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Background: After a recent public call to send in opinions on whether or not to keep the daylight saving time switch in the EU, it seems like a vast majority among the people who sent in their opinions is in favour of abolishing the time switch. In response to these results, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has announced he will push to indeed abolish the time switch in the European Commission.

CNN reports about this event, and the article contains a curious claim:

According to Juncker, more than 80% of EU citizens want to abolish daylight saving time and instead remain on the time used during summer instead.

Now, the reason I find that claim curious in this context is that 80% is the approximate number of citizens who are in favour of abolishing the time switch - among the total number of people who sent in any responses at all, which is only a tiny fraction (barely 5 million, i.e. roughly 1%) of all EU citizens.

All the German-language articles on the issue do not make the claim that Juncker literally spoke about "80% of EU citizens", quoting him as saying something much more general like "people want this" and "millions have answered", and citing the 80% figure only in the context I outlined above.

Did Juncker really claim 80% of EU citizens voted in favour of abolishing the time switch? (Or are we missing any context here, in that he did say so, but based this claim upon much more extensive data than the one opinion poll?)

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    If the poll randomly selected 1% of the EU population, and 80% of them favored abolition, then this would be overwhelmingly strong evidence that about 80% of the overall population likewise wants it. n=5000000 is a huge sample and you can compute the confidence interval yourself if you like. But if the respondents were self-selected, then all bets are off. We'd need to know something about the methodology of this poll. – Nate Eldredge Aug 31 '18 at 21:11
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    @NateEldredge: The respondents were self-selected. It was a form with a multiline text area on a public website (linked to from plenty of general audience news sites) where anyone interested could write their opinion and submit it. – O. R. Mapper Aug 31 '18 at 21:46
  • The CNN article doesn't say "of all EU citizens" and I see no reason why it should be read that way. – Christian Sep 2 '18 at 8:57
  • @Christian: The article says "80% of EU citizens". "EU citizens" is not qualified or restricted in any way, so it refers to the total of all EU citizens. – O. R. Mapper Sep 2 '18 at 9:18
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    @O. R. Mapper : Not everybody votes and thus the actual amount of US citizens that vote is a lot less then 53% given that the voter turnout was 61.4%. Straight math would suggest that it's more like 32% of the US population voted for Trump. Elections are by their nature not a representative sample of the population either. It's the same how not every citizen takes part in a given pubic consultation. Like an election a public consultation is just another democratic instrument – Christian Sep 2 '18 at 17:07
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I think this is just CNN not understanding that EU consultations are not a typical surveys (i.e. with representative samples) as they claim in their previous paragraph:

The European Union is to propose ending twice-yearly clock changes after a large-scale public survey, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Friday.

According to Juncker, more than 80% of EU citizens want to abolish daylight saving time and instead remain on the time used during summer instead.

The Commission's press release did not try to pass this as something else than it was:

Summertime Consultation: 84% want Europe to stop changing the clock

This online consultation, which ran from 4 July to 16 August 2018, received 4.6 million responses from all 28 Member States, the highest number of responses ever received in any Commission public consultation. According to the preliminary results (see annex), 84% of respondents are in favour of putting an end to the bi-annual clock change.

European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc presented these preliminary results to the College of Commissioners that held a first discussion on the possible next steps. Commissioner Bulc said: "Millions of Europeans used our public consultation to make their voices heard. The message is very clear: 84% of them do not want the clocks to change anymore. We will now act accordingly and prepare a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the Council, who will then decide together."

Granted, the EU Commission's press release is a bit coy of stating clearly this is not a survey with a representative sample, e.g. like those organized by Eurostat. I guess they underestimated the lack of knowledge on the nature of EU's public consultations process in the press over the Atlantic.

Junker said in the ZDF interview linked by Henry something similar to what Bulc said, i.e. he said some thing about "millions", but I haven't heard him referring to specific percentages in that interview.

Also the CNN story had other mistakes as it contains a note

This story has been updated to remove a reference to countries that were incorrectly identified as bordering Finland.

