We have a dangerous shortfall this month—$8,103 short—a serious deficit. Your support needed NOW!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

do the math

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 11, 2010

A special election will be held in Massachusetts next week, to fill the Senate seat that opened with the death of Ted Kennedy. 

Last week, a Boston Globe poll of likely voters show the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, leading the Republican, Scott Brown, by a comfortable margin: 50- 35%. 

A Public Policy Polling survey of likely voters, released the same day, showed Brown ahead, 48- 47%. 

The Globe poll claimed a margin of error of +/- 4.2%; the PPP poll said its margin of error was 3.6%. Go ahead: try the numbers. They don't work.

Wait; there's a possible explanation. The Globe poll was taken January 2- 6; the PPP poll was January 7-9. So you might say that as a Little Christmas gift, Scott Brown got 13% of the likely voters.

Alternatively, you might say that there's a margin of error to the pollsters' margin of error. 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our January expenses ($8,103 to go):
$35,000.00 $26,897.12
23% 77%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: The Sheepcat - Jan. 11, 2010 11:01 PM ET USA

    There needn't be anything fishy about this. Boilerplate statements about the margin-of-error of polls say the findings are accurate plus or minus however many points, 19 times out of 20. This could simply be the 1 time in 20.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 11, 2010 11:05 AM ET USA

    Alternatively, you could say the Boston Globe appears to have hired Dan Rather to do its polls.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Human Mix of Good and Evil 14 hours ago
Conscientious objection to vaccinations 16 hours ago
Can Islam confront its problem with violence? 18 hours ago
On the failure of history—and historians—without Christ January 29
Salvation? No matter who we are, one price. January 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis names 20 new cardinals CWN - January 5
In ‘state of the world’ address, Pope decries ‘throwaway culture’ CWN - January 12