On the Numbers Game:
Reading Gerald Watson’s attempt to work the numbers disturbed me. While I was pleased to see that a former student could correctly calculate 70 per cent of 73 per cent to be 51 per cent, I was upset that he failed to complete the rest of the exercise before drawing his conclusions. Below is the exercise as I see it:
a) 70 per cent of BCTF members voted on the issue of withdrawing voluntary activities,
b) 73 per cent of the voting members voted in favour of withdrawal, determine:
1) The percentage of BCTF members voting in favour. Answer: 51 per cent,
2) The percentage of BCTF members voting against. Answer: 19 per cent.
3) True or false: Since 30 per cent did not vote, those opposed total 19 per cent plus 30 per cent, or 49 per cent. Answer: False.
4) True or false: Since 30 per cent did not vote, those against total 51 per cent plus 30 per cent, or 81 per cent. Answer: False.
5) Using the voting results as a sample of the member population, predict the number percentage of the population in favour of the motion. Answer: 73 per cent plus or minus a small percentage… five per cent? Just a thought: most of those with strong opinions, especially those opposed to an idea, get out and vote. The rest probably follow roughly the same pattern as those voting.
Student’s score on this exercise: 20 per cent, having completed one of five parts.
It is interesting to note that 13.3 per cent of Kamloops voters voted for Gerald Watson last November.