Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Approval Ratings or Abysmal Ratings

In a Six Sigma class recently, the participants counted the number of candies in a small bag. They each had one. It was a small class but we found an average for red candies to be 14% of the total. We found brown to be 18%, orange 21%, and so on. However, when we calculated our prediction for the settings by the candy company, we had to say that the true average for red was anywhere between 0% and 65% based on our sample. The expected range for brown would be 0-75%. When we doubled our sample, we got a slight change in the averages and we narrowed our ranges (a bit) also. The expectation for red was now 0-54%.

There's been a Facebook message flaunting the low approval ratings for President Obama. According to a recent poll, he's down to 37%. That's a significant drop given the poll's margin of error at +3.4%. From previous polls, we would expect the real approval rating to be anywhere from 47-53%. The fact that it came below the most recent range indicates a statistically significant drop. (The disapproval rating got worse as well. It was the "neither" category that accounted for the biggest change.)

There's also a significant increase in the percentage of people saying that the country as a whole is going in the wrong direction. Instead of 53-59% thinking so, we now have 78%. But don't think Obama gets the whole blame for this.

Congress also significantly lost approval. They went from 14-20% approval ratings to 5% according to the sample (or a range of 2-8%). Their "neither" rating also skyrocketed and their disapproval rating significantly got worse.

But before Republicans think Obama is doomed, all of Congress needs to worry about their own jobs. At least his approval ratings are 700% higher than theirs. Support for the Tea Party significantly dropped. Though all this is true and our 'clowns in Congress' may worry, it doesn't mean we'll see significant changes in Congressional personnel. While we as a country may dislike the group, we 'love' our particular representative and Senators. We re-elected them at a rate of 90%. We don't want 'our guy' to change; we want everyone else to vote a different guy into office.

Perhaps we should do an approval rating for the voters: how well do we think we're doing our jobs as the electorate. Red candy anyone? How about blue? According to the class sample, there are expected to be more blue pieces than red ones. Hmmm, foretelling of the next election, maybe?

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