If Consumer Confidence Falls in the Woods, Does it Make a Sound?

Just a bit of silliness for the end of a Friday: Velvet Spicer at the Rochester Business Journal reports that consumer confidence in Rochester is skyrocketing!!! Why it rose a whole point from last month:

Overall confidence in upstate—which includes current and future confidence—was 53.4 in November, compared with 49.5 in October and 67.7 a year ago.

You have to ask yourself: in a pool as small as respondents to a poll concerning Upstate, how small does a change need to be before it’s disregarded as statistical noise? In other words, is a one percent change in such a small pool of data a genuine change or just a reflection of the variations that are normal with an opinion poll?

Think about it: if they asked 800 people what they thought of the economy, one percent of respondents would only be eight people! How is this statistically significant in any way?

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.