1% Is Very Small

Yesterday CNN released a poll that showed 32% of registered Republican voters support Donald Trump for president. If the Republican primaries were held tomorrow I’d be worried about that number. However, Trump has plenty of time to implode, and for voters to grow tired of his craziness. At some point—hopefully before they go into the voting booth—those 32% are going to realize that President Trump is a horrendous idea.

However, it’s not the voters, or Trump or the 32% that caught my eye. I’m more interested in the other end of the spectrum.

There are three candidates—Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum—who polled at 1%. One percent! That’s a “Why bother?” number. I haven’t even declared myself to be a candidate for president and I’m statistically tied in the polls with those three yahoos.

But all three will continue to chug on, I suppose. They’ll try to get their message out there and convince voters that they’re the right person for the job. But they don’t have much of a chance of success. One percent is nothing.

How nothing is it? Well consider these other examples of 1% and see for yourself.

Let’s begin with the most well-known 1%: those people not included in the Occupy movement’s 99%. All of us like to think that we’re in the 99%. We’re not those super-rich folks hording all the wealth. And if you make less than $343,927 per year, you are indeed in the 99%. So pick 100 taxpayers at random across the U.S. and you’ll find one who makes more than that. When you find him or her, be nice, just in case they don’t have any heirs.

There’s also a 1% chance that the random person on the motorcycle in front of you is part of a criminal motorcycle gang. Although they don’t call themselves criminal gangs, they prefer the term outlaw. It probably makes them feel more like Jesse James, or Bonnie and Clyde or Billy Clanton from the O.K. Corral. And lest you think that I’m down on motorcyclists, that 1% number comes from the American Motorcycle Association itself.

Untitled2Have you been part of the 1% rule on the internet? You probably have, but you just don’t know it. The 1% rule states that 99% of people who visit a website just read content and leave, while 1% participate in the site, either by leaving a comment or creating new content. I’ve found that to be roughly true for this blog. Look at the number of comments below, multiply by 100, and that’s approximately how many people have read the post. It’s not exact, but it’s a good estimate.

Reviews on Amazon work roughly the same way. Want to know how many copies a particular book has sold. Look at the total number of reviews, multiply by 100, and you’ll be pretty close.

So people love obtaining information from the internet, but very few take the time to provide anything back to the internet.

How many people in the world stutter? I’ll give you one guess. Yes, you’re right! 1%. Most people probably know one person that stutters, but I’d bet few people know two people who stutter. One percent just is not a very big number.

I found a very surprising one percent example. The percentage of extra-marital affairs that result in a marriage lasting at least five years is just 1%. When analyzed, the reasons behind such a low number make perfect sense.

When the excitement of a new affair ends, the couple is left to face the same problems that every other married couple faces, plus additional problems because of how their relationship began. And when the first instinct of a person who faces difficulties is to cut-and-run, it’s no surprise that only 1% of those relationships end up happily ever after.

But still, 1% is 1%. It’s something at least. That couple could last. That biker could shoot at you because you’re in his territory. The next person you encounter on the street could be rich.

And Rick Santorum could win the Republican presidential nomination.

Turns out, 1% is really small. It’s like…zero. Only a little, itty-bitty, tiny, bit better.

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