Thursday, March 31, 2005


When is hundreds of thousand a million on Taiwan?

Sometimes I wonder are the spin doctors in the DPP are so desperate for the Taidu cause that they need to spin facts so hard? Here is the latest spin about the 326 protest on Taiwan, from that unbias news media Taipei Times.

Crowd estimates confirm figure of a million marchers

As for the disputes over the turnout for the march, according to a survey
conducted by the alliance on March 28 and 29, about 5.5 percent of those polled
(1,293 people over 20 years of age) said that they joined in the march.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, there are about 16.74 million
people over 20 years old.

From these numbers, the alliance calculated that about 930,000 people participated in the historic event.
Initial reports had the participation levels at 500,000 by the ROC police. Mayor Ma later cited that the participation level was at 270,000. Most news outlet just cite "hundreds of thousands."

People familar with sampling know the greatest flaw in the process is getting a good sampling. Which is why there is an error factor known as standard deviation used in reporting populations derived from statistical extrapolation.

I don't know the protocol that was used to derive the sampling. But it is obvious that political rallies of this nature do not have random distribution of people of various ages. For the most part people will form clusters with friends or social groups on these marches. These groups will usually have people of the same demographics. So if you're unluck you might run into a group of pre-schoolers being pushed by their parents. Or you might run into a group of foreigners. Or a group of Japanese students. And for the truly fortunate there will be a group of highschool and college girls closely bunched together passing you by (One can dream).

Another obvious flaw given their sampling results, is that it can also be concluded that 94.5 of the population was under the age of 20. Unless my eyes were playing tricks on me most of the marchers were over 20 and not being pushed around in baby carriages.

Is the Ministry of the Interior is now playing the game of Chinese age vs. Western Age? Where Chinese age is usually 2 years older than the Western age (1 year for passing the first Chinese New Year and 1 year for the time in the womb). However, that is a blog for another day...when is 20 not really 20.

My opinion is that the crowd was on the lighter side of 500,000. I mean for pete sake the President asked people to bring their pets to this event. Are we so desperate that every cat and dog is counted to as well to reach one million participants?


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