Poll locations and methods vary. The effects of the last debate weighs in. The political climate shows only warming. And some news sources foretell, using the average of the polls, that Trump has peaked and is now heading south. When you look at the numbers closely, however, only one poll, CNN/ORC, depicts anything significant, a huge 8 point dip in Trump’s numbers. The other polls show no change or a slight increase. Do we allow one poll that has him dipping to “average” into his overall numbers to show he’s faltering? It’s a little like having Bill Gates make residence in a small town and all of a sudden it bumps up the
town’s “average” income dramatically. Statisticians will generally throw out extremes to get a fair picture of what’s happening, while journalists with an agenda will point to the extremes as the trend.

1. The numbers say nothing yet

 

2. If you think stats can’t be manipulated…

You might have seen new national poll numbers from Fox News, released Wednesday night, that paint a fascinating portrait of the Republican race. Donald Trump, the figures show, remains in first place in the race for the nomination, actually increasing his share of support from 25 percent in the middle of August to 26 percent now. He’s trailed by Ben Carson at 18 percent and Carly Fiorina at 9 percent.

But wait. You might also have seen CNN/ORC’s new poll from over the weekend. That one had Trump at 24 percent — down from 32 percent earlier this month. And that poll had Fiorina in second at 15 percent, and Carson in third with 14.

And then there was Bloomberg’s new poll, out Thursday, showing Trump at 21, right where he had been. In that one, Jeb Bush was in third, with 13 percent, over Fiorina’s 9. And Quinnipiac! Another poll, another result: Trump 25, Carson 17, Fiorina 12.

That’s why we try to rely as much as possible on poll averages, like the great one that Real Clear Politics puts together. Here’s the change for these six candidates since June 1.

Donald Trump still leads the field — but his position has softened significantly. This is the biggest polling average drop he’s seen since he first emerged as the Republican front-runner. via Washington Post

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