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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

Was it really necessary to do a voting experiment on 300,000 people? Maybe 299,999 would’ve been enough? Or 299,998? Or maybe 2000?

There’s been some discussion recently about an experiment done in Montana, New Hampshire, and California, conducted by three young political science professors, in which letters were sent to 300,000 people, in order to (possibly) affect their voting behavior. It appears that the plan was to follow up after the elections and track voter turnout. (Some […]

Body-slam on the sister blog

John Ahlquist and Scott Gehlbach nail it.

Sailing between the Scylla of hyping of sexy research and the Charybdis of reflexive skepticism

Recently I had a disagreement with Larry Bartels which I think is worth sharing with you. Larry and I took opposite positions on the hot topic of science criticism. To put things in a positive way, Larry was writing about some interesting recent research which I then constructively criticized. To be more negative, Larry was […]

Three ways to present a probability forecast, and I only like one of them

To the nearest 10%: To the nearest 1%: To the nearest 0.1%: I think the National Weather Service knows what they’re doing on this one.

When am I a conservative and when am I a liberal (when it comes to statistics, that is)?

Here I am one day: Let me conclude with a statistical point. Sometimes researchers want to play it safe by using traditional methods — most notoriously, in that recent note by Michael Link, president of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, arguing against non-probability sampling on the (unsupported) grounds that such methods have “little […]

Varieties of description in political science

Markus Kreuzer writes:

Rational != Self-interested

I’ve said it before (along with Aaron Edlin and Noah Kaplan) and I’ll say it again. Rationality and self-interest are two dimensions of behavior. An action can be: 1. Rational and self-interested 2. Irrational and self-interested 3. Rational and altruistic 4. Irrational and altruistic. It’s easy enough to come up with examples of all of […]

65% of principals say that at least 30% of students . . . wha??

Alan Sloane writes: The OECD put out a report drawing on their PISA and TALIS data: http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.ie/2014/07/poverty-and-perception-of-poverty-how.html I notice that it’s already attracted a NY Times op-ed by David Leonhart: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/23/upshot/principals-in-us-are-more-likely-to-consider-their-students-poor.html There are a number of things I find strange in its analysis and interpretation but, for starters, there’s the horizontal axis in the chart […]

Are Ivy League schools overrated?

I won’t actually answer the above question, as I am offering neither a rating of these schools nor a measure of how others rate them (which would be necessary to calibrate the “overrated” claim). What I am doing is responding to an email from Mark Palko, who wrote: I [Palko] am in broad agreement with […]

Why I’m still not persuaded by the claim that subliminal smiley-faces can have big effects on political attitudes

We had a discussion last month on the sister blog regarding the effects of subliminal messages on political attitudes.  It started with a Larry Bartels post entitled “Here’s how a cartoon smiley face punched a big hole in democratic theory,” with the subtitle, “Fleeting exposure to ‘irrelevant stimuli’ powerfully shapes our assessments of policy arguments,” discussing the […]