Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Leftovers: Politics, Surveys, and Interpreted Data

Just a quick post with some reading that caught my eye and rattled around in my brain for more that a few seconds over the weekend. Admittedly, it was politics, but with a dash of survey interpretation and analysis that stuck with me.

First, this piece by Maurene Dowd for the New York Times, Romney is President. Simply, it's an amusing read.

Next, this post by Greg Dworkin for Daily Kos, From debates to Sandy: Things "everyone knows" aren't always true. This is a nice dive into exit poll analysis and the contrast between the 'conventional wisdom' stories told by the web contrasted against the data.

One aspect of this post that I found amusing -- if you look at how most people had decided how they were going to vote much earlier in the process, think about how much hype and money was devoted to the idea of trying to influence the final moments of the game. Often, the media portrayed the campaign and the election as a game that was coming down to the wire as though one desperate fling of the ball would decide it in the end. And who benefits from this narrative? The political media industry.

On a related note, another thing I was thinking about over the weekend. With how much some of those wealthy Republican donors gave to Superpacs -- essentially with the idea of buying the election -- do you think that their ultimate takeaway is that spending big money in elections like that is a waste? If so, what next?

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