So I'm guessing it was some kind of rushed or poorly edited job.

Also they have this translated quote of Junker

"Many people are contributing to this debate. We did a survey, a public survey. Millions responded and think that in the future we should have summertime all year round. So that's what will happen."

I'll let somebody else comment if they translated that properly ("survey, a public survey").

Euractiv translated it the same way alas:

European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc was responsible for presenting the results of the survey to the College of Commissioners, prompting the announcement.

She said: “Millions of Europeans used our public consultation to make their voices heard. The message is very clear: 84% of them do not want the clocks to change anymore. We will now act accordingly and prepare a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the Council, who will then decide together.”

The commission’s plans are a direct response to the swell of public opinion on the issue. “We carried out a survey, millions responded and believe that in future, summertime should be year-round, and that’s what will happen,” Junker said to German public broadcaster ZDF. “The people want it, we’ll do it.”

According to heise.de a separate representative survey was conducted in Germany with 73% wanting an end to daylight saving time:

In Deutschland hatten sich im Frühjahr bereits in einer repräsentativen Umfrage im Auftrag der Krankenkasse DAK 73 Prozent der Befragten gegen die Zeitumstellung ausgesprochen. Rund ein Viertel berichtete, schon einmal Probleme damit gehabt zu haben. Etliche Menschen leiden demnach nach dem Uhrendreh an Schlafstörungen. Zudem wurden Konzentrationsschwierigkeiten und Gereiztheit als Folgen angegeben.

So yeah, the Commission may have been not sufficiently clear about this, but at least with respect to Germany (where 3 millions of those consultation respondents came from) the consultation results are not too far from what a survey with a representative sample found.

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    'I'll let somebody else comment if they translated that properly ("survey, a public survey").' - if in English, survey implies being representative in numbers, then no, they did not translate that properly. The German word "Umfrage" that Juncker used in the ZDF interview is commonly used for any kind of asking (members of) the public about something. If measures are taken to ensure representativity in numbers, it is specifically called "repräsentative Umfrage". – O. R. Mapper Sep 1 '18 at 13:37
  • @O.R.Mapper: that's what I would have inferred from heise.de, but I couldn't say in general if the German press always bothers to add repräsentative when talking about representative polls/surveys. – Fizz Sep 1 '18 at 13:39
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Yes he did

You can read the European Commission's press release about its consultation: it was not a vote, and a large proportion of the respondents were from Germany with very few from the UK (though their opinions were not very different)

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    Sorry, in the linked text, I do not see where that claim is made. Could you cite the exact statement, please? – O. R. Mapper Aug 31 '18 at 20:29
  • @O.R.Mapper the title says "Summertime Consultation: 84% want Europe to stop changing the clock" and the first paragraph says "This online consultation, which ran from 4 July to 16 August 2018, received 4.6 million responses from all 28 Member States, the highest number of responses ever received in any Commission public consultation. According to the preliminary results (see annex), 84% of respondents are in favour of putting an end to the bi-annual clock change." – Henry Aug 31 '18 at 21:10
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    The title does not claim Juncker said anything in particular. And "84% of respondents" are precisely not what CNN claims Juncker to have said. I am specifically asking whether Juncker himself claimed that ca. 80% of all EU citizens, not just of respondents, are in favour of abolishing the time change. – O. R. Mapper Aug 31 '18 at 21:48
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    Excellent, that's the kind of evidence I was looking for. But based on the video, the answer is "No, he did not." – O. R. Mapper Aug 31 '18 at 22:02
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    I think you've missed a key point in the question. The linked document states that 84% of respondents favor doing away with DST. The question asks whether Juncker said 80% of EU citizens favor doing so. Because the respondents to the questionnaire were self-selected, we cannot consider the result to be representative of the overall population - even if 84% of respondents say no to DST, it could very well be the case that only 5% of all EU citizens agree, because people who are OK with the status quo are generally less likely to self-select to participate in such surveys. – Dave Sherohman Sep 1 '18 at 8:37

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