Monday, November 19, 2007

Even reputable bloggers sometimes misinterpret polls

Talking Points Memo, one of my favorite blogs, had this to report today:

"New ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Obama with lead in Iowa."

But the poll does not actually show Barack Obama with a lead. It puts Obama at 30 percent and Hillary Clinton at 26 percent. That gap of 4 percentage points is within the poll's margin of error. Hence, the poll shows a statistical dead heat.

It's bad enough that the mainstream media do such a poor job of interpreting poll results. Progressive bloggers should be careful to avoid such mistakes.

UPDATE: Fox News gets the Post/ABC poll wrong with this headline: "Latest Iowa Poll Shows Obama Leading the Pack." But The New York Times gets it right with this: "A Statistical Tie in Iowa."

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