Lies, Damn Lies and Opinion Polls – Really?

first_imgScoop Werewold 12 March 2012“Conservative Young Cautious on Sex Education,” claimed a headline in the Sunday Star Times early in January. According to the paper, “sex education could be too much for conservative Kiwi youths” who, it concluded, hold “conservative views on sex issues”. In the face of recurring moral panics about our over-sexualised, over-sexed drunken youth, it was certainly a surprising claim. Could it be that the nation’s teenagers are all ensconced in their bedrooms doing their maths homework after all?The Sunday Star Times’s article was based on a poll commissioned by the conservative lobby group Family First, whose media release on the same day had pretty much the same take, bearing the headline: “Teens Conservative on Sex/Abortion Issues – Poll”. “A nationwide poll of 600 young people aged 15-21 has found that they hold conservative values on sex issues,” the release began.A cursory glance at the survey data actually tells quite a different story – different, at least, depending on the story you want them to tell. What’s more, Family First’s own release provided evidence of less – rather than more – sexual conservatism, with its expressions of concern at New Zealand’s high teen pregnancy and abortion rates, and “out of control” sexually transmitted infections. None of which seemed to disturb the Sunday Star Times in its desire to run with a headline that wasn’t just perkily counterintuitive, but also got to include the three-letter “s” word. Nor did any doubts plague The Dominion Post’s columnist Karl du Fresne, who was heartened that the survey showed teenagers “see through all the fraudulent b…..” about sex education .The “conservative teens” survey was one of around a dozen opinion polls released by Family First in the past year on a range of hot-button moral issues, many of which, just like the youth survey, attracted some surprisingly uncritical attention by the mainstream media. But of course it’s not just Family First surveys that sometimes get an easy ride. Under the “polling” category on their StatsChat blog, faculty from the University of Auckland’s Statistics Department list numerous examples of poor use of polls on issues ranging from smoking to students fleeing overseas to the media’s own “self-selected web site polls”. “We’ve commented before on the annoying tendency of newspapers to claim that self-selected website polls actually mean something,” Prof. Thomas Lumley wrote in a January post.  “The media usually refers to the results as coming from an ‘unscientific poll’, but a better term would be ‘a bogus poll’”.http://werewolf.co.nz/2012/03/lies-damn-lies-and-opinion-polls/last_img read more

MBB : On the block: Position-by-position breakdown of Syracuse vs. Rutgers

first_img Published on February 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm Point guardScoop Jardine vs. Mike CoburnIt’s amazing what a little familiarity can do for a point guard. Even if Coburn is nowhere near as skilled in the passing game as Jardine, the senior from Mount Vernon, N.Y., has a weapon at his disposal that is equal to what Jardine has: a running mate he has known forever. Jardine’s childhood counterpart is SU stalwart Rick Jackson. For Coburn, the Scarlet Knights’ best player in Jonathan Mitchell grew up on the Lower Westchester playgrounds with the 6-foot point guard. Coburn rarely goes for points and will struggle more against SU’s zone. It’s what he is groomed for. It’s hard not to see Jardine having the advantage in this matchup.Advantage: SyracuseShooting guardAdvertisementThis is placeholder textBrandon Triche vs. James BeattyRick Jackson was SU’s MVP through the first 25 games. Triche has taken that title in the last two. With Jackson struggling, Triche says he finally recognized he needed to assert himself in the SU offense, and against Louisville and West Virginia he went for 41 total points. SU head coach Jim Boeheim says Triche needs to be a scorer. Against the very average Beatty (averaging 8.7 points per game), Triche will have a chance to eclipse his season average of 11.2 points per game.Advantage: SyracuseSmall forwardKris Joseph vs. Dane MillerJoseph is coming off a pretty complete performance against West Virginia, but to Jim Boeheim, Joseph’s game is still not where it should be. Miller will be a challenge in some aspects of the game. For example, he’s fifth in the Big East in blocks per game. But he has also proven the ability to not be much of an offensive threat at times, evidenced by his zero-point, one-rebound performance against Seton Hall last Saturday. He doesn’t compare with a player the caliber of Joseph.Advantage: SyracusePower forwardRick Jackson vs. Jonathan MitchellThis is where Jackson will look to exploit Rutgers’ lack of overall size, because on offense he’ll have the ability to match up against the undersized Mitchell. Rutgers will undoubtedly double- and even triple-team Jackson, so SU’s other shooters have to step up. Mitchell’s claim to fame recently has been a four-point play that won his team a game over Villanova, but he’s been lighting up the scoreboard lately with at least 20 points in five of six games.Advantage: EvenCenterBaye Moussa Keita vs. Gilvydas BirutaIt’s a matchup of two freshmen here, and it includes the freshman who should be starting at center for SU. Moussa Keita is a starter by name only. Most of the time, C.J. Fair’s subbed in for Moussa Keita in the past two games. On the other side, Biruta has impressed in his freshman season. He’s among the top three freshmen in the Big East in field-goal percentage (first), free-throw percentage (first) and rebounding (third).Advantage: RutgersBenchRutgers’ bench has some spark, including wing Mike Poole and forward Austin Johnson, who leads the team in field-goal percentage. But the biggest factor off the bench will be from SU. That would be C.J. Fair, who has played an average of 35 minutes in the past two games. He’s averaging more than 10 points per game in his last three. Will Fab Melo get some minutes here?Advantage: Syracuse Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Syracuse’s balanced attack too much for St. John’s in 13-11 Orange victory

