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Numbers actually do matter in life - and in presidential elections

Jay Lustgarten Stonington

Publication: The Day

Published 12/06/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 12/05/2012 05:12 PM

The Day's Nov. 9 hard-ball data on A3, "Number crunchers were right about Obama," across from A2's "Life sentence attack that wounded Giffords," provided a 1-2 lesson in the power of numbers/percentages. While the same exact word can mean different things to different people (May, 11 New Yorker Phil McCarthy set an American record running 257 miles in 48 hours - what does a "long" run mean to him?) but numbers are what they are as Nate Silver proved in Election 2012.

The number crunchers took heat repeatedly predicting Obama's victory knowing the numbers were on his side and couldn't be disputed. The number 51.1 percent is 51.1 percent, as Sam Wang and President Obama know all too well, and as now does Mitt Romney as well.

The disturbing truth that makes the Giffords shooting relevant is that refusing to renew the ban on assault weapons makes mass murders shootings guaranteed to happen again - you can debate relative words but as Nate Silver impressively demonstrated, you can't argue against the numbers.

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