Education minister doesn’t know difference between “percent” and “percentage-points”

In Uncategorized on 05/11/2015 at 4:46 am

“If you look in terms of percentage in hotly contested areas, there is no 10 per cent swing. It’s about 5″, said Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung on Wednesday. .

No not another person who doesn’t know the difference between “percent” and “percentage-points” or “points”. And he’s a minister and a next generation leader?

Sometime back I ranted

A Fellow from the Institute of Policy Studies, one Johannis Aziz wrote on IPS Commons (“Where Minds Meet”), Singaporeans voted in a general election that saw the incumbent PAP government enjoy a 9.8% vote swing in its favour.

Hello what “9.8% vote swing”? While this kind of garbage is common on TRE, TOC or social media, a Fellow of the Institute of Policy Studies should know better. He should not be as financially illiterate a TRE cybernut like Oxygen. And if he’s no moron, he should not use words sloppily, again like cybernuts.

I’ve rebuked cybernuts on TRE, TOC and Facebook for the wrong use of “%”. The swing is 9.8 points or 9.8 percentage-points, not “9.8%”.

I pointed out to them that if they can’t get this simple terminology right, why should anyone trust their analysis? I say the same to Johannes Aziz, a Fellow of IPS. Another FT where the T stands for “Trash”?

A minister should know better, particularly a scholar.

Baring this mistake, Ong is absolutely right that the swing a 5 percentage point swing not a 10.

As I wrote sometime back:

There is of angst by the anti-PAP crowd about the 10 point swing to the PAP by those who voted the Oppo in 2011. Actually. only voters amounting to 5 percentage-points voted for the PAP instead of the Oppo parties. But this becomes a 10 percentage-point swing because the Oppo lost 5 points and the PAP gained 5 points.

Not that bad leh as a 10% loss.

Update on 7 November at 6.00pm: A friend who has an MSE degree says that minister and me are wrong to talk about 5 point swing. It should be 10 point swing.

He says

PAP – 60% of votes
Opp – 40%
Difference 20 points
POP – 70%
Opp – 30%
Difference 40
Swing: 40-20 = 20
However, 20 points is incorrect as actual loss/gain of vote share of each side is only 10 points.

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