And here’s another one – and in this case the sample size given is 17 million.

“”Analysis by MoneySupermarket.com reveals that the type of car you drive is not just a matter of personal choice, but can also be influenced by your name. The UK’s number one comparison site analysed 17 million car insurance searches through its site and has come up with cars people are most likely to drive based on their name.“”
So, the usual confusion between ‘most’ – that means ‘the one with the highest count’ and ‘more’ – that means ‘higher than’, or in
this case ‘higher than we might expect’. To be fair to the PR company – down in the small print you’ll find:

“”For example, Jacob’s are listed as having the highest likelihood of all names to own a Volkswagen: –
According to MoneySupermarket quotes, 14.5% of Jacob’s own an Volkswagen in the UK, compared to 8.6% of the UK population owning an Volkswagen.
Jacob’s are therefore 69% more likely to own an Volkswagen than the average person, and are chosen for having the highest rate of Volkswagen ownership for any UK name.””

However later they show the 200 most popular names and their associated car brands. This must be differently calculated since in the Jacob example above there would be only 1 name associated with Volkswagon, but there are in fact 12. So probably this is done by taking the car brand for which the name has the highest relative index of ownership – that’s +69% in the Jacon example above and has the great advantage from the point of view of puffery that every name will have one.
And in addition because of random but meaningless variations, rare cars are more likely to have high indexes and of course that makes for better stories. I quote again:

“Surprisingly the analysis shows men with the name Justin are most likely to drive Porsches.”
No they aren’t – in either sense of the word – they aren’t more likely than any other name (except maybe relatively) and they aren’t more likely compared to any other car (AND if it was true it wouldn’t be surprising because we all know that Justin is a wanker’s name).

The Times had a story about this but it isn’t on their website version – maybe that’s because they had belatedly realised that they had basically been had.

In fact, there may even be something even more dishonest about the results. The top 200 names and 34 brands: each brand had 12 names associated with it except Peugeot (13), Ford (10), Citroen (10) and Vauxhall (8). As Ford and Vauxhall are the biggest brands it makes sense that they should have the fewest random outliers – but all the others at 12?
It looks to me like “give me the top 12 for each brand but only one per name” or something like that: and that would be very bad.

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