Don’t Calculate the Margin of Error, BE the Margin of Error

Posted on September 11, 2010


Last night I visited my parents at their palatial Lincoln Fields estate.  Dinner was fine.  Football was on.  Happiness all around.  The phone rang, my mom answered, and returned asking:  “does anyone want to take a survey?” .  As if she needed to ask.

The girl on the phone asked me if I wanted to take a survey on “issues in your area”.  I said that seemed somewhat vague and she said she wasn’t allowed to tell me what the survey was about.  Sure, okay, I’ll do it.

Turns out it was a survey about federal politics, almost certainly undertaken by my parents’ MP.  Here were some of the questions, which I answered in my favourite voice, that of the aging, slightly mentally challenged hoser.  It never fails.

QUESTION:  What issue are you most satisfied with the government’s performance on?

ANSWER:  Oh, pets.  [excuse me sir?] Yeah, pets.  You know, dogs and cats, getting neutered.  I like their stance on pets.  Because you don’t want strays coming around knocking at your door, looking for a bone.

She writes every word down and reads it back to me verbatim.  Awesome.

QUESTION:  What issue are you most dissatisfied with the government’s performance on?

ANSWER:  Definitely hot air balloons.  [balloons, sir?] Yeah, hot air balloons.  They’re always flying around all over the place.  It freaks me out.  [okay…]

QUESTION:  Who is your local MP?

ANSWER:  I think that’s John Turner.

QUESTION:  No, it’s John Baird.  And what is the most positive attribute of MP John Baird?

ANSWER:  He’s handsome.

QUESTION:  What is the most negative attribute of MP John Baird?

ANSWER:  He’s almost too handsome.

Don’t believe me?  See for yourself.

John Baird

I have decided that he is a prime candidate to bring monocles back into fashion

I’m REALLY good with Photoshop.  I could make a picture of a chicken driving a car and you’d swear it was real.

So the next poll you see published or cited somewhere, read the fine print.  See where it says “accurate within 3% 19 times out of 20”?  I’m the 20th time.  Yes!

I should add that the survey ended with the girl asking me my name “in case my manager needs to check if I really made this call”.  Sure, I said, and gave her my dad’s name.

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Posted in: Shenanigans