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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fun With Numbers: The Pennsylvania Primary

I am a numbers person because as they say "numbers don't lie". Usually, this is entirely true, however from time to time, numbers tell everyone exactly what they want to hear. Let's take a look at how political rivals swallowed the numbers from the primary yesterday. Here is a piece from Redstate entitled "Negative Momentum"

State Date Obama Clinton Margin
Pennsylvania 4/22 1,042,297 1,258,245 -215,948
Mississippi 3/11 265,502 159,221 +106,281
Wyoming 3/8 5,378 3,311 +2,067
Texas 3/4 1,358,785 1,459,814 -101,029
Ohio 3/4 982,489 1,212,362 -229,873
Rhode Island 3/4 75,316 108,949 -33,633
Vermont 3/4 91,901 59,806 +32,095
Total 3,821,668 4,261,708 -440,040
Overall% 47.3% 52.7%

Clearly, the implication here is that Obama is losing momentum. Now, let's look at what they say about things on the Kos.

60 and older 28 38
White 34 38
White men 39 44
White women 31 34
Less than $50K 42 46
No college 40 38
College 51 49
Catholic 36 31
Protestant 36 53

The Kos sees building momentum for Obama in every category that the press proclaims that he is struggling in.

In each case, the two sides picked apart the numbers to find what they were looking for. That is one of the problems with the obscene amount of statistics that we all have. There is just enough for everyone to find what they are looking for. Momentum, like everything else, is in the eye of the beholder. If you are a Barack opponent, you see that he has lost most of the recent states. If you are a Barack supporter you see that he has gained in many important classes between Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Just to add my two cents...the Kos analysis is utter nonsense. That's because you have to try really hard to put any good spin on last night if you support Obama. The only spin you really need is that your guy will still win. That said, there will be other times when it is the Republican that will be the clear loser and I will bet his supporters will muddle through the numbers to find a way to spin it positively.

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