What Happened in 2018

October 9, 2020 |

Big Al writes: 

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/money-and-elections-a-complicated-love-story/ Money is certainly strongly associated with political success. But, “I think where you have to change your thinking is that money causes winning,” said Richard Lau, professor of political science at Rutgers. “I think it’s more that winning attracts money.”

Stefan Jovanovich  writes: 

Did I miss the memo?  Has there been an edict that particular facts are to be subsumed into coy academic attempts at irony?

There is one professor book that created the standard for electoral analysis and predictions: *The American Voter* by Angus Campbell, Philip Converse, Warren Miller, and Donald Stokes.  They produced a detailed analysis of the 1952 and 1956 Presidential elections using what is still a wonderfully subtle methodology.  Michael S. Lewis-Beck, Helmut Norpoth, William G. Jacoby and Herbert F. Weisberg took that work, applied the extraordinary advances in computing and computation since 1958 and revisited that work.  *The American Voter Revisited* does the 2000 and 2004 elections. 1952 and 1956 elections. Professor Lau thinks he has invented a superior methodology; his proof is hat his model correctly predicted how 3 out of 4 voters in a mock election made the same choice that they would have made "under conditions of perfect information". Meanwhile, Professor Norpoth continues to stick his neck out and make a prediction every 4 years based on his primary turnout model.  (For those who don't know it, he picks Trump.)

You can do better, Big Al.

Duncan Coker  writes: 

Since you brought up the 1952 and 1956 for those who don't remember Adlai Stephenson was the Democratic candidate against Eisenhower.  It marked the start of televised and advertised campaigns.  It also launched the start of a company called Simulmatics.  They were the first to apply data and simulation to campaigns and politics, granted they were using punch card tech.  Parsing data into groups like "white non-college educated, rural voter" or "women suburbanites" they were the first to use. Kennedy hired them in earnest to help him get elected.  They did not predict elections so much as the issues that might turn elections and which side was best.  For Kennedy they recommended expanding civil right issues, not hiding from being Catholic and more debates.  They were not wrong but perhaps Kennedy would have done all thee things anyway.  Today take the same process, but multiply the computing

speed by 1 million x.  All in a very good book called If Then by Jill Lepore.


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