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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019

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


8 pages

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote his first Supreme Court opinion, which is eight pages long. The decision, by a unanimous court, had to do with what USA Today called a “decidedly obscure arbitration case.” While reading his decision from the bench, Kavanaugh uttered the word “arbitrability” 13 times. Try saying that 13 times fast. [USA Today]


35 percent conservatives

According to new Gallup polling, 35 percent of Americans describe themselves as conservative, 35 percent as moderate and 26 percent as liberal. The gap between conservatives and liberals, however, has narrowed by 10 percentage points since the baseline measurements were taken in 1992. Self-identified liberals also outnumber conservatives in the 30-49 age bracket by 1 point — a recent development. [Gallup]


2.6 million fewer cancer deaths

Cancer deaths have declined 27 percent over 25 years, resulting in 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. This has been mostly thanks to efforts to reduce smoking, and to improved detection and treatment of cancer in its early stages. [The Wall Street Journal]


1,130 false or misleading statements

President Trump addressed the nation in prime time last night to talk about what he calls a “crisis” on the U.S.-Mexico border — it was his first Oval Office broadcast. In the days before, certain media types hemmed and hawed about the journalistic merits of airing such a speech given that Washington Post researchers determined that at least 1,130 of Trump’s statements about immigration have been false or misleading. In the end, however, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Fox, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, plus the websites of The Washington Post and The New York Times, aired the address live. [Columbia Journalism Review]


12 staffing changes

The turnover in President Trump’s Cabinet has been unprecedented in recent history, my colleague Nathaniel Rakich writes. As of yesterday, there had been 12 staffing changes in his Cabinet. In second place at this point in his administration was Bill Clinton, with only six. [FiveThirtyEight]


3.4 percent rise

Emissions of carbon dioxide in the U.S. increased some 3.4 percent last year, according to a study by an independent economic research firm. The finding, wrote The Washington Post, highlights how the United States “has all but abandoned efforts to mitigate the effects of a warming world.” [The Washington Post]


Love digits? Find even more in FiveThirtyEight’s book of math and logic puzzles, “The Riddler.” It’s in stores now! I hope you dig it.

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

Oliver Roeder was a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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