Category: Political Science

My two talks in Austria next week, on two of your favorite topics!

Innsbruck, 7 Nov 2018: The study of American politics as a window into understanding uncertainty in science We begin by discussing recent American elections in the context of political polarization, and we consider similarities and differences with European politics. We then discuss statistical challenges in the measurement of public opinion: inference from opinion polls with […]

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“What Happened Next Tuesday: A New Way To Understand Election Results”

Yair just published a long post explaining (a) how he and his colleagues use Mister P and the voter file to get fine-grained geographic and demographic estimates of voter turnout and vote preference, and (b) why this makes a difference. The relevant research paper is here. As Yair says in his above-linked post, he and […]

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“2010: What happened?” in light of 2018

Back in November 2010 I wrote an article that I still like, attempting to answer the question: “How could the voters have swung so much in two years? And, why didn’t Obama give Americans a better sense of his long-term economic plan in 2009, back when he still had a political mandate?” My focus was […]

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What does it mean to talk about a “1 in 600 year drought”?

Patrick Atwater writes: Curious to your thoughts on a bit of a statistical and philosophical quandary. We often make statements like this drought was a 1 in 400 year event but what do we really mean when we say that? In California for example there was an oft repeated line that the recent historic drought was […]

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David Brooks discovers Red State Blue State Rich State Poor State!

The New York Times columnist writes: Our political conflict is primarily a rich, white civil war. It’s between privileged progressives and privileged conservatives. You could say that tribalism is the fruit of privilege. People with more stresses in their lives necessarily pay less attention to politics. . . . I’ve had some differences with Brooks […]

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The Golden Rule of Nudge

Nudge unto others as you would have them nudge unto you. Do not recommend to apply incentives to others that you would not want for yourself. Background I was reading this article by William Davies about Britain’s Kafkaesque immigration policies. The background, roughly, is this: Various English politicians promised that the net flow of immigrants […]

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Rising test scores . . . reported as stagnant test scores

Joseph Delaney points to a post by Kevin Drum pointing to a post by Bob Somerby pointing to a magazine article by Natalie Wexler that reported on the latest NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) test results. In an article entitled, “Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years,” Wexler asks, “what’s […]

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Strategic choice of where to vote in November

Darcy Kelley sends along a link to this site, Make My Vote Matter, in which you can enter two different addresses where you might vote, and it will tell you in which (if any) of these addresses has elections that are predicted to be close. The site is aimed at students; according to the site, […]

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David Weakliem points out that both economic and cultural issues can be more or less “moralized.”

David Weakliem writes: Thomas Edsall has a piece in which he cites a variety of work saying that Democratic and Republican voters are increasingly divided by values. He’s particularly concerned with “authoritarianism,” which is an interesting issue, but one I’ll save for another post. What I want to talk about here is the idea that […]

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Bob Erikson on the 2018 Midterms

A couple months ago I wrote about party balancing in the midterm elections and pointed to the work of Joe Bafumi, Bob Erikson, and Chris Wlezien. Erikson recently sent me this note on the upcoming midterm elections: Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency has sparked far more than the usual interest in the next midterm elections as […]

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What do you do when someone says, “The quote is, this is the exact quote”—and then misquotes you?

Ezra Klein, editor of the news/opinion website Vox, reports on a recent debate that sits in the center of the Venn diagram of science, journalism, and politics: Sam Harris, host of the Waking Up podcast, and I [Klein] have been going back and forth over an interview Harris did with The Bell Curve author Charles […]

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Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science Regrets Its Decision to Hire Cannibal P-hacker as Writer-at-Large

It is not easy to admit our mistakes, particularly now, given the current media climate and general culture of intolerance on college campuses. Still, we feel that we owe our readers an apology. We should not have hired Cannibal P-hacker, an elegant scientist and thinker who, we have come to believe, after serious consideration, does […]

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Echo Chamber Incites Online Mob to Attack Math Profs

The story starts as follows: There’s evidence for greater variability in the distribution of men, compared to women, in various domains. Two math professors, Theodore Hill and Sergei Tabachnikov, wrote an article exploring a mathematical model for the evolution of this difference in variation, and send the article to the Mathematical Intelligencer, a magazine that […]

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N=1 survey tells me Cynthia Nixon will lose by a lot (no joke)

Yes, you can learn a lot from N=1, as long as you have some auxiliary information. The other day I was talking with a friend who’s planning to vote for Andrew Cuomo in the primary. What about Cynthia Nixon? My friend wasn’t even considering voting for her. Now, my friend is, I think, in the […]

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Narcolepsy Could Be ‘Sleeper Effect’ in Trump and Brexit Campaigns

Kevin Lewis sent along this example of what in social science is called the “ecological fallacy”: UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL MARCH 8, 2018 AT 10 AM EST Media Contact: Public and Media Relations Manager Society for Personality and Social Psychology press@spsp.org Narcolepsy Could Be ‘Sleeper Effect’ in Trump and Brexit Campaigns Regions where voters have more […]

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British journalists not running corrections and talking about putting people in the freezer

I happened to be reading an old issue of Private Eye (a friend subscribes and occasionally gives me some old copies) and came across this, discussing various misinformation regarding a recent crime that had been reported by a London tabloid columnist named Rod Liddle (no relation to the famous statistician, I assume): Here is “what […]

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