Significant Digits For Monday, June 17, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.

3 of 5 pollsters

President Trump’s reelection campaign is ditching three of its five pollsters “to prevent further disclosure of survey data.” The leaked internal polls showed Trump trailing Joe Biden in several battleground states and by double digits in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump had reportedly told his staff to deny that the polls existed and called them “fake polls.” [The New York Times]

More than 100 songs

The lyrics website Genius is complaining that Google, rather than sending search traffic to Genius, is instead publishing Genius’s lyrics directly on its own platform. Genius says that, using a special pattern in the formatting of the apostrophes in lyrics, it has identified more than 100 songs on Google that came straight from its site. When the types of apostrophes — straight and curved — are converted to Morse code, they reportedly spell “red handed.” [The Wall Street Journal]

About 70 whales

About 70 dead whales have washed up on the West Coast this year, the most since 2000. As a result, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has no place to put them all and the agency has started asking waterfront real estate owners to volunteer to allow whales to rot on their property. While the cost may be the smell, the reward, according to officials, is that the owners can “support the natural process of the marine environment, and skeletons left behind can be used for educational purposes.” [Associated Press]


The United States defeated Chile in the Women’s World Cup yesterday, 3-0, improving its record in the tournament to 2-0. While it wasn’t as dramatic a victory as the Americans’ 13-0 rout of Thailand the week before, it was good enough to ensure their place in the round of 16. It was also good enough to place them atop our predictions table as the favorite to win the title, with a 24 percent chance. France sits a close second at 19 percent. [FiveThirtyEight]

Tens of millions of people

Tens of millions of people in Argentina and Uruguay were without power yesterday in “an unexplained failure in the neighboring countries’ interconnected power grid” that also affected Chile, Brazil and Paraguay. The outage happened as many in Argentina were heading to the polls to vote in gubernatorial elections. Voters there reportedly cast ballots by the light of their cell phones. [CBS News]

$5.64 million

A road-gray Yankees jersey that was worn by Babe Ruth sold for $5.64 million at an auction on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, making it the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold. The previous record: $4.4 million, also for a Babe Ruth jersey. [ABC News]

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Battleground Florida: Both parties prepare for 2020 fight

By Syndicated From External Source on June 17, 2019

… trained 3,000 local organizers it calls fellows, who can amplify, or in some cases replace, the voter registration and turnout work of its paid field staff.

Voting rights restored to Pensacola NAACP president

By Syndicated From External Source on June 15, 2019

(WEAR) — National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Pensacola branch president just got his voter registration card in …

Supreme Court says trial court didn’t err in refusing to grant new trial

By Syndicated From External Source on June 15, 2019

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision in denying a new trial in a lawsuit involving a …

The DNC Tried To Avoid A Lopsided Debate. It Got One Anyway.

The lineups for the first Democratic debates — on Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27 — are out! Only 20 candidates qualified, obviating the need for any complicated tiebreakers. And on Friday, the Democratic National Committee held a two-part random drawing to determine who would debate on each night. The eight candidates with polling averages of at least 2 percent were drawn first (four debating on one night, four on the other), and then the 12 remaining candidates were drawn (six on one night, six on the other). Here are the resulting lineups for each night, as well as each candidate’s average in qualifying polls:

The second debate features more heavyweight candidates

Combined polling averages of the candidates in each of the first two 2019 Democratic debates

June 26 debate No. of Polls Avg June 27 debate No. of Polls Avg
Warren 23 8.7% Biden 23 29.9%
O’Rourke 23 5.1 Sanders 23 18.3
Booker 23 2.6 Harris 23 7.6
Klobuchar 23 2.0 Buttigieg 23 5.8
Castro 22 0.9 Yang 21 1.0
Ryan 16 0.6 Gillibrand 23 0.5
Gabbard 23 0.5 Hickenlooper 23 0.4
Inslee 22 0.4 Bennet 16 0.3
De Blasio 15 0.4 Williamson 19 0.2
Delaney 23 0.2 Swalwell 18 0.2
Total support 21.4 Total support 64.0
Average support 2.1 Average support 6.4

Candidate averages based on 23 qualifying polls sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee for determining debate qualification that have been conducted since the start of 2019. Total support does not add up to 100 percent due to undecided respondents, support for candidates who didn’t end up running for president and support for candidates who didn’t qualify.

Source: Polls

By separating the candidates into higher- and lower-polling groups, the DNC hoped to avoid a scenario where the lottery put all the top-tier candidates on the same night — effectively relegating the other debate to “junior varsity” status. (In 2016, some Republican debates grouped candidates into higher and lower tiers and put them on separate stages, a setup sometimes referred to as the “varsity” and “junior varsity” debates, which caused a lot of issues and complaints.) However, as you can see from the table, that kind of happened anyway. Four of the five highest-polling candidates (former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg) will all debate on the same night (Thursday). Meanwhile, the four higher-polling candidates on Wednesday’s slate include Sens. Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar, who are polling either right at or just barely above the 2 percent dividing line. In total, 21 percent worth of polling support is appearing on the first night of the debates and 64 percent is on the second night.

What implications will these lopsided lineups have for the debates and the candidates in them? We don’t really know right now, but it may mean the Thursday debate, with more heavy hitters, will get higher ratings. On the other hand, being in the Wednesday debate might be advantageous for a less-popular candidate because they will now have more of a chance to step out of the front-runners’ shadows. We’ll be closely following the debates on our live blog; be sure to join us then.

Derek Shan contributed research.