SAYit Blog
Pick a number

Last month, in a general public poll, we asked 1000 people to enter a number between 0 and 100.

The idea was to see if responses were random or there was some pattern behind the selection.

Below is a 'word cloud' of responses, where the size of the number represents how many times it was mentioned.

Clearly 50 was the most popular choice, it was chosen by 8% of people.

  • Another striking feature was the high frequency of numbers that are multiples of 11. Such as 99, 88, 77, etc.
  • Respondents seemed to prefer picking single digit numbers (0-9) as 17% did so, while they were less likely to pick numbers in the 30s (5%) and 90s (also 5%).
  • One of the more curious results was about the numbers that were not selected. In a purely random sample of 1000 the chance that one of the numbers between 0 and 100 is not selected is about 0.4% and the chance that any four numbers do not occur is less than 0.00000003%. However, not only were four different numbers not selected, all four numbers formed a sequence. Out of 1000 respondents not one person gave 91, 92, 93 or 94 as an answer.

What this says about people or what this says about the low 90s is anyone’s guess

Results are again from a UMR online SAYit poll of n=1000 nationally representative New Zealanders conducted between the 31st January and 23rd Febraury 2017. The margin of error for a 50% with 95% confidence is +/- 3.1%.

What do you think?