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Fun with Regressions and the Zero Line

I have a post covering some important things to keep in mind when reviewing a regression:

The Line is NOT the Data

One of the worst things we can do as data analysts is to interpret a regression line as the most important thing on a visual. The important thing here is the per-state set of data points, but our eyes are drawn to the line. The line mentally replaces the data, but in doing so, we lose the noise. And boy, is there a lot of noise.

This was my first point, but I think it’s the most important one to keep in mind: just because we draw a line and there’s a best fit doesn’t mean that fit is actually any good. And if the fit isn’t any good, the line is…optimistic with regard to how informative it is.