“General election polls in 2015 ‘the most inaccurate’,” said the BBC. “Polling shake-up planned after inquiry into general election debacle unearths flaws,” read the LocalGov website. Meanwhile, Bloomberg weighed in with “Polls often wrong but you're stuck with them”.
Denmark reclaimed its place as the happiest country in the world, according to the latest annual World Happiness Report. Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Finland followed in quick succession at the top, while Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi languished at the bottom.
On 23 June, the United Kingdom will vote on whether to remain a member of the European Union, or leave. Many politicians have already declared which side of the argument they are on, but what about the rest of the country? Polls, such as YouGov’s, suggest opinions are split: 37% say they want to remain, 38% want to leave, and 25% either don’t know or won’t vote. But it’s a bit too early to make any predictions for how the vote might shake out. As YouGov’s own website notes, referendum polling this far out tends to be “a poor guide”.
"Over a third of students ‘no longer wish to study medicine’ amid the junior doctors’ contract row, says poll.” This recent headline from The Independent was just one of many about a widely reported survey that appeared to suggest that thousands of medical students are giving up on their vocation. But is there really a looming medical recruitment crisis?
In the second instalment of our new 'Ask A Statistician' column, Peter McIntyre, a pharmaceutical worker from Essex asks: "The twentieth century witnessed two of the bloodiest conflicts in human history, so what are the chances that World War III will occur this century?"
Today is World Statistics Day - a chance to celebrate and showcase diverse applications of data, and how the work of statisticians is helping to improve lives. The October 2015 issue of Significance features several such articles, including the following piece from Claire Melamed, the director for poverty and inequality at the Overseas Development Institute. Two years after a United Nations report called for a "data revolution", Melamed takes stock of how close we have come to achieving that goal.
It’s almost the end of party conference season in the UK – a time in which political leaders take stock of the past, propose grand visions for the future and throw policy ideas through the ringer of debate and discussion. Party bigwigs talk about opportunities, of course, and challenges too. And one of the biggest challenges they face is the fragmented nature of modern politics.