Sta

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A regular feature in a newspaper asks readers to respond via e-mail to a survey that requires a yes or no response. In the following day's newspaper, the percentage of yes and no responses are reported. discuss why we should ignore these statistics.

• Sta -

What were the questions? How were they worded? How did a person respond who didn't want to answer Yes or No?

Particularly important is that the respondents were self-chosen. Only those who had strong feelings one way or the other would respond.

• Statistics -

Ms. Sue's response is right on!

People who don't have strong feelings one way or the other typically do not respond, so they have been labeled the "silent majority."

The results can only be generalized to those who responded. We do not know if the results are representative of all the newspaper readers, let alone the general population.

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