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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

“If the horse race polls were all wrong about Trump, why should his approval rating polls be any better?”

A journalist forwarded the above question to me and asked what I thought. My reply is that the horse race polls were not all wrong about Trump. The polls had him at approx 48% of the two-party vote and he received 49%. The polls were wrong by a few percentage points in some key swing […]

No evidence of incumbency disadvantage?

Several years ago I learned that the incumbency advantage in India was negative! There, the politicians are so unpopular that when they run for reelection they’re actually at a disadvantage, on average, compared to fresh candidates. At least, that’s what I heard. But Andy Hall and Anthony Fowler just wrote a paper claiming that, no, […]

When do stories work, Process tracing, and Connections between qualitative and quantitative research

Jonathan Stray writes: I read your “when do stories work” paper (with Thomas Basbøll) with interest—as a journalist stories are of course central to my field. I wondered if you had encountered the “process tracing” literature in political science? It attempts to make sense of stories as “case studies” and there’s a nice logic of […]

The Lure of Luxury

From the sister blog, a response to an article by psychologist Paul Bloom on why people own things they don’t really need: Paul Bloom argues that humans dig deep, look beyond the surface, and attend to the nonobvious in ways that add to our pleasure and appreciation of the world of objects. I [Susan] wholly […]

Field Experiments and Their Critics

Seven years ago I was contacted by Dawn Teele, who was then a graduate student and is now a professor of political science, and asked for my comments on an edited book she was preparing on social science experiments and their critics. I responded as follows: This is a great idea for a project. My […]

About that claim in the Monkey Cage that North Korea had “moderate” electoral integrity . . .

Yesterday I wrote about problems with the Electoral Integrity Project, a set of expert surveys that are intended to “evaluate the state of the world’s elections” but have some problems, notably rating more than half of the U.S. states in 2016 as having lower integrity than Cuba (!) and North Korea (!!!) in 2014. I […]

“Constructing expert indices measuring electoral integrity” — reply from Pippa Norris

This morning I posted a criticism of the Electoral Integrity Project, a survey organized by Pippa Norris and others to assess elections around the world. Norris sent me a long response which I am posting below as is. I also invited Andrew Reynolds, the author of the controversial op-ed, to contribute to the discussion. Here’s […]

About that bogus claim that North Carolina is no longer a democracy . . .

Nick Stevenson directed me to a recent op-ed in the Raleigh News & Observer, where political science professor Andrew Reynolds wrote: In 2005, in the midst of a career of traveling around the world to help set up elections in some of the most challenging places on earth . . . my Danish colleague, Jorgen […]

Migration explaining observed changes in mortality rate in different geographic areas?

We know that the much-discussed increase in mortality among middle-aged U.S. whites is mostly happening among women in the south. In response to some of that discussion, Tim Worstall wrote: I [Worstall] have a speculative answer. It is absolutely speculative: but it is also checkable to some extent. Really, I’m channelling my usual critique of […]

“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 […]