What Is a Misleading Statistic?

Misleading statistics are statistics that people use to defend bad or misleading arguments, often in an unfair or deceitful way. Bad sampling, whether due to bias or skewed sample sizes, can lead to a misleading statistic.

Misleading statistics can also result from unfair poll questions, such as those that "fish" for a particular answer. Averages may also be misleading if a number of outliers are used; this tactic can bring the average up or down depending on what result is sought. Statistics are notorious for being misused, and people must analyze them to ensure they are not used in a misleading manner.