The happiest and saddest events of 2010

The Thai King's recovery from illness was rated as the happiest event of 2010 by the Thai people while the political unrest was considered the saddest, according to a poll on the extremes of 2010 as reported by the Bangkok Post.

Sounds reasonable. But wait! Let's check the numbers. Let's look at the percentages of the responses to these and some other survey items:
  • The happiest event: the King's recovery (78.37%), better unity among Thai people (21.63%)
  • The saddest event: the political unrest and protest (64.37%), division in society (35.63%)
    The male politician they like most: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (68.09%), former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (31.91%)
  • The female politician they like most: Paweena Hongsakul of the Chart Thai Party (70.13%), Sudarat Keyuraphan, former executive member of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party (29.87%)
  • Wishes for the next year: peace in the country (53.04%), the country to have true democracy (46.96%)

Notice anything? Yes, for each item, the numbers add up to 100 per cent. It looks like in conducting the survey, the pollsters at Suan Dusit Rajabhat University offered two options for each item for the 9,065 respondents nationwide, and there was probably not a third option of "others" or "no opinion".

How reliable is a survey like that then?

Fortunately, another poll, conducted by the Bangkok and reported in the same article, lent some support to one of the above items. According to the second poll, "the city burning in May" was chosen as the worst among 10 incidents that happened in Thailand this year. There is probably no dispute that the political unrest is the saddest event of the year then?

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