Real World Graduation: Question 8

RealWorldGraduation_Question_8   <– PDF

A reputable pollster takes an opinion poll of 1000 people. The poll consists of only one question, and it is about the probable success of a proposed government policy.  None of the respondents were familiar with the policy, but were familiar with the issue that the policy addressed.  The respondents of the poll are asked to give their opinion as one of the following choices.  The percent of the respondents that gave each answer is indicated in parentheses.  The choices were:

a) Virtually no chance of success (3%);

b) Small chance of success (31%);

c) Good chance of success (64%); and

d) Virtually guaranteed success (2%).

The reputable pollster calculates that his margin of error is about 4%. How accurate is the poll as an indicator of how successful the policy will be if it is enacted?

a) The probability of success is 96% (100% – 4%), because the answers have to be corrected for the pollster’s estimated error.

b) The policy will be 64% successful because that choice got the highest percentage.

c) It has a good chance of succeeding because that choice got the highest percentage, but is not necessarily 64% probable.

d) The probability of success is always 50-50 no matter what the poll says.

e) The policy will never be enacted because the people who responded to the poll did not achieve the required two-thirds (66%) majority in their opinion.

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)


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