I never did statistics at school. Those of us doing science A-levels were made to study ‘maths with mechanics’; if you want to know how a parallelogram of forces works, or how to calculate angular momentum, I’m your man, but ask about standard deviation and margin of error and I’ll look shifty and start talking about the weather as I try to Google the answer.
But I’m numerate enough to know when figures just don’t smell right and so it is with this table doing the rounds on Twitter. It’s been posted by Andrew Hawkins, the Chairman of one of the polling companies ComRes. It tries to show how all the polling firms were within the appropriate margin of error (+/- 3 percentage points) for their final polls when you take an average of how much they were out for each party. (more…)