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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

“Kevin Lewis and Paul Alper send me so much material, I think they need their own blogs.”

In my previous post, I wrote: Kevin Lewis and Paul Alper send me so much material, I think they need their own blogs. It turns out that Lewis does have his own blog. His latest entry contains a bunch of links, starting with this one: Populism and the Return of the “Paranoid Style”: Some Evidence […]

p=.03, it’s gotta be true!

Howie Lempel writes: Showing a white person a photo of Obama w/ artificially dark skin instead of artificially lightened skin before asking whether they support the Tea Party raises their probability of saying “yes” from 12% to 22%. 255 person Amazon Turk and Craigs List sample, p=.03. Nothing too unusual about this one. But it’s […]

Sethi on Schelling

Interesting appreciation from an economist.

You Won’t BELIEVE How Trump Broke Up This Celebrity Couple!

A few months ago I asked if it was splitsville for tech zillionaire Peter Thiel and chess champion Garry Kasparov, after seeing this quote from Kasparov in April: Trump sells the myth of American success instead of the real thing. . . . It’s tempting to rally behind him-but we should resist. Because the New […]

Would Bernie Sanders have lost the presidential election?

Nobody knows what would’ve happened had Bernie Sanders been the Democratic nominee in 2016. My guess based on my reading of the political science literature following Steven Rosenstone’s classic 1983 book, Forecasting Presidential Elections, is that Sanders would’ve done a bit worse than Hillary Clinton, because Clinton is a centrist within the Democratic party and […]

5 more things I learned from the 2016 election

After posting the 19 Things We Learned from the 2016 Election, I received a bunch of helpful feedback in comments and email. Here are some of the key points that I missed or presented unclearly: Non-presidential elections Nadia Hassan points out that my article is “so focused on the Presidential race than it misses some […]

19 Things We Learned from the 2016 Election

OK, we can all agree that the November election result was a shocker. According to news reports, even the Trump campaign team was stunned to come up a winner. So now seemed like a good time to go over various theories floating around in political science and political reporting and see where they stand, now […]

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

Eric Loken writes: Do by any chance remember the bogus survey that Augusta National carried out in 2002 to deflect criticism about not having any female members? I even remember this survey being ridiculed by ESPN who said their polls showed much more support for a boycott and sympathy with Martha Burke. Anyway, sure that’s […]

Some U.S. demographic data at zipcode level conveniently in R

Ari Lamstein writes: I chuckled when I read your recent “R Sucks” post. Some of the comments were a bit … heated … so I thought to send you an email instead. I agree with your point that some of the datasets in R are not particularly relevant. The way that I’ve addressed that is […]

Survey weighting and that 2% swing

Nate Silver agrees with me that much of that shocking 2% swing can be explained by systematic differences between sample and population: survey respondents included too many Clinton supporters, even after corrections from existing survey adjustments. In Nate’s words, “Pollsters Probably Didn’t Talk To Enough White Voters Without College Degrees.” Last time we looked carefully […]

An exciting new entry in the “clueless graphs from clueless rich guys” competition

Jeff Lax points to this post from Matt Novak linking to a post by Matt Taibbi that shares the above graph from newspaper columnist / rich guy Thomas Friedman. I’m not one to spend precious blog space mocking bad graphs, so I’ll refer you to Novak and Taibbi for the details. One thing I do […]

Interesting epi paper using Stan

Jon Zelner writes: Just thought I’d send along this paper by Justin Lessler et al. Thought it was both clever & useful and a nice ad for using Stan for epidemiological work. Basically, what this paper is about is estimating the true prevalence and case fatality ratio of MERS-CoV [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection] […]

OK, sometimes the concept of “false positive” makes sense.

Paul Alper writes: I know by searching your blog that you hold the position, “I’m negative on the expression ‘false positives.’” Nevertheless, I came across this. In the medical/police/judicial world, false positive is a very serious issue: $2 Cost of a typical roadside drug test kit used by police departments. Namely, is that white powder […]

An election just happened and I can’t stop talking about it

Some things I’ve posted elsewhere: The Electoral College magnifies the power of white voters (with Pierre-Antoine Kremp) I’m not impressed by this claim of vote rigging And, in case you missed it: Explanations for that shocking 2% shift Coming soon: What theories in political science got supported or shot down by the 2016 election? (with […]

“US Election Analysis 2016: Media, Voters and the Campaign”

Darren Lilleker, Einar Thorsen, Daniel Jackson, and Anastasia Veneti edited this insta-book of post-election analyses. Actually, at least one of these chapters was written before the election. When the editors asked me if I could contribute to this book, I said, sure, and I pointed them to this article from a few weeks ago, “Trump-Clinton […]

Individual and aggregate patterns in the Equality of Opportunity research project

Dale Lehman writes: I’ve been looking at the work of the Equality of Opportunity Project and noticed that you had commented on some of their work. Since you are somewhat familiar with the work, and since they do not respond to my queries, I thought I’d ask you about something that is bothering me. I, […]

Know-it-all neuroscientist explains Trump’s election victory to the rest of us

Alex Gamma points us to the latest atrocity of pseudo-science in the popular press:

Anti-immigration attitudes: they didn’t want a bunch of Hungarian refugees coming in the 1950s

In a post entitled “Not that complicated,” sociologist David Weakliem writes: A few days ago, an article in the New York Times by Amanda Taub said that working-class support for Donald Trump reflected a “crisis of white identity.” Today, Ross Douthat said that it reflected the “thinning out of families.” The basic idea in both […]

En bra statistiklektion

Whatever. According to the translation, the show also includes “how paralyzed monkeys can walk again with the help of wireless burglar connection of neural pathways, how overfed planted salmon survive poorly in the wild, and how much of society’s most important job that can be done from home when snow chaos so requires.”

The role of models and empirical work in political science

Bill Kelleher writes: I recently posted a review of A Model Discipline, by Clarke and Primo on My review is entitled “Why Physics Envy will Persist,” at As you likely know, they are critical of the widespread belief among political scientists in the hypothetical-deductive method. As part of my review of the book, […]