Difference between revisions of "2357: Polls vs the Street"
(final panel is totally wrong; it's not survivorship bias--White Hat is claiming that more people LIKE playing on the street, not dislike it)
|Line 36:||Line 36:|
[[Category:Comics featuring White Hat]]
[[Category:Comics featuring White Hat]]
Revision as of 01:31, 10 September 2020
|Polls vs the Street|
Title text: Other pollsters complain about declining response rates, but our poll showed that 96% of respondents would be 'somewhat likely' or 'very likely' to agree to answer a series of questions for a survey.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by AN APPRECIATIVE CAR. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
This comic discusses getting data or opinions through a study (polls) or by getting them anecdotally (on the street). The phrase "voice on the street" is commonly used by news reporters who get opinions on issues by literally asking people walking by what they think, and has been previously mentioned (and derided) in 756: Public Opinion.
Many news organizations conduct polls (or pay polling firms to conduct polls) to assess the opinions of "the public". Many news shows also conduct "man-on-the-street" interviews (more formally known as vox populi, "voice of the people"), to provide a human face of "the public" and engage viewers more. Many pollsters, pundits, and politicians worry about gaps between polls and ground-truth, as in the infamous "Dewey Defeats Truman" newspaper headline, and so White Hat is here extolling the virtues of interviewing "real people" to get at that ground truth.
His first objection, that polls suggest "candidate X" is more favored, while the people on the street that White Hat interviews are more supportive of "candidate Y", sounds reasonable enough. (Based on when this comic was released, it may refer to the upcoming 2020 American general elections.) In fact, it is already a topic of concern by pollsters, known variously as the "Bradley effect" or "shy Tory factor", where some people will publicly profess one preference to a pollster but then vote some other way on the ballot. However, it quickly becomes clear that White Hat's methodology is riven by its own biases. It seems that he is literally just talking to people on the streets of his own town (where it's logistically impossible for the majority of people to live or visit; see What If? #8), and furthermore is conducting his conversations literally within the street itself, flouting traffic laws, rather than on sidewalks (perhaps a reference to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak). It is true that he's getting "ground truth", but it's also true that he's only sampling a very small (and highly idiosyncratic) part of the whole population.
In the final panel, White Hat claims that, contrary to polls stating that playing in traffic is unpopular, everybody he meets on the street enjoys it. This is a joke about the phrase "on the street". Usually this phrase means people walking on the sidewalk beside a road, but White Hat is presumably taking the phrase literally and interviewing people he finds on the roadway. Most people have enough sense not to walk on the road for an extended period of time, but the ones who are found on the roadway must be those who have no qualms about darting around traffic on foot, despite the dangers. Hence the people he interviews enjoy playing in traffic.
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
- White Hat: Polls are just numbers.
- White Hat: You have to talk to people on the street.
- White Hat: Polls say most people support <Candidate X>.
- White Hat: But the people I talk to on the street support <Candidate Y>.
- White Hat: Polls claim most people don't live in my town and have never been here.
- White Hat: But the people I meet on the street tell a very different story.
- White Hat: According to polls, most people don't like playing in traffic.
- White Hat: So why do I never seem to meet these people on the street?
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!