Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bad Statistics

If they polled 1300 people, of whom 3% described themselves as "extreme right-wing", then all of their questions to this group was to a group of less than 50 people. Statistically, this is a joke - there is a reason that surveys use a thousand people, not fifty. If they find 1000 "extreme right wingers" and get the same results then this would be a story.


Ongoing research studying tendencies of political violence in Israeli Jewish circles suggests that there is a steady rise in the support for political violence among the radical right.

A series of polls has been carried out on this topic by Haifa University’s National Security Studies Center.

The most recent poll was conducted in September. It polled 1,613 of Israel’s Jewish population with a margin of error of between three and five percent.

One in every four declared supporters of the extreme right wing believes that sending threats and hate mail to public figures may at times be necessary in order to stop a dangerous political measure.

The term ‘supporter of extreme right wing’ was determined according to the interviewees’ declared political stand (choosing from the options ‘extreme right wing,’ ‘right wing,’ ‘center,’ ‘left wing,’ ‘extreme left wing.’) Some 3% of those polled declared they belonged to the extreme right wing.

Some 18.5 percent of radical right wing supporters believe that when a political disaster is imminent and all means of protest have been exhausted, physical harm to politicians may be forgivable. This is a 4% rise compared to a similar survey conducted in May 2004, and an 8% rise compared to a poll conducted in February 2003.

Of the radical right supporters, 14.8% said they believe there are situations in which there is no option but to use weapons to prevent the government from carrying out its policy. From the total Jewish population in Israel, 9.6% expressed support for this statement. (This also makes little sense, if only 3% are considered "extreme right-wing." - EZ)

The findings are particularly pertinent since the Israeli government is planning to withdraw from Gaza and security forces may encounter physical resistance by those opposing the evacuation.