Recent poll on Dem race needs more upfront disclosure
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This weekend's NBC-Wall Street Journal poll has been widely reported all over Sunday's news media and on the Internet: Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump Jr. adds to legal team ahead of Senate meeting Trump: Democrats, Russians laughing at 'phony Russian Witch Hunt' Scaramucci makes Sunday shows debut with vow to stop WH leaks MORE now leads Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders keeping door open on 2020 Parliamentarian deals setback to GOP repeal bill OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? MORE (I-Vt.) by only 42 percent to 35 percent in the race for the Democratic nomination.

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At the very end of the press release, it is revealed that the poll is based on 256 Democratic primary voters nationwide, which is a margin of error of plus/minus 6 percentage points.

Is that a responsible polling sample, with such a large margin of error?

In fact, the margin of error of plus/minus 6 percentage points means the results could be either that Clinton leads by 48 percent to 29 percent (plus 19 percentage points) or that Sanders leads 41 percent to 36 percent (plus 5 percentage points). Statistically, either result could be true, according to the poll's own data. That is a fact.

Shouldn't the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll have disclosed that fact more prominently in the press release and warned against inaccurate headlines that ignore the small sample size and large margin of error?

Shouldn't other journalists writing about this poll disclose that fact, that the poll shows that Clinton could lead by 19 percentage points or that Sanders could lead by 5 percentage points — and either result is equally statistically possible?

Isn't that type of factual disclosure obligatory?

Davis is a regular columnist for The Hill. He served as special counsel to President Bill ClintonBill ClintonOPINION | Dems need a fresh face for 2020: Try Kamala Harris Trump approval rating sets new low in second quarter: Gallup OPINION | How Democrats stole the nation's lower federal courts MORE from 1996 to 1998. He is principal in the Washington law firm Lanny J. Davis & Associates and is executive vice president of Levick, a strategic communications firm. He has no position in the Hillary for America campaign. He is a friend and supporter of Secretary Clinton.