Aside from the fact that the news this country has a new Prime Minister who is a racist liar I was bothered by the phrasing on BBC News last night. I haven’t really watched TV news for a long time, I find it patronising and reliant on the personal story rather than the facts, I don’t enjoy watching it. I viewed a little on catch up last night just to see what they said about the tory party leadership result.
Boris Johnson won by a MARGIN of two to one.
Now, what the actual fuck does that mean? I mean, I’m not happy Johnson won but that’s the shitty system we have. I’m really asking what does the phrase “by a margin of two to one” mean?
Does it mean that Boris got around 66% of the vote and Hunt 33% [or thereabouts]? In which case the margin is 1/3 of the electorate or you could even say the majority was 100% of Hunt’s vote. What you can’t say is the MARGIN was a ratio of 2:1 without DEFINING what the other side of the ratio is. Fucking hell, people need to understand that maths and words have meanings.
My instinct is that these numbers are the relative share of the vote, but the news chap doesn’t say that. He says MARGIN. The margin is the majority? I don’t know. How is margin defined in this case. A quick inspection of Wikipedia has the definition that MARGIN is the percentage of the difference relative to total turnout.
So, I think it would be best for the BBC and other news outlets to have used the phrase:
Mr Johnson won with a margin of around 33% of the turnout.