Friday, December 29, 2017

Annals of Derp: The Gallup Most Admired

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Gypsy girl with Basque drum. Via Enigm-Art.

You know who's really the most admired woman in the United States? Somebody you've never heard of. I'm not even kidding: that was the answer 13% of the respondents in Gallup's 2017 survey, "friend/relative". The most frequent answer, given by 27%, was "don't know". Hillary Clinton only came in third, at 9%. Or maybe she was more like 13%, or 5%, because there's a four-point margin of error.

Puttting it another way, this is a really dumb survey, and always has been. It may tell you how many Americans say they admire Hillary the most of all women, around nine in a hundred, or around 94 of their 1,049 respondents (the given number is some manipulation of the raw numbers of those who named her as first and as second choice both). It doesn't tell you who America admires the most—that would take a different kind of poll, maybe taking the top 50 names on these lists and asking a second sample to rank them all.

It doesn't signify nothing. There is some kind of meaning to the suggestion that Barack Obama is more admired than Donald Trump (though only 17% to 14%, well within the margin of error), or that Hillary Clnton is still definitively on the women's list (9% to 7% for Michelle Obama). But it isn't much.

And down below the scale, where Condoleezza Rice and Melania Trump are tied for seventh place at 1% each, about the same as Bernie Sanders (7th place) and Bill Gates (8th place) on the men's list, it's really meaningless. It's comical and a little pathetic when the Free Beacon calls attention to the prime minister of Israel:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is America's most admired foreign democratically elected male leader, according to an annual Gallup survey.
Netanyahu was ninth overall on the list of most admired men by Americans, with about 1 percent of respondents naming him. He is currently the second-longest serving prime minister in Israel's history after David Ben-Gurion.
The Dalai Lama was 11th on the list.
Fewer than one in a hundred think of naming Netanyahu, and fewer still of the Dalai Lama (who's actually tied for 10th place, with Mike Pence and Jeff Bezos). What differentiates him from Justin Trudeau at 13, Theresa May (14 on the women's list), Aung San Suu Kyi (much further down), Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, and Nelson Mandela and Benazir Bhutto, the last two not even alive though the questionnaire specified that they had to be, is pretty much random error.

It's fun to talk about these numbers, but you should avoid thinking you learned anything from them,

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

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