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Significant Digits For Tuesday, March 8, 2016

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. We’re trying out a new approach, with fewer news items but more detail, so please bear with us.

13 percent

This could get rough: According to a Monmouth University poll in Michigan ahead of Tuesday’s primary vote, Marco Rubio is way behind in the Republican race with 13 percent support. The poll of likely GOP voters shows Donald Trump with 36 percent support and Ted Cruz with 23 percent. John Kasich of all people has 21 percent. I’ll be on ABC News’ live stream from 8 p.m. onwards with more coverage of the primary contests. [Monmouth University]

$13-13.50 per hour

Costco, the world’s second-largest retailer, announced plans to increase its starting wage from $11.50 to $12.00 per hour to $13 to 13.50 per hour, the first bump since 2007. [Business Finance News]

92 percent

Probability of Donald Trump winning the Michigan Republican primary, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast. That chance is 97 percent in our polls-only forecast. [FiveThirtyEight]


Opening bid for the chair that J.K Rowling sat in to write the first two books of the Harry Potter series. The chair is up for auction next month and will presumably sell for more. But it will never stop being weird that the chair where Rowling wrote two of her worst books is worth enough to feed a family of four for a year. [ABC News]

$450 million

Apple will pay a $450 million settlement in an antitrust suit after the Supreme Court declined to hear its appeal. The Justice Department and 30 states had sued Apple over alleged collusion with publishers to crank up the price of ebooks. [Bloomberg]

$4.5 billion

Amount invested in third-party off-campus housing last year. For developers trying to insulate themselves from real estate cycles, student housing has proved a prudent investment. Still, as a College of William & Mary graduate, I can’t really understand the appeal, given that the value of the real estate in Williamsburg, Virginia, is predicated on the idea that “George Washington Slept Here,” “Thomas Jefferson urinated here, allegedly” or “James Madison got turned down for a second date here.” [Bloomberg]

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Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.