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More trouble in the Middle East — with the y-axis

In Miraculous discoveries, Politics, Random fun stuff, Statistics on Tuesday 10th February, 2009 by Guy Tagged: , , ,

Who is going to get how many seats in the Israeli general election today? Let’s look at the exit polls, courtesy of Ha’aretz:

Exit poll results... sort of

Exit poll results... sort of

Wow, the Labor Party and Yisrael Beitenu are doing pretty badly. They are only predicted to gain one quarter of the seats that Likud and Kadima are projected to get! But, wait a second. 15 is one half of 30, not a quarter, right? So how did they get the graph to look like that? The bars match up perfectly with the y-axis; they have interpolated the numbers between 15 and 30 correctly. What’s going on??

Oh. I see. It’s a, *cough*, “non-linear scale”. Got it. And this is the country with one of the highest per-capita levels of PhD holdership in the world. Come on Ha’aretz, wake up!

[source: Ha’aretz home page, although they have corrected the graph for their special election coverage page].

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