Omega Statistics Blog


Two groups of people standing on opposing cliffs

In the week following the first presidential debate, I was listening to a local talk radio host talking with caller who was a Trump supporter. The exchange went something like this:

Caller: “I don’t believe anything that comes out of Hilary’s mouth. Everything she says is a lie.”

Host: “Nothing she said is true? So when she said she was a senator, that wasn’t true? Or when she said she was Secretary of State, that was a lie?”

Caller: “Yes, she is a liar, so I can’t believe anything she says.”

Host: “Well then, I guess we have nothing more to discuss.”

True. The caller’s mind was made up. And, it goes the other way too. Many of my friends who have chosen Hilary Clinton see no redeeming qualities what-so-ever in Donald Trump and are closed to learning anything further about his platform or good ideas that he may have (Oh come on now, he has one or two).

We are told to vote our conscience. But how well are we informing our conscience? Do we use a fair and unbiased set of data and information in our consideration of the best candidate?

No. We do not. Many of us are using selection bias on a personal level to inform our decision.

In statistics, selection bias happens when subjects or data are selected for analysis in a non-random way. Selection bias returns results that are not reflective of the population we are studying, because we didn’t get a full view of the big picture. When we do this, the conclusions we make are not fully informed and often wrong.

Many decided voters use selection bias to strengthen their choice. Trump supporters watch and attend Trump rallies, eat dinner and discuss current events with others who are like-minded, or watch Fox News and quote Sean Hannity verbatim. They are not cheering atta-girls at Hilary’s events or probably listening to NPR very much.

Hilary supporters are getting their strength in much the same way by watching her rallies, viewing MSNBC perhaps, and reading news feeds from the Huffington Post.

And whatever we do, now is not the time to engage in any kind of thoughtful discussion to learn about the “other team”. I jest of course. However, I have noticed a lot of unfriend-ing going on in my Facebook circles.

There is still almost a month left before Election Day. I am currently undecided. However, with each passing day I am coming closer to my decision. And I am trying to keep an open mind but it is very difficult. Like many undecided voters, I’ve already eliminated one candidate from my consideration.

And I never thought I’d say this because I am more of a Libertarian…but it sure would be refreshing to be feeling the Bern right about now. Maybe I’ll turn on the Daily Show for some comfort and affirmation.

Join the Stats for the Masses mailing list to receive the “Stats Grab Bag” email with useful resources and links relating to the work I do each week. I like to think of it as tidbits from practice. You’ll never know what you’ll get, but it could be just what you need!


Thank You - Watch Your Inbox For Our Next News Letter

Accreditations and Memberships

Murrieta Chamber Of Commerce Logo
Better Business Bureau Logo
American Statistical Association