Can You Say "Statistical Noise"?

By Patrick Appel
I get very tired of this sort of analysis:

A mere three days ago, Barack Obama sat comfortably perched atop a nine point lead in the Gallup tracking poll. Now it’s down to four. Rasmussen shows an even tighter race. In Rasmussen’s tracking numbers, Obama’s six point lead of four days ago has shrunk to two. And let’s not forget the notorious Gallup non-tracking poll which showed McCain with a four point lead. True, that one was an obvious outlier and as responsible analysts we should ignore the outliers. But the big picture is obvious – Barack Obama’s lead is a slim one.

Reality check. I stand by this post.