— The Pauline Kael Syndrome —

Topic definition

This Fallacy can produce big surprises for the unwary

Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern rather handily in the 1972 presidential election. Movie Critic and commentator Pauline Kael is reported to have said, “How can he have won? Nobody I know voted for him.” What fallacy is Ms Kael guilty of, assuming that she really said this?

Flagged fallacies

insufficient_sample by GhiOm


If the quote was said seriously, without irony, then it is a clear instance of insufficient sample, where the whole population of electors is assumed to have the same structure as the arguer’s surroundings.