How Words Matter

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll about the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy asked the same question in two different ways and got significantly different answers.
The results highlight the importance of wording on the issue. In a test, half of the poll’s respondents were asked their opinion on permitting “gay men and lesbians” to serve, and the other half were asked about permitting “homosexuals” to serve.

The wording of the question proved to make a difference. Seven in 10 respondents said they favor allowing “gay men and lesbians” to serve in the military, including nearly 6 in 10 who said they should be allowed to serve openly. But support was somewhat lower among those who were asked about allowing “homosexuals” to serve, with 59 percent in favor, including 44 percent who support allowing them to serve openly.

The poll was taken by telephone and included responses from 1,084 adults. Link -via Fark

(image credit: Flickr user splorp)

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Telephone poll? Who are they talking to my grandmother? She still wonders why Liberace never got married. Maybe they can do a fax poll next week.

Really, telephone polls need to be relegated to the grash heap of statistical history. It's no longer an honor to be called up to be part of a telephone poll and those who still think it is had their ideas and beliefs shaped during the New Deal.
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Why is it Seven out of 10, 6 out of 10, & then: 59% and 44%?

It should be 70%, 60% (57%? 58%?) & then 59% and 44%.

At first I thought this was some kind of trick, where by using different means of communicating statistical data this article was going to show how 6 out of 10 sounds like more people than 60%, but that's not the case, it's just a weird inconsistency that makes the comparison difficult...
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