Actually, I was wrong yesterday. Lord Ashcroft did say this on Twitter:
How they voted: 16-17 year-olds 71-29 for YES, 65+ 73-27 for NO. Labour voters 63-37 for NO. pic.twitter.com/lnFap4E3Pm
— Lord Ashcroft (@LordAshcroft) September 19, 2014
(I checked at about 9pm on 20/09/2014 and the tweet above had been deleted — it has been replaced with one that was much more reasonable, showing that 51% of 16-24 year olds voted “Yes” (*). Because my ranting doesn’t make sense without the original tweet, I put a copy of the original above).
And was retweeted almost 900 times, spreading the totally unfounded idea of radical teenagers.
I don’t know how many 16-17 year olds voted for independence because no one does. I do know that research before the referendum suggested that 16-17 year olds were actually the group most likely to vote “no” after the 60+ group, so this would be a surprising turnabout, though not impossible if turnout was skewed/ people changed their minds.
I’m sure someone will do the research and bring out more accurate figures, but what are the chances that anyone will believe those now?
What’s bothering me today is whose responsibility is it that hundreds (at least) of people now believe this story. Should Lord Ashcroft have made the claim above (especially without telling anyone his margin of error)? Should everyone who retweeted have waited for the full data to be released? Should everyone who makes these claims be able to calculate what the figures really mean?
Presumably Lord Ashcroft knows how polling works, and knows that 14 is too small a sample to make those claims about. So why did he make them?
And now, apparently, an SNP chap is citing this data on TV so even more people will believe it. Argh.
This makes me sad
But just because I can’t let something go, the 16-24 year old group was 98 people, which is an error margin of 10%, which makes a 49%/51% split almost completely meaningless anyway…