19-16 9 9
Tampa Bay 8 ↓4 21-14 7 5
NY Yankees 9 19-15 8 8
Miami 10 18-16 12 12
NY Mets 11 6 19-15 10 10
Cincinnati 12 17-16 14 11
Boston 13 ↑8 15-19 23 21
Oakland 14 6 18-17 15 14
Philadelphia 15 2 16-19 19 23
Houston 16 ↓5 15-19 20 17
San Francisco 17 ↓1 17-17 17 20
Detroit 18 1 17-17 13 13
Chicago WSox 19 1 16-19 16 19
Seattle 20 ↑2 16-20 25 18
Cleveland 21 ↓6 18-16 11 15
LA Angels 22 1 15-20 21 26
Arizona 23 9 15-20 18 25
Pittsburgh 24 1 16-18 24 16
Chicago Cubs 25 2 14-20 27 22
Colorado 26 ↓2 13-20 26 28
Milwaukee 27 1 15-19 22 24
Kansas City 28 1 13-20 28 27
San Diego 29 1 12-23 29 29
Minnesota 30 10-24 30 30

Past Rankings:







Gallup poll: Romney, Obama statistically tied in 2012 matchup

Gallup poll: Romney, Obama statistically tied in 2012 matchup

Oh Yahoo Sports, they entertain me so…

An email from a friend of mine:

…they have a new “sliding scale” thing for their polls.  One question was: “How many of the double digits seeds that won (on Thurs/Friday) will make the Sweet 16?”  On one end of the scale was “none” on the other “5 or more”.  Seems straightforward enough.  Their sliding scale had 10 total partitions, the middle 8 all unlabeled.  This is why people don’t trust “statisticians”…..

Here  (Scroll to the end of the article) is a link to an example of one of these “polls”.


U.S. News: “Poll: Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Re-election”…..well, not at all, actually.

I was listening to the radio this morning (Dennis and Callahan) and one of the callers to the show mentioned a U.S. News poll that found that American’s biggest fear in 2012, by a 2-1 margin, was the re-election of Barack Obama.  Now, if you’re calling into a sports radio show, I’m not going to trust you;  if you’re calling in to a sport radio show to talk about politics with Dennis and Callahan, I trust you even less.  And I didn’t trust this guy’s “statistic” that nearly two-thirds of those polled were fearful of Obama being re-elected.

So when I got to work this morning, I looked up this poll.  The article I believe the caller was referring to is this one by Paul Bedard complete with the headline “Poll: Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”.  The poll results cited in the article are as follows:

As we enter the presidential election year of 2012, what potential news event do you fear the most?

President Obama wins reelection 33%

Taxes will increase 31%

Iran will get a nuclear weapon 16%

Obama will lose reelection 16%

North Korea will attack South Korea 4%

I don’t know who looks at the results of this poll and takes away the headline “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”.  That headline implies (intentionally?) that the question that was asked in the poll was “Do you fear Obama’s re-election” when, in fact, the question asked was “As we enter the presidential election year of 2012, what potential news event do you fear the most?”

These are entirely different questions and to draw the conclusion that “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection” is, at best, unintentionally misleading.  You could say “Americans, 2-1, cite Obama’s re-election as their number one fear,” but that is an entirely different statement.  If you really want to know how many American’s fear Obama’s re-election, you need to ask that question in a well sampled poll, which this may or may not have been.

Regardless, there is no way to look at the results of this pool and honestly draw the conclusion that “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”.   This is either a misunderstanding leading to a misleading headline or intentionally dishonest.

PS Regardless of your politics, how can anymore be more fearful of the 2012 presidential outcome or your taxes going up than of Iran getting a nuclear weapon.  Maybe you’re annoyed or bothered that your taxes will go up, but do you fear an increase in taxes?  Iran getting a nuclear weapon is more than just an annoyance or a bother.