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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Authors of AJPS paper find that the signs on their coefficients were reversed. But they don’t care: in their words, “None of our papers actually give a damn about whether it’s plus or minus.” All right, then!

Avi Adler writes: I hit you up on twitter, and you probably saw this already, but you may enjoy this. I’m not actually on twitter but I do read email, so I followed the link and read this post by Steven Hayward: EPIC CORRECTION OF THE DECADE Hoo-wee, the New York Times will really have […]


A journalist sent me a bunch of questions regarding problems with polls. Here was my reply: In answer to your question, no, the polls in Brexit did not fail. They were pretty good. See here and here. The polls also successfully estimated Donald Trump’s success in the Republican primary election. I think that poll responses […]

Opportunity for publishing preregistered analyses of the 2016 American National Election Study

Brendan Nyhan writes: Have you heard about the Election Research Preacceptance Competition that Skip Lupia and I are organizing to promote preaccepted articles? Details here: A number of top journals have agreed to consider preaccepted articles that include data from the ANES. Authors who publish qualifying entries can win a $2,000 prize. We’re eager […]

Is it fair to use Bayesian reasoning to convict someone of a crime?

Ethan Bolker sends along this news article from the Boston Globe: If it doesn’t acquit, it must fit Judges and juries are only human, and as such, their brains tend to see patterns, even if the evidence isn’t all there. In a new study, researchers first presented people with pieces of evidence (a confession, an […]

Mister P can solve problems with survey weighting

It’s tough being a blogger who’s expected to respond immediately to topics in his area of expertise. For example, here’s Scott “fraac” Adams posting on 8 Oct 2016, post titled “Why Does This Happen on My Vacation? (The Trump Tapes).” After some careful reflection, Adams wrote, “My prediction of a 98% chance of Trump winning […]

My online talk this Friday noon for the Political Methods Colloquium: The Statistical Crisis in Science

Justin Esarey writes: This Friday, October 14th at noon Eastern time, the International Methods Colloquium will inaugurate its Fall 2016 series of talks with a presentation by Andrew Gelman of Columbia University. Professor Gelman’s presentation is titled “The Statistical Crisis in Science.” The presentation will draw on these two papers: “Beyond Power Calculations: Assessing Type […]

No, I don’t think the Super Bowl is lowering birth weights

In a news article entitled, “Inequality might start before we’re even born,” Carolyn Johnson reports: Another study, forthcoming in the Journal of Human Resources, analyzed birth outcomes in counties where the home team goes to the Super Bowl. . . . The researchers found that women in their first trimester whose home team played in […]

Michael Lacour vs John Bargh and Amy Cuddy

In our discussion of the Bargh, Chen, and Burrows priming-with-elderly-related-words-makes-people-walk-slowly-paper (the study which famously failed in a preregistered replication), commenter Lois wrote: Curious as to what people think of this comment on the Bargh et al. (1996) paper from Pubpeer: (see below). In Experiment 3, the experimenter rated participants on irritability, hostility, anger, and uncooperativeness […]

Did Colombia really vote no in that peace referendum?

Mike Spagat and Neil Johnson write: The official line is that the “no” vote won the referendum in Colombia. The internationally lauded peace treaty with the FARC guerillas was rejected . . . But did “no” actually win? The numbers divide four ways, rather than just two “no” and “yes” answers: 6,431,376 against the treaty, […]

Astroturf “patient advocacy” group pushes to keep drug prices high

Susan Perry tells the story: Patients Rising, [reporter Trudy Lieberman] reports, was founded by Jonathan Wilcox, a corporate communications and public relations consultant and adjunct professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and his wife, Terry, a producer of oncology videos. . . . Both Wilcox and his wife had worked with Vital Options International, […]

Don’t trust Rasmussen polls!

Political scientist Alan Abramowitz brings us some news about the notorious pollster: In the past 12 months, according to Real Clear Politics, there have been 72 national polls matching Clinton with Trump—16 polls conducted by Fox News or Rasmussen and 56 polls conducted by other polling organizations. Here are the results: Trump has led or […]

NPR’s gonna NPR

I was gonna give this post the title, Stat Rage More Severe in the Presence of First-Class Journals, but then I thought I’d keep it simple. Chapter 1. Background OK, here’s what happened. A couple weeks ago someone pointed me to a low-quality paper that appeared in PPNAS (the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy […]

Don’t move Penn Station

I agree 100% with Henry Grabar on this one. Ever since I heard many years ago about the plan to blog a few billion dollars moving NYC’s Penn Station to a prettier but less convenient location, I’ve grimaced. Big shots really love to spend our money on fancy architecture, don’t they? As I wrote a […]

Looking at the polls: Time to get down and dirty with the data

Poll aggregation is great, but one thing that we’ve been saying a lot recently (see also here) is that we can also learn a lot by breaking open a survey and looking at the numbers crawling around inside. Here’s a new example. It comes from Alan Abramowitz, who writes: Very strange results of new ABC/WP […]

Politics and chance

After the New Hampshire primary Nadia Hassan wrote: Some have noted how minor differences in how the candidates come out in these primaries can make a huge difference in the media coverage. For example, only a few thousand voters separate third and fifth and it really impacts how pundits talk about a candidate’s performance. Chance […]

Trump +1 in Florida; or, a quick comment on that “5 groups analyze the same poll” exercise

Nate Cohn at the New York Times arranged a comparative study on a recent Florida pre-election poll. He sent the raw data to four groups (Charles Franklin; Patrick Ruffini; Margie Omero, Robert Green, Adam Rosenblatt; and Sam Corbett-Davies, David Rothschild, and me) and asked each of us to analyze the data how we’d like to […]

“Evaluating Online Nonprobability Surveys”

Courtney Kennedy, Andrew Mercer, Scott Keeter, Nick Hatley, Kyley McGeeney and Alejandra Gimenez wrote this very reasonable report for Pew Research. Someone should send a copy to Michael W. Link or whoever’s running the buggy-whip show nowadays.

Q: “Is A 50-State Poll As Good As 50 State Polls?” A: Use Mister P.

Jeff Lax points to this post from Nate Silver and asks for my thoughts. In his post, Nate talks about data quality issues of national and state polls. It’s a good discussion, but the one thing he unfortunately doesn’t talk about is multilevel regression and poststratification (or see here for more). What you want to […]

Polling in the 21st century: There ain’t no urn

David Rothschild writes: The Washington Post (WaPo) utilized Survey Monkey (SM) to survey 74,886 registered voters in all 50 states on who they would vote for in the upcoming election. I am very excited about the work, because I am a huge proponent of advancing polling methodology, but the methodological explanation and data detail bring […]

Why 2016 is not like 1964 and 1972

Nadia Hassan writes: I saw your article in Slate. For what it’s worth, this new article, “Ideologically Extreme Candidates in U.S. Presidential Elections, 1948–2012,” by Marty Cohen, Mary McGrath, Peter Aronow, and John Zaller, looks at ideology-based extremism and finds weak effects of ideology. Like the high end is 1980 and the authors estimate Carter […]