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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016

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

Less than 1 percent

The big story of Monday evening was the Iowa caucuses, an event where a crucial portion of the American political process is delegated to Iowa, the state responsible for such luminaries as… Hawkeye, the Avenger? Yeah, I’m pretty sure Hawkeye is the solitary cultural export of Iowa. Iowans are doing their best. Anyway, on the Democratic side, Iowans were indecisive: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders were separated by less than 1 percent of the votes. But my colleague Harry Enten writes that Bernie needed more than the virtual tie he got. [FiveThirtyEight]

2 dropouts

Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley each ended his bid for the presidency last night after the caucuses. Ben Carson did not suspend his campaign, but did go to Florida to get a change of clothes. Not joking! [ABC News, ABC News, Business Insider]

10 years

Barring any garrulous change of behavior in the next two months, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will have not asked a single question from the bench in 10 years. In fairness, given rulings on same-sex marriage, campaign finance, privacy and security policy, as well as the overhaul of the U.S. health care system, it’s been a pretty boring batch of years. Who can blame Thomas for tuning it all out while the nerds go back and forth on these tedious and uninspiring issues? [The New York Times]

27.7 percent

Ted Cruz won the Republican caucus, pulling in 27.7 percent of the votes with all but one precinct reporting. Donald Trump failed to win, pulling in 24.3 percent of the support, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio, with 23.1 percent. Nate Silver writes that Iowa left Trump looking like Pat Buchanan. [FiveThirtyEight, Iowa GOP Caucus]

58 percent

If you’re rooting for an east coast megalomaniacal business magnate to win the presidency, there’s always New Hampshire next week. Donald Trump has a 58 percent chance of winning the primary in the Granite state, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast. I suppose I’ll need to find some D-list Avenger to taunt the Granite State with next week. Please send tips to @WaltHickey. [FiveThirtyEight]

73 percent

According to a new poll from Langer Research Associates, 73 percent of young black Americans said that a Donald Trump win of the presidency would make them consider leaving the country, compared to 54 percent of people aged 18 to 35 in general. [Fusion]

$2,800 per vote

Jeb Bush and his super PAC spent $14.1 million in Iowa and obtained 2.8 percent of the vote. That’s about $2,800 per vote. Jeb Bush is that friend you have who is totally a Hufflepuff but believes he can buy his way into Gryffindor. [The Huffington Post]


Turnout to the Republican caucus is estimated to be more than 180,000, shattering the previous record of 121,354 caucus goers in 2012. [ABC News]

$5.4 billion

Not all news was related to politics yesterday! A report from marijuana investment group ArcView Group found that people will spend a lot of money on weed if they’re given the chance. Legal marijuana sales in the U.S. were $5.4 billion in 2015. Marijuana, or “reefer” as the young people call it, is reportedly fun to smoke and evidently a worthwhile thing to spend $5.4 billion on. [CNBC]

$570 billion

Google’s parent company Alphabet became the largest company in the world by market cap in after-hours trading yesterday, worth roughly $570 billion and exceeding its rival, Apple. Steve Jobs would have been disappointed, one presumes, but he’d also likely have some very understandable questions about what on earth “Alphabet Inc.” was. [CNBC]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.