TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2011 /CNW/ - A detailed statistical review of the 13
statistical graphs contained in the Conservative changebook platform document finds that not one of them conforms to the normal
requirements of academic or professional practice.
That's the conclusion of a detailed review of the platform by Jim
Stanford, economist and Research Associate with the Ontario office of
the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Stanford finds that at least three of the graphs (which illustrate
various statistical arguments related to the Conservative platform)
present data that is clearly false. All of the others contain major
errors in the labeling of variables or axes; internally inconsistent or
manipulative scaling of bars and data; and misleading or incomplete
references to source data.
For example, in several cases, the axes of graphs have been manipulated,
without labeling, to artificially increase the size of particular data
points and mislead readers about their relative importance. In other
cases, source notes cite government reports which did not actually
print the data being portrayed. One graph presents statistical claims
that are calculated from outdated forecasts (rather than actual data),
without indicating this to readers; when actual (rather than forecast)
data is used, the graph's conclusion is reversed completely.
"The statistical graphs in the changebook have been presented in ways that are clearly unacceptable in normal
academic or professional practice," Stanford says. "They consistently
mislead the reader about the relative proportions of the variables
being discussed, and reflect a consistent willingness to bend the
"Whatever one thinks of the changebook's policy proposals themselves," Stanford concludes, "the consistently
misleading and inaccurate statistical representations contained in the changebook are lamentable."
Graphs For Dummies: The Troubled Geometry of Tim Hudak's Changebook, is published by the Ontario office of the Canadian Centre for Policy
Alternatives, and is available at http://www.policyalternatives.ca/
SOURCE Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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