Confidence Intervals and Polls cont.
DUE: 01.24.15 @ 11:59PM
Visit pollingreport.com and review the poll discussed below. Discuss the potential biases that might interfere with accurate estimates for the population parameter.
The poll examines the idea of whether or not the country is going in the right direction. Are we as a country headed the right way or are we spinning our wheels? The poll also asks if the sample population believes we as a country are in a decline.
URL for the website: http://www.pollingreport.com/right.htm
This was a poll of 800 adults nationwide with a margin of error of =/- 3.5
The results of the first question are fairly easy to interpret. The majority of people in this poll believe that the country is going in the wrong direction – 59%. Only 30% thought that we were going the right way. And the remaining 10% either were unsure or gave a mixed answer. With these results it is easy to see that the people in the sample believe we need to do things differently. These results were collected recently (January 14-17, 2015) and, if accurately exposing the feeling of most American voters, can give a glimpse into the possible future of current political figures.
The second question asks if America is in a decline. These results were split more evenly – 49% feel America is in decline and 48% feel that is not the case. Only 3% were unsure. The answers to this poll are somewhat at odds with the first question which asks if we are going in the wrong direction. It seems that although many do not agree with where we are going, they think we are doing all right getting there.
I think the margin of error is reasonably accurate. The differences in the answers are based on the person’s interpretation of what the poll recorder is asking. The second question, as presented, is a bit ambiguous and requires that all poll participants interpret it the same way for the answers to mean the same thing.
Realizing that taking a full census of the country is prohibitive, I am inclined to be less than supportive of sample polls. Unless the entire sample is a broad range of people representing all diversities, the poll can be skewed in some way. If for instance this poll was taken outside of schools and only teachers and education professionals who were registered to vote were included the results would be different than those of a sample from big-box retail workers.
Work backwards given the sample size used. Verify that the sample size used in post below will provide the 95% confidence interval.
URL for the website: http://www.pollingreport.com/ed.htm
President Obama proposed providing free tuition to attend community colleges, estimated to cost the federal government over $60 Billion over a 10 year period. The question was asked by ABC News (Washington Post) of 1003 adults: "Do you support or oppose this proposition?" 53% Answered "Support" and 44% answered "Oppose." Only 3% said "Unsure." There is a margin of error of 3.5, which means that it's possible that 49.5% actually support, and 47.5% actually oppose this proposition. With the margin of error bringing the numbers so close, this is pretty much a 50/50 proposition.
It is very possible that the polling staff "loaded" the sample pool by calling in a specific geographic location, such as a heavily populated large city (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, etc) where those being polled tend to gravitate to one political party, which would skew the numbers considerably. Probably with the responses being so close to a 50/50 balance, that the results are probably fairly accurate.
In opposition of this proposition: My husband teaches at a community college, and he has seen what happens when people are paid to go to school. He has many students that have been at the college for 10+ years, taking class after class - not working on any major - just benefiting from "going to school" and living off of the financial aid sent to them by State and Federal Grants. If the tuition for all community colleges are "free" (meaning being paid for by the taxpayers) then those that are taking advantage of the program will be an even bigger problem than they already are. In addition, the price tag associated with this proposition is huge, and the country is already dealing with an overwhelming deficit that we will never be able to pay off as it is - where is this money coming from? It will come from raised taxes on all of us.
College is NOT for everyone, and higher education is not a right - it is a privilege that should be earned in order to be appreciated.
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*Homework Field of Study: Business Statistics
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