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Political Science

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The Conversation


Why do people make such poor decisions about politics? Why are they so often distracted by lies, irrelevant alternatives and specious arguments?

Politicians use and abuse statistics and fabricate when it suits their purposes. Contemporary examples of either deliberate or inadvertent misuse of data are easy to find on all sides of the political divide, from the Trump administration’s claim that U.S. border officials detained “nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists” last year at the Mexican border to U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s December tweet asserting that “66 percent of Medicare for All could have been funded already” with the money spent on the Pentagon’s accounting errors.


This article is published as Shelley, M.C., 3 Reasons Why People Fall for Politicians' Lies about Statistics. The Conversation. Feb 2019,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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