In "The Edge" yesterday, the Tribune wrote the

Number of the week: 76.1 percent.
That's the percentage of Montanans who say they support the new statewide law banning smoking in most buildings and businesses.
Interestingly, it's a higher percentage than the 74.6 percent who say they do not use any tobacco products.
That means, among other things, that some smokers also favor the ban -- though 49 percent of smokers, a plurality, oppose it.
The data were part of the latest MSU-Billings Poll, an opinion survey of 401 Montanans.

Hmmm. Let's think about this. 74.6% say they don't use any tobacco products, leaving 25.4% who do. Let's assume that of that 25%, 5% don't smoke, they chew tobacco. Therefore, it is not safe to assume, is it, that any smokers are in favor of the ban, despite the Tribune's funny math.

Also, they surveyed 401 people. What was the margin of error on the survey? If it was greater than + or - 1.5% (76.1% - 74.6%) there's really no story at all, is there?

So, either the Editorial Board was willing to leave out a significant fact (the error rate) to make their story interesting, or they simply didn't understand the numbers. Either way, keep this in mind when analyzing their opinions about important issues.

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