Oh how mildly irritating:

BBC: Elections get their own equation

Forget swingometers, opinion poll numbers and turnout figures, now there is new maths for elections: an equation on why people bother to vote…

Psychologist and motivation expert Cliff Arnall devised the formula as part of the Electoral Commission's attempts to encourage people to vote in the 4 May local elections in England…

Dr Arnall said: "There are many factors which affect why people do or do not vote, including demographics, attitudes and experiences.

Bingo! You have hit the nail on the head, Dr Arnall: what you have identified are some fairly obvious factors which might influence whether people vote—factors such as personal contact by party and perception of how safe the local seat is.

But what's all this about an equation? How on earth am I supposed to multiply (as your equation says I should) my perception that my vote will count by my sense of voting as a duty? What is the S.I. unit of sense of duty, and what instrument can I use to measure it?

Two factors that influence my general feeling of happiness are day of the week and amount of beer drunk. How the hell do I multiply Saturday by six pints? Answer me that.

See also: Soundbite Science

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.

One comment

  1. Here's a good one....
    Waist measurement x amount of beer consumed = risk of coronary failure.

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