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On Mitt Romney and The X-Files

Those of you interested in political psychology and data science might enjoy my latest post on the Ranker Data Blog entitled Mitt Romney Should Have Advertised on the X-Files.  In it, I explore correlations between liking Mitt Romney and liking various TV Shows on lists on, replicating analyses which the Obama campaign purportedly conducted [...]

Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin and Paul Krugman need to get out of Maslow’s Basement.

Losing an election is tough and I have immense empathy for those who have a heartfelt vision for their country that was not fulfilled on election day.  Most people who care deeply about the election, Democrats and Republicans, do so out of a real desire for the country to do better and it’s unfortunate that [...]

Early Voting is a Social Influence Tool, so tell everyone when you vote!

As a political junkie, I’ve been reading the spin on early voting with interest as each side talks about how they are using their ground game to get people to the polls.  Some have suggested that early voting doesn’t matter as it simply gets those people who would have voted anyway to vote earlier.  That [...]

Likely Voter Models Should Be Applied to Polls Probabilistically

One of the many great points I took from Nate Silver’s recent book, The Signal and the Noise, is that people are generally bad at dealing with uncertainty. We want the weather forecaster to tell us if it’s going to rain tomorrow, not that there is a 30% chance, even though that’s the right answer. [...]

Like this if you are registered to vote, share it if you want to see which of your friends are registered.

The title of this post is a blatant attempt to go viral, though hopefully for a good cause. A new study recently published in Nature estimates that a similar viral message touting voting behavior, led to 340,000 more votes in the 2010 election.  Human beings are naturally social creatures and if we see our close [...]

Will Mitt Romney appeal to empathizers or systemizers in his Republican National Convention speech?

The Republican National Convention is going to take place this week and one of the stated goals of many republicans is to “humanize” Mitt Romney. It reminded me of this graph that I pulled from our database which looks at systemizing vs. empathizing scores.  Based on work by Simon Baron-Cohen, the measure concerns how [...]

Psychological Differences between Cell Phone and Landline users presents a challenge for polls

When the NY Times or Gallup reports that Obama or Romney has a lead in the polls, how do they know this?  Typically, they pay people to randomly call people and they extrapolate from this sample, using established statistical methods, to make generalizations to the population.  Some groups won’t respond, especially young adults who often [...]