Sunday, September 26, 2004

Like Buttah

Margin Of Error Clarified

If the margin of error of a poll is x, then any result within 2x is within the margin of error.

In other words, the MOE applies to both candidates' poll results.

For example: if Bush leads Kerry 48% to 44% in the latest Time poll which has a MOE of plus or minus 4%, then Bush's high and low numbers are 52% to 44% while Kerry's high and low numbers are 48% to 40% with a 95% degree on confidence for any of those numbers.

Suppose Bush leads Kerry 52% to 46% in a poll with a 4% MOE. It is equally likely Kerry has 50% and Bush has 48% as it is that the results are as reported.

Few people reading and reporting the top-line numbers of polls actually understand this, whether they are reporters for major media outlets or some cut and paste artist participating here.

So there you have it. You now understand more about the MOE than most Americans.

You're welcome.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You clearly don't understand margin of error, either.

Buy "Statistics for Dummys" and get someone to help you with the big words.

BTW, hope you are OK, post Katrina.

9:51 AM  

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