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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Evaluating election forecasts

Nadia Hassan writes: Nate Silver did a review of pre-election predictions from forecasting models in 2012. The overall results were not great, but many scholars noted that some models seemed to do quite well. You mentioned that you were interested in how top-notch models fare. Nate agreed that some were better, but he raised the […]

Who owns your code and text and who can use it legally? Copyright and licensing basics for open-source

I am not a lawyer (“IANAL” in web-speak); but even if I were, you should take this with a grain of salt (same way you take everything you hear from anyone). If you want the straight dope for U.S. law, see the U.S. government Copyright FAQ; it’s surprisingly clear for government legalese. What is copyrighted? […]

Oooh, it burns me up

If any of you are members of the Marketing Research Association, could you please contact them and ask them to change their position on this issue: I have a feeling they won’t mind if you call them at home. With an autodialer. “Pollsters now must hand-dial cellphones, at great expense,” indeed. It’s that expensive to […]

Hey pollsters! Poststratify on party ID, or we’re all gonna have to do it for you.

Alan Abramowitz writes: In five days, Clinton’s lead increased from 5 points to 12 points. And Democratic party ID margin increased from 3 points to 10 points. No, I don’t think millions of voters switched to the Democratic party. I think Democrats are were just more likely to respond in that second poll. And, remember, […]

Balancing bias and variance in the design of behavioral studies: The importance of careful measurement in randomized experiments

At Bank Underground: When studying the effects of interventions on individual behavior, the experimental research template is typically: Gather a bunch of people who are willing to participate in an experiment, randomly divide them into two groups, assign one treatment to group A and the other to group B, then measure the outcomes. If you […]

Michael Porter as new pincushion

Some great comments on this post about Ted talk visionary Michael Porter. Most rewarding was this from Howard Edwards: New Zealand seems to score well on his index so perhaps I shouldn’t complain, but Michael Porter was well known in this part of the world 25 years ago when our government commissioned him to write […]

What’s gonna happen in November?

Nadia Hassan writes: 2016 may be strange with Trump. Do you have any thoughts on how people might go about modeling a strange election? When I asked you about predictability and updating election forecasts, you stated that models that rely on polls at different points should be designed to allow for surprises. You have touted […]

How schools that obsess about standardized tests ruin them as measures of success

Mark Palko and I wrote this article comparing the Success Academy chain of charter schools to Soviet-era factories: According to the tests that New York uses to evaluate schools, Success Academies ranks at the top of the state — the top 0.3 percent in math and the top 1.5 percent in English, according to the […]

The history of characterizing groups of people by their averages

Andrea Panizza writes: I stumbled across this article on the End of Average. I didn’t know about Todd Rose, thus I had a look at his Wikipedia entry: Rose is a leading figure in the science of individual, an interdisciplinary field that draws upon new scientific and mathematical findings that demonstrate that it is not […]

Modeling correlation of issue attitudes and partisanship within states

John Kuk writes: I have taught myself multilevel modeling using your book and read your work with Delia Baldassarri about partisanship and issue alignment. I have a question about related to these two works. I want to find the level of correlation between partisanship and issues at the state level. Your work with Professor Baldassarri […]

George Orwell on the Olympics

From 1945: If you wanted to add to the vast fund of ill-will existing in the world at this moment, you could hardly do it better than by a series of football matches between Jews and Arabs, Germans and Czechs, Indians and British, Russians and Poles, and Italians and Jugoslavs, each match to be watched […]

I know I said I wouldn’t blog for awhile, but this one was just too good to resist

Scott Adams endorsing the power pose: Have you heard of the “victory pose.” It’s a way to change your body chemistry almost instantly by putting your hands above your head like you won something. That’s a striking example of how easy it is to manipulate your mood and thoughts by changing your body’s condition. So […]

Don’t believe the bounce

Alan Abramowitz sent us the above graph, which shows the results from a series of recent national polls, for each plotting Hillary Clinton’s margin in support (that is, Clinton minus Trump in the vote-intention question) vs. the Democratic Party’s advantage in party identification (that is, percentage Democrat minus percentage Republican). This is about as clear […]

In policing (and elsewhere), regional variation in behavior can be huge, and perhaps give a clue about how to move forward.

Rajiv Sethi points to a discussion of Peter Moskos on the recent controversy over racial bias in police shootings. Here’s Sethi: Moskos is not arguing here that the police can do no wrong; he is arguing instead that in the aggregate, whites and blacks are about equally likely to be victims of bad shootings. . […]

Even social scientists can think like pundits, unfortunately

I regularly read the Orgtheory blog which has interesting perspectives from sociologists. Today I saw this, from Sean Safford: I [Safford] actually hold to the idea that the winning candidate for President is always the one who has a clearer view of the challenges and opportunities facing the country and articulates a viable roadmap for […]

“Children seek historical traces of owned objects”

Recently in the sister blog: An object’s mental representation includes not just visible attributes but also its nonvisible history. The present studies tested whether preschoolers seek subtle indicators of an object’s history, such as a mark acquired during its handling. Five studies with 169 children 3–5 years of age and 97 college students found that […]

When do statistical rules affect drug approval?

Someone writes in: I have MS and take a disease-modifying drug called Copaxone. Sandoz developed a generic version​ of Copaxone​ and filed for FDA approval. Teva, the manufacturer of Copaxone, filed a petition opposing that approval (surprise!). FDA rejected Teva’s petitions and approved the generic. My insurance company encouraged me to switch to the generic. […]

No, Google will not “sway the presidential election”

Grrr, this is annoying. A piece of exaggerated science reporting hit PPNAS and was promoted in Politico, then Kaiser Fung and I shot it down (“Could Google Rig the 2016 Election? Don’t Believe the Hype”) in our Daily Beast column last September. Then it appeared again this week in a news article in the Christian […]

Replin’ ain’t easy: My very first preregistration

I’m doing my first preregistered replication. And it’s a lot of work! We’ve been discussing this for awhile—here’s something I published in 2013 in response to proposals by James Moneghan and by Macartan Humphreys, Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, and Peter van der Windt for preregistration in political science, here’s a blog discussion (“Preregistration: what’s […]

About that claim that police are less likely to shoot blacks than whites

Josh Miller writes: Did you see this splashy NYT headline, “Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings”? It’s actually looks like a cool study overall, with granular data, and a ton of leg work, and rich set of results that extend beyond the attention grabbing headline that is […]