Guardian vs Daily Mail: who is the one who made the mistake?

Earlier this week, Guido poked fun at The Guardian for publishing an opinion poll where the voting intention figures added up to 101. Of course, there isn’t really any mystery or error in all of this, because figures are nearly always rounded off to the nearest whole number when these sorts of polls are published. It’s therefore actually quite common to have polls were the rounded-off numbers add up to 101 or 99 or even sometimes 98 or 102.

So far, so silly. However, today’s Daily Mail carries a piece in their Ephraim Hardcastle column repeating the story (though without crediting Guido) and concluding, “Perhaps the unworldly types at The Grauniad are above such mundane things as simple addition.”

So I feel it is only fair to point out that the Daily Mail too has a record of publishing polls where the numbers don’t add up to 100, for similar rounding reasons. Take this story from their November 2007 poll for example:

Have you or do you intend to change your bank account as a result of the HM Treasury lost data fiasco?
I will not change them 79%
I intend to 11%
I have changed them 3%
Don’t know 10%

That’d be 103%. Oops.

Personally, I’d score that as no mistakes from The Guardian and one mistake (for criticising the Guardian figures) from the Daily Mail.

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