Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fun Fact

So Mayor Bloomberg won a third term by a surprisingly narrow margin. Prob. a good thing that he won over the other guy, prob. also a good thing that it was scarily close. Lets him know New Yorkers are upset about his term-limits shennanigans.

But here's something odd I noticed. Again and again in the coverage of his victory it was noted that this makes him "only the fourth three-term mayor in the last century". This makes it sound like quite an unusual thing, no? Only 4 in 100 years?

Here's the thing, though. The first was LaGuardia who took office in 1934. NYC mayor terms are 4 years a piece. So the other way of looking at this "only the fourth" statistic is that when he completes his third term, New Yorkers will have spend 48 (3 terms * 4 years per term = 12 years per mayor, 4 3-term mayors * 12 years per mayor = 48 years) of the past, well, 80 years if we take LaGuardia's entrance as the start but, oh, let's call it 100 years so as to not cherry pick LaGuardia's start date.

48/100 years under 3-term mayors doesn't sound nearly as rare as "only the fourth in a century" does it? Going by number of mayors, it would be 4 of the last 10 mayors, again not exactly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

A good example of the truth in the phrase "lies, damned lies & statistics".

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