Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

I ran into this headline today:

“PEW POLL: 63 MILLION MUSLIMS SUPPORT ISIS IN ELEVEN COUNTRIES”

I won’t link to the article, but you can probably find this site through a quick search. My first thought was that this number seemed small–I was pretty sure that there were over a billion Muslims in the world.

Sure enough, the original Pew poll has this headline:

IN NATIONS WITH SIGNIFICANT MUSLIM POPULATIONS, MUCH DISDAIN FOR ISIS” and the following chart:

FT_15.11.17_isis_views

The numbers in the first headline are technically correct, but does “having a favorable opinion” equate to “supporting”? This verb change is both inaccurate and probably deliberately inflammatory. And it does nothing to point out the over 350 million Muslims in these countries that have unfavorable opinions. (Note that Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, the top three countries in terms of how many Syrian refugees have been admitted, all have overwhelmingly negative opinions of ISIS).

#dailydatastory

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