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Significant Digits For Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016

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

4.7 percent

The percentage of federal contract dollars that went to businesses owned by women in the 2014 fiscal year. While that is up from 4 percent in 2011, the Small Business Administration wanted to get it to 5 percent by now. [The New York Times]

5.3 wins

The Carolina Panthers have beaten the odds and shown a massive offensive improvement in the latter half of the season, according to my colleague Neil Paine. By midseason this year, the 8-0 Panthers had the point differential of a 5.3-win team, meaning they were getting lucky or winning dirty, or both. But Cam Newton’s offense redoubled its efforts in the latter half of the year, the stats say, and now it’s in the Super Bowl. [FiveThirtyEight]


Subway, a sandwich retailer, will crank up the price of a foot-long sandwich from $5 to $6 in promotional material. Subway blames inflation, which does kind of check out: The inflation rate for food and beverage products between 2008, when the foot-long was introduced, and 2016, which I’m told it is now, was 18.5 percent. [Restaurant Business]

12 points

According to a new poll from DeutschlandTrends, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has seen a 12 point decrease in her approval rating in January, a rating that currently sits at 46 percent. Merkel is dealing with a migrant crisis and the fraught process of integrating the newcomers without alienating her existing constituents. [@HansNichols]

13th candidate

With a last-minute filing, civil-rights activist DeRay Mckesson became the 13th and final Democrat running for the election of the mayor of Baltimore. Under current mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake the city was scrutinized for its police misconduct, including the death of Freddie Gray. Baltimore leans Democratic, so Baltimore native Mckesson has a shot if he can break out of a crowded primary field. [The Baltimore Sun]

53 cents

Average revenue per paying user of dating sites owned by Match Group Inc., which includes, Tinder and OKCupid. That number has declined 14 percent despite an increase in the company’s overall revenue. [The Wall Street Journal]

58 points

Marco Rubio has pulled ahead in FiveThirtyEight’s weighted GOP endorsement tracker after winning the endorsements of two senators and two members of the House. He’s just pulled ahead of Jeb Bush, who got 2.8 percent of the vote in Iowa and paid about $2,800 per vote. [FiveThirtyEight]


The price that NFL players participating in the Super Bowl have to pay to get tickets to the game for friends and family. As Denver Broncos punter Britton Colquitt learned recently, that price does apply to a 2-week-old baby. [CBS Sports]

7,467 natural gas flare sites

The number of natural gas flare sites worldwide in 2012. In major cities and at every single point in the natural gas production process, methane is inadvertently or purposefully vented, and it can have atmospheric impacts for decades. [FiveThirtyEight]

$11 million

The size of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s endorsement portfolio, which includes athletic staples such as Under Amour and Gatorade, as well as an in-development show on Nickelodeon. [Bloomberg]

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If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to me: @WaltHickey.

CORRECTION (Feb. 4, 11:05 a.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the sportswear company that Cam Newton has endorsed. It is Under Armour, not Nike.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.