by Dean Bocobo, as originally posted on “WHY IS IT WRONG TO SAY POE BINAY ROXAS ARE TIED?”
In the most recent SWS survey of 1200 respondents the statistical margin of error is said to be +/-3%. What this means without getting too technical is that the SCORE each candidate received has a range of 6% centered at that SCORE. So Grace Poe’s score of 26% could actually be as low as 23% or as high as 29%. Binay’s score of 24% could be as low as 21% or as high as 27%. Roxas’ score of 20% could be as low as 17% or as high as 23% (There is a more technical mathematical expression of these ideas but this captures a correct enough layman’s explanation–good enough for govt work as they say)
So what does it mean when statisticians say that there is a STATISTICAL TIE between two candidates. The conventional or textbook explanation would be to say that there is a STATISTICAL TIE between two candidates if the TOP of the RANGE of one candidate with a lower SCORE is greater than or equal to the SCORE of another candidate. So in the case of Poe and Binay there IS a statistical tie or dead heat because the top of Binay’s range is 27% which is greater than Poe’s SCORE.
But can we also say that there is a statistical tie between Roxas and Binay. The top of Roxas range is 23% but Binay’s SCORE is 24%. So unlike Poe and Binay, there is NO STATISTICAL TIE between Binay and Roxas!
I think that SCIENTIFIC POLLS are important to building strong democratic traditions around elections and to create an ever more intelligent and active electorate. Surveys play such a big role in our elections that the Media both social and commercial and opinion makers … should exert every effort to understand them well and not MISLEAD the public when they do not.