Posted in Quick Hits on March 8th, 2016 by Ed

When I have to watch cable news networks present and "discuss" polling results I feel the way doctors must feel when they watch E.R. or lawyers would feel watching a cut rate Law & Order knockoff courtroom procedural show. The urge to yell "THAT'S NOT HOW THAT WORKS" at the TV screen borders on overwhelming at times.

When CNN assaulted the data from their Nevada Caucus Entry Poll to declare "Trump wins Latino vote in Nevada" any freshman student in math, statistics, or survey research could tell you what's missing from this picture:


Gee those are some nice lookin' percentages. By the way, how many Latinos voted in the Nevada Republican caucus? Because I'm guessing it was about 80.

That's an exaggeration, of course, but common sense dictates that it isn't going to be very many, what with Barack Obama winning 76% of the Latino vote in Nevada in 2012. Furthermore the NV Caucuses were a legendary shitshow that descended into chaos in more than a few locations, so the question of the validity of those Entry Polls certainly cannot be assumed. Who showed up, who actually voted, and who was some asshole Trump supporter who thought it would be funny to pretend to be Latino are all open to interpretation. Given the low turnout in the NV Caucus overall and the small number of Latinos identified – about 100 – by the polling agency suggest that statewide no more than 2000 Latinos, an estimate that appears generous, participated.

Nevada has at least 750,000 voting-age Latino residents according to the Census Bureau. It might have been helpful to point this out when declaring that Trump "won" a tiny subset of a small polling sample, or perhaps to have one person working at the network on election day who has some idea of how numbers work. But who cares as long as it sounds alarming, right?