# 4.3 Relationship between Sample Size and Margin of Error

There is a predictable relationship between sample size and margin of error. The numbers found in **Table 4.1** help to explain this relationship.

*Table 4.1. Calculated Margins of Error for Selected Sample Sizes*

Sample Size (n) | Margin of Error (M.E.) |
---|---|

200 | 7.1% |

400 | 5.0% |

700 | 3.8% |

1000 | 3.2% |

1200 | 2.9% |

1500 | 2.6% |

2000 | 2.2% |

3000 | 1.8% |

4000 | 1.6% |

5000 | 1.4% |

From this table, one can clearly see that as sample size increases, the margin of error decreases. In order to add additional clarity to this finding, the information from **Table 4.1** is also displayed in** Figure 4.2.**

*Figure 4.2 Relationship Between Sample Size and Margin of Error*

In **Figure 4.2**, you again find that as the sample size increases, the margin of error decreases. However, you should also notice that the amount by which the margin of error decreases is substantial between samples sizes of 200 and 1500. This implies that the accuracy of the estimate is strongly affected by the size of the sample. In contrast, the margin of error does not substantially decrease at sample sizes above 1500. Therefore, pollsters have concluded that it is not worth it to spend additional time and money for samples that contain more than 1500 people.