When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

04 November 2008

Innumeracy in the news

I am not a statistician and I do not play one on the Internet, even at my blog. But an ABC News report breathlessly relates the following factoid, with no context:
Despite the possibility of Obama becoming the nation's first black president, the turnout of black voters as a percentage of the national vote was at 13 percent, just slightly higher than in 2004, according to early exit polls.
OK, what key fact are we missing?

About 12.4% of the American people are Black or African American,[2] most of whom are primarily descendants of Africans who lived through the Slavery era in the U.S. between 1619 and the 1860s and emancipated during the American Civil War. Black Americans are the largest racial minority as opposed to Hispanics and Latinos, who are the largest "ethnic" minority.
Racial and ethnic demographics of the United States (Wikipedia)

In a high-turnout situation, you simpletons, you'd expect the racial demographics of the voting population to be very similar to the racial demographics of the overall population, no?

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