When the model is right but the outcome is wrong

Nate Silver is on record (somewhere) as saying that he was greatly relieved when the most likely outcome of the 2012 election was the actual outcome. He had build a model of what was going to happen that represented the probabilities of certain occurrences. People incorrectly interpreted this as predictions that could be right or […]

Why we shouldn’t poll on the race

OK, I’m not the first to say this at all, but really. Let’s stop polling to see who is ahead in elections. Horse race polling, as it’s called, is a masturbatory exercise when done internally by candidates or parties and provides no valuable insight when done externally. Internal polls are either dismissed or used to […]

Building an Audience

The SK NDP leadership race just went through a sprint to the finish for memberships. Memberships purchased prior to January 25th allowed people to vote in the leadership race. Those purchased after the deadline are not permitted to do so. I’m sure the reasons for this are good (or if they’re not, they’ll be changed), […]

Dividing by race and religion

I’m in the middle of reading Sasha Issenberg’s fascinating book, “The Victory Lab”, which purports to expose the ‘secret science’ of winning campaigns. In fact, it’s not so secret, but instead discusses (gasp) evidence-based actions resulting from randomized experiments. