That mysterious sentence begins a NYT article.
What kind of analysis sees the answer to a question that is not asked?
The analysis, an extrapolation based on adult responses to a federal survey, represents an indirect way of arriving at a figure that many advocates consider to be of crucial importance.So if you really, really want a number badly enough, a number can be derived?
[T]he researchers applied an advanced statistical technique regarded by some academics as an emerging gold standard for making state estimates using national data, based on well-worn demographic and geographic patterns...An emerging gold standard. Some academics.