Skip to main content
ABC News
Significant Digits For Thursday, March 14, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. For even more facts, figures and discussion, check out our live FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast in New York City on March 20.


New Mexico legislators passed a law with the goal of making the state’s electricity carbon-free by 2045, joining California and Hawaii, which also have such goals. Despite the state’s oil riches, it wants its publicly regulated utilities to use resources like solar and wind. [NPR]

$275 million defamation lawsuit

Kentucky teenager Nicholas Sandmann, who became well-known for an incident at the Lincoln Memorial, is suing CNN for defamation and is asking for $275 million in compensatory and punitive damages. He says the network incorrectly described him as the “face of an unruly hate mob.” He has also sued The Washington Post. [Reuters]

3.5 more years in prison

A federal judge said that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, had “spent a significant portion of his career gaming the system.” He was sentenced to three and a half more years in prison. Manafort has now been ordered to serve a total of seven and half years in prison on counts that include money-laundering and obstruction of justice. [The New York Times]

5 or 6 times more likely

It’s tough to know what to make of the early presidential primary election polls that are rolling in, what with many months left in the campaign. But one thing we do know, my colleague Nate Silver writes, is that, other things held equal, a candidate polling at 25 percent in early polls is five or six times more likely to win the primary than a candidate polling at 5 percent. As such, Joe Biden’s and Bernie Sanders’s early support isn’t just about name recognition. [FiveThirtyEight]

761 admissions

The major rich-people-cheat-to-get-their-kids-into-college scandal investigated by the FBI continues to unfold. William Rick Singer, a reported ringleader of the scam who pleaded guilty this week, said he facilitated 761 “side doors” to admission at colleges such as Yale University, Stanford University and Georgetown University by bribing administrators or helping students cheat on standardized tests. [NBC News]

2 choices

Following the resounding defeat in the House of Commons of Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal, British lawmakers face two choices: to leave the European Union without a deal or to delay their exit. A no-deal Brexit, its supporters argue, would “free the U.K. from EU rules and red tape” but at the risk of the nation’s economy. Otherwise, legislators could try to buy more time, which would require approval from the other EU countries. [Associated Press]

From ABC News:

News headlines today: Mar. 14, 2019

Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.”

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied game theory and political competition.