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Rewriting polls

This interesting paragraph appeared on the website of the ARG New Hampshire tracking poll last night

Howard Dean?s favorable is now at 31%, his unfavorable is 42%, and 27% are aware of Dean but undecided. ...Of the 31% with a favorable opinion of Dean, 28% say they will vote for Dean and 32% say they will vote for John Kerry.

Interesting. But suppose the last sentence was the following:

Of the 75 people who had a favorable opinion of Dean, 21 said they would vote for Dean and 26 said they would vote for Kerry.

That's what it really means. These are based on one night's numbers in a three-night tracking poll. Each night they call a minimum of 200 households; from this sample it looks more like 260. It is really silly to even report anything about sub-samples this small.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on January 23, 2004 | Permalink


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Polling has gotten way out of hand, and you concisely point out how absurd it has become. Cheers.

Posted by: Chuck Sheketoff | Jan 26, 2004 7:31:02 PM


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