Exit Polls

EXIT POLLS….This is kind of dumb and dorky, but it’s worth sounding a little bit of a warning about the exit poll results from New Hampshire. (Or any other exit poll results, for that matter.) Here’s the warning: a lot of the subgroups are pretty small, which means the margin of error is huge. Take a look at the age breakdown in the Democratic primary, for example:

Now, it’s possible that Barack Obama really did win the 18-24 and 30-39 year-olds but that Hillary Clinton inexplicably appealed to the middle group of 25-29 year-olds. But it’s not likely. What is likely is that it’s just a statistical artifact: the 25-29 segment is small and the margin of error among that group is a whopping 8%. There’s a pretty good chance that Obama actually won those folks, just like he won the surrounding groups, but that random chance produced the opposite result.

Anyway, this is your dumb and dorky stats post for the day. Just a warning not to take the most detailed parts of the exit polls too seriously.