first_imgCHESTER, Pa. — Kevin Rice and JoJo Marasco had nearly unlimited options.The duo combined for seven assists, pacing No. 10 Syracuse (3-1, 1-0 Big East) to a 13-11 win over St. John’s (3-2, 0-1 Big East). SU’s crisp passing and balanced attack doomed the Red Storm on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. in the Whitman’s Sampler Independence Classic.“We have a whole bunch of guys that are putting the ball in the back of the net and shooting pretty well,” Marasco said. “I just like to dodge and hopefully I can find someone open, and it’s been working pretty well so far.”Nine different players scored for SU, as Rice and Marasco’s passing and Derek Maltz’ goal scoring propelled the Orange to victory in its first Big East contest of the season.The duo of Marasco and Maltz was explosive from the get-go.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith the score tied at 1 eight minutes in, Marasco found Maltz bustling through the St. John’s zone. Maltz caught the pass and converted on a turnaround shot, fading away from goal.Marasco finished with four assists, while Rice tallied three and Luke Cometti and Steve Ianzito added one apiece.After Kieran McArdle fueled a 3-0 Red Storm spurt to tie the game at 4, Marasco and Maltz teamed up again. This time, Maltz beat goaltender Jeff Lowman up top, putting the Orange ahead of St. John’s once again.“They do a really good job of getting (Maltz) in the spot where he’s most dangerous,” St. John’s head coach Jason Miller said. “… I thought our guys did a pretty good job of handling it, but if you give him that many opportunities he’s going to score.”While Maltz and Marasco paced Syracuse early on, St. John’s offense ran through McArdle. Every time he had the ball, he threatened to score. McArdle received the ball in isolation situations, lurking around the net on his go-to left side. He finished with four goals, but SJU relied on the Big East’s leader in points per game too frequently and its offense stagnated.Syracuse, though, had an unpredictable attack. Eight different players scored for the Orange against Virginia on March 1. Against SJU, Maltz scored three, Cometti and Scott Loy contributed with two and six other players chipped in with one.The scoring came from a hodgepodge of sources. Late in the third quarter, with the game tied at nine, it came from one of the least likely sources: defender Brian Megill.When Megill’s shot went in, it was as if he didn’t even know how to react. He was shocked. He jumped up with two feet and pumped his fist. The strike marked his first of the season and just the second of his career.“I’ve got to work on my celebration,” Megill said. “But, no, I think we needed it. I think we were tied up at that point. I was just trying to spark something for the team.”That’s exactly what he did. Off an unselfish pass from Cometti – who could have easily ripped a contested shot – Megill’s goal gave the Orange momentum heading into the final quarter.Goals from Cometti, Derek DeJoe – on Rice’s pass from his customary spot behind the net – and Loy iced the game for SU, as the Orange outscored the Red Storm 3-2 in the final frame and crept away with a conference-opening win.SU outshot SJU 47-32, showcasing its ability to penetrate the zone and work the ball around the attack. Syracuse constantly bombarded Lowman in net thanks to its fluid passing and sharp offensive execution.McArdle’s four goals and Kevin Cernuto’s hat trick helped SJU hang around, but SU was too much to handle. The balance that’s defined Syracuse’s season so far was on display yet again, as the Orange fended off the Red Storm.“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” SU head coach John Desko said. “We just went out and rolled up our sleeves and took it one goal at a time.” Comments Published on March 9, 2013 at 5:14 pm Contact Trevor: tbhass@syr.edu | @TrevorHass Related Stories After committing ample penalties, Syracuse limits Red Storm’s man-up opportunities late in gamecenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more