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 Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE now leads Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign 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 ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMueller’s probe doesn't end with a bang, but with a whimper Mark Mellman: History’s judgment Congress should massively ramp up funding for the NIH 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.