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Comment: Re:The results match pre-election poll (Score 1) 512

by tksh (#28356845) Attached to: Statistical Suspicions In Iran's Election
I definitely agree that there has been no smoking gun, if anything, the rattled response by the grand ayatollah (announce support for Ahmadinejad win on Saturday, again on Sunday and now declaring a partial recount?) is more suggestive than trying to analyse the published numbers.

It's just that there isn't such a strong argument for either candidate to have won by a landslide. Class differences isn't a smoking gun either. Ahmadinejad has good support in the rural areas but inversely, Mousavi has the better support in cities, regardless of class. You can see citizens of all stripes, gender and age in both camp's protests. It can be a wash for all we know.

As Obama said today, there's something going on in Iran. And it's too early, with too little information, to call it for either side.

Comment: Re:The results match pre-election poll (Score 5, Interesting) 512

by tksh (#28356157) Attached to: Statistical Suspicions In Iran's Election
There's a serious omission in that op-ed that misrepresents that 2:1 ratio.

Namely, that Ahmadinejad only had the vote of 34% of the those polled while Mousavi had 14%. So yes, technically that's 2:1 where the the sum total of both figures is less than 50%. Read the actual report linked to in the article, they highlight this rather important qualifying information by the big red text on page 3.

And if you look at the actual tallies for that question on page 52, question 27, you will see it's 34% for Ahmadinejad, 14% for Mousavi, 27% (!) don't know and 15% (!!) who refused to answer. Both of those are non-trivial percentages that can swing either candidate for a landslide win. This undermines the implication that there is strong support for Ahmadinejad, by a ratio of 2:1 to his closest rival. Seriously, that's an incredulous omission to make, nevermind the fact that the poll itself was conducted a month ago. It is in these past two weeks that voter's opinion would better reflect their voting preferences, you know, after the actual presidential debates.

Fivethirtyeight.com has a good write up of these points, explaining why the opinion expressed in the editorial is not supported by the report it cites. Juan Cole has another good explanation as well.

(The most interesting question on the survey for me BTW, was the question that asked about developing nuclear energy. A full 83% responded with 'strongly favour' while 11% said 'somewhat favour'. That's 94% combined.)

Comment: Re:Networking won't solve this (Score 1) 838

by tksh (#28328471) Attached to: Iran Moves To End "Facebook Revolution"
Networking alone won't help the reformists come into power but it sure is key in spreading information and organising protests and sit-ins (see: Obama '08 election). A lot of people on Slashdot make fun of Twitter but it's incredibly useful in situations like this where other forms of real time communications are shutdown.

Pretty much all the news so far from Iran have been a combination of on the ground journalists + satellite phones + Twitter. Remember CNN's coverage on Tiananmem? Twitter (very roughly) is filling in the same void for Tehran.

I put up my thumb... and it blotted out the planet Earth. -- Neil Armstrong

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