The Drudge Report is linking to this Reuters article with a headline that reads “Poll Underdog”:
Democrat Barack Obama has a narrow 5-point lead on Republican John McCain in the U.S. presidential race, but holds a big early edge with the crucial swing voting blocs of independents and women, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.
Two weeks after clinching the Democratic nomination and kicking off the general election campaign, Obama leads McCain by 47 percent to 42 percent. That is down slightly from Obama’s 8-point advantage on McCain in May, before Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York left the Democratic race.
On the last line of the three-page story sits an incredibly important bit of information:
The national survey of 1,113 likely voters, taken Thursday through Saturday, had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
That means Obama could be as low as 44 and McCain as high as 45. Translation: A statistical dead heat. McCain’s only a “poll underdog” if you pretend that the statistical laws surrounding margins of error are meaningless.
But hey, let’s not let math get in the way of a sensational headline or a compelling story.