The Unbearable Meaninglessness of Being Zogby

The Drudge headline screams: “REUTERSCSPANZOGBY IOWA POLL: Obama Surges to 4 Point Lead Over Edwards; Clinton Fades to 3rd…”

The story, however, reads just a little bit differently:


DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Democrat Barack Obama surged to a four-point lead over John Edwards in Iowa, with Hillary Clinton fading to third just hours before the first presidential nominating contest, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Thursday.

Obama and Edwards gained ground overnight in the tracking poll, and Clinton fell four points to third place — a finish that, if it held, would deal a dramatic setback to the one-time Democratic front-runner.

Obama was at 31 percent among likely Democratic caucus-goers, Edwards at 27 percent and Clinton 24 percent. No other Democrat was in double digits.

Scary stuff for Hillary, right? Maybe. Maybe not. You have to care enough to click to the second page to read this part:

The rolling poll of 905 likely Democratic caucus-goers and 914 likely Republican caucus-goers was taken Sunday through Wednesday and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points for each party.


In other words, the margin of error is greater than anybody’s lead over anybody else. Nobody knows who’s ahead in this game — and we won’t know until Friday morning. Who wants to stay up with me?

This stuff was a lot easier to cover when I was still allowed to drink real coffee.

NOTE: For the record (someone is keeping records, yes?), I think Zogby has it right, even if his data are unreliable. I’ve been saying for about two weeks now that Obama would win Iowa (and maybe NH, SC, and NV, too), Edwards in second, and Hillary third.


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