Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama and Hillary: Tied Nationally

I just heard a reporter on the local news report a tracking poll that had one of the candidates out by two points. It was apparently not the Gallup, which has Obama ahead by 3 today. What struck me was that she reported it like it was a basketball score or high weather temperature--an actual data point. Of course, two points means it's in the margin of error. And any tracking poll will vary day-to-day in any case. So far from it meaning that a candidate was actually leading by two (I don't even remember which was supposed to be leading), the real value of the tracking point is to say they're tied.

Don't believe me? Gallup's tracking poll goes back 17 days. If you do a trend of those 17 days, Obama stands .1% in front of Hillary, 46.3% to 46.2%.

An absolute dead heat.

Reporters should be required to learn what poll numbers mean before they're allowed to report on them. Of course, their ignorance is probably better for business, so I doubt we'll see anything like that anytime soon. Especially in a burg like Portland, Oregon.

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