Margins of error

If you haven’t checked out Electoral Vote, do so. It has daily updates on all the polls, and shows how the electoral vote is shaping up in map form, along with histories, spreadsheets, a real info-junkie’s dream.

A lot of the states are shown as statistical ties or near ties, meaning that one candidate’s advantage is less than the margin of error. But today, Kevin Drum shows us how this is misleading. When an advantage is less than the margin of error, it doesn’t mean “oh, we really can’t tell,” it means that we’re simply less confident about the data. That margin of error does not becloud all differences smaller than it. Go read Kevin’s post: it’s informative.

1 thought on “Margins of error”

  1. This site is a pro-Kerry site. The following site, which serves much the same purpose, is pro-Bush:

    Interestingly though, this site says Kerry’s lead is somewhat larger.

    As the electoral vote site noted last week, CA’s being in the “barely Kerry” column is an aberration. Kerry has a double-digit lead there, according to nearly all other polls, but the latest poll says otherwise.

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