Sunday, November 03, 2002

A Confidence Level of 95 Percent

In 19 out of 20 cases, the New York Times/CBS News Poll will be accurate, within a margin of error of whatever the margin of error might be. This means that every so often (5 percent of the time), the NYT/CBS poll will be useless. Sadly for them, the 1-in-20 shot appears to have materialized this weekend and on the front page.

Mickey Kaus opines that the NYT is burying the lede by downplaying the generic ballot question results (GOP 47%/Dem 40%). What The Times is really doing is saving money.

We know from all the other polling that the generic ballot question is statistically and literally tied. There is no 7 point GOP margin. The New York Times knows this. But rather than come to the journalistically correct conclusion (we've got ourselves a bum poll here, better throw it away), the paper tries to salvage its expenditure by deep-sixing the lede (GOP Up 7) they know not to be true and highlighting other alleged "news" from the poll.

Here's the deal: It's a bad poll. It happens. Throw it away.

What I Meant To Say: An amazingly accurate poll! Why did the NYT bury the lede?