Data problems in Iowa caucus results

February 7, 2020

Topic

Statistics  /  , , ,

It wasn’t just issues with an app. There appears to be many more problems with the Iowa caucus results. The Upshot broke it down with a closer look at the data:

Some of these inconsistencies may prove to be innocuous, and they do not indicate an intentional effort to compromise or rig the result. There is no apparent bias in favor of the leaders Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders, meaning the overall effect on the winner’s margin may be small.

But not all of the errors are minor, and they raise questions about whether the public will ever get a completely precise account of the Iowa results. With Mr. Sanders closing to within 0.1 percentage points with 97 percent of 1,765 precincts reporting, the race could easily grow close enough for even the most minor errors to delay a final projection or raise doubts about a declared winner.

When did voting get so complicated?