A Survey “Majority” Headline Can Be Wrong

A Survey “Majority” Headline Can Be Wrong

normal-curveYou read a headline that says in a survey the “majority” of people feel one way about a subject. The story goes on to explain that 52% see the issue the same as the headline writer. The use of “majority” in the headline makes you think over half the people feel that way, but that could easily be a wrong assumption because the headline writer actually misinterpreted the survey results. Knowing how statistics work, is very important for getting a clear picture of a subject. In this case, let’s say the survey margin of error is 4%, which is a common margin of error in even the largest surveys. There is a possibility that more than half the people surveyed feel one way, but it could just as easily be 48%. Pew Research Center explains how common headlines can often be misleading or even inaccurate when they try to summarize survey results to come up with a majority.