Statistically Hating Everyone

A quick example of a common mistake we make with percentages

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

A Trip to Examplia

Let’s take a flight to the fictitious but quite beautiful nation of Examplia. Examplia has two major-party candidates: Johnny Johnsperdon of the Purple Party and Dave “The Dave” Davidson of the Orange Party.

  • 50% love Dave and hate Johnny
  • 40% love Davette and hate Jimmy
  • 20% hate both candidates

The Lesson

A bar graph showing the unfavorability of two political candidates is showing two separate statistics side-by-side: the percentage of people who like candidate A, and the percentage of people who like candidate B. These are two separate results, and we must be careful not to make quick conclusions about both statistics at the same time.

  • Does this mean 20% of people like the Wolves, a separate 20% like the Hyenas, and the other 60% like neither team?
  • Or is it somewhere in the middle, where maybe 15% of people like the Wolves, 15% like the Hyenas, 10% like both, and 60% like neither?

Math Tutor | Orange County, CA | If you want to reach out beneschan@gmail.com

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