Poll data are grist for the link economy, easily available hard information ripe to be dissected, analyzed, shared, and explored. That’s all well and good. But, please, let’s see a little more time, and a little more attention, spent on what the latest numbers do—and don’t—mean.

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Greg Marx is an adjunct lecturer at The Medill School and a facilitator with The OpEd Project. She served as an editorial board member, columnist, library director, and No. 2 in the features department of the Chicago Sun-Times.