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Friday, July 16, 2004

Bunking Jack Flash

The following chart purported to show that Bush's popularity inversely tracks gas prices.

Never mind that the tracking of the 2 sets of data is a bit chaotic, the idea of plotting a percentage (i.e. popularity) which is restricted to a number between 0 and 100 against a free-ranging price just doesn't cut it. Not being tied to a sensible normalization and calibration also means that the "statistician" can get creative.

Nevertheless, some truth lies within the basic assertion. For example, no one doubts that the historical unpopularity of presidents can also be tied to recessions that happen to occur during their term in office. Then, you look at this bit of reportage from CNN/Money:
In the past 30 years there has never been a significant move higher in energy prices that has not been followed by recession.

More on the "proof of correlation" here: It's the gas price stupid!

Hey, for all I know this might actually be a real correlation, but don't be disrespecting the data.


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