The lede in the Des Moines Register:
Barack Obama has pulled ahead in the race for Iowa’s Democratic presidential caucuses, while the party’s national frontrunner Hillary Clinton has slipped to second in the leadoff nominating state, according to The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll.
Here’s the actual numbers:
Obama, an Illinois senator, leads for the first time in the Register’s poll as the choice of 28 percent of likely caucusgoers, up from 22 percent in October. Clinton, a New York senator, was the preferred candidate of 25 percent, down from 29 percent in the previous poll.
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who led in the Register’s May poll, held steady with 23 percent, in third place, but part of the three-way battle.
Wow, pretty close race really. Better look at the margin or error:
The telephone survey of 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers was conducted Nov. 25 to 28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
That’s a huge margin of error. It means that every candidate might really be in a nearly 9-point (8.8) range. Edwards could be as high as 27.4 and Obama could be as low as 23.6. So, the new poll actually shows all three candidates in a statistical dead heat.
Why didn’t the Des Moines Register point this out? Because being honest about polls doesn’t make for good headlines.
All the major news outlets are guilty of similar shenanigans. No wonder media credibility numbers are in the toilet.