Debunking Hudak’s “Changebook”

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Election, politics, Statistics and Lies

As I used to tell my students all the time, Mark Twain said that there were three kinds of lies;  Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

When looking for data on Ontario debt I stumbled on this brilliant paper by an economist, analyzing the graphs in Hudak’s Changebook document.  It doesn’t fare well.  If I was still teaching, I’d use it as an example of statistical misrepresentation.  The author of the paper, Jim Stanford, does an excellent job of describing these statistical misrepresentations in terms that the average person should be able to understand.  It refers to problems in the graphs that range from biased representation to outright incorrectly or strangely compiled data.  One analysis of manufacturing jobs in Ontario shows how the Hudak version is doctored to avoid showing that jobs began their decrease during the last PC government and not magically with the election of the current Liberal goverment.  It also ignores data which shows a definate rebound in jobs over the past six months.  This is just one of the graphs analysed and corrected in this excellent paper.

It’s a pdf doc, so I can’t lift any individual graphs to show examples, but the entire work is not that long and makes for fascinating reading.

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