April 23rd, 2021

Letter: Consultation survey ‘a statistical disaster’

By Letter to the Editor on April 8, 2021.

Dear editor,

The March 5 Glen Motz opinion piece, “Rebuilding economy a Conservative priority,” refers to the results of a consultation survey produced by the MP for Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner. It is a statistical disaster.

It is of utmost importance in sampling that every member of the population from which the sample is drawn must have an equal probability of being chosen. Absent this, the sample is useless. Online polls, of which this is one, are notorious for producing non-random samples.

There is no indication that any effort was made to ensure respondents were citizens of MHCW, all members of the MP’s church or some other partisan group.

Legitimate surveys always include the sample size, information this survey does not provide.

Several of the pie graphs are lacking values. Legitimate surveys supply not only percentages but also raw numbers from which these percentages are calculated.

One clumsily worded question asks “Are these your views or on behalf of the business?” How can a business owner have two points of view on a thing like this?

Another asks, “Should restoring an ethical, environmentally sustainable energy sector be part of our economic recovery?” – a question to which no rational person can negatively respond.

Another refers to “the ongoing health and economic pandemic.” What is an economic pandemic? No vaccine will ever be available for that.

Two questions are of the “check all that apply” variety, which generates no useful information. Better is to ask respondents to rate their preferences. Survey Monkey, which supported the MP’s survey, can facilitate this.

Space prohibits more criticism. This survey is pathetically sloppy. The MP and his staff should be ashamed such a feeble effort made the light of day.

Fred Lewis

Medicine Hat

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14 days ago

This just in, “Government is full of idiots!”