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#18 - In a poll of a representative sample of a province’s

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Complete Question Explanation

Flaw in the Reasoning. The correct answer choice is (E)

This stimulus presents a poll of the residents of a province, in which the provincial capital is the city most often selected as the best place to live. The capital is also the largest city in the province, and the writer’s conclusion is that the poll reflects a majority preference among respondents for large cities in general. This flawed reasoning presumes that it was the size of the capital city that was so appealing to respondents, in spite of the fact that other factors might have come into play (access to goods and services would likely be greater in a capital city, for example). Further, looking exclusively at the “winner” of the poll doesn’t tell us much about the voting—only that that one capital city got more votes than any other single city.

The question asks us to identify a vulnerability of the argument. While there may have been more respondents who chose the capital than any other town, this is not sufficient to conclude that most respondents would prefer large towns to small ones.

Answer choice (A): The stimulus concerns residents of this province. What residents of other provinces believe is irrelevant to the argument.

Answer choice (B): This is not a comparative poll. What occurs in other provinces is totally irrelevant to this poll, this province, and the author’s conclusion.

Answer choice (C): This is not a weakness—that is exactly what this poll is seeking to measure: what city residents of a particular province consider the best place to live.

Answer choice (D): The flaw in the stimulus does not involve a misinterpretation of what drove respondents’ preferences. Again, the flaw: just because the capital city received more votes than any other single city does not mean that there was a preference for larger cities in general.

Answer choice (E): This is the correct answer choice. This choice reflects the flaw in the interpretation of the survey. While the capital city did receive more votes than any other single city, this does not necessarily mean that large cities received more votes in total than small cities.
voodoochild
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Premise states that the capital city was chosen "most often" - doesn't it mean that greater than 50% of people chose the capital city? I am not sure why D is incorrect.

I am a bit confused. Please help.
Steve Stein
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Hey Voodoo,

If one hundred people were surveyed regarding their favorite book, the most popular book--the one chosen "most often"--may have had only two votes, if the 98 other people surveyed each had their own individual favorite.

I hope that's helpful--the way they reference numbers on these tests can be tricky. Let me know whether this is clear--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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voodoochild
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ok. thanks Steve. I thought that chosen "most often" means chosen by "most" people. I thought that there is no difference between "a majority of Chinese" and "most of Chinese." I am a bit confused.

If I say that China was chosen most often --- does it mean that majority chose China OR that most of the people (>50%) chose China. This is really confusing. Can you please clarify a bit in detail?
Steve Stein
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Hi Voodoo,

Thanks for your message. Think about a real-world situation, in which ten people were asked to list their favorite flavor. If chocolate got four votes, strawberry got three votes, vanilla got two votes, and chocolate chip got one vote, which flavor was the one that was chosen most often?

I hope that's helpful--let me know--thanks!

~Steve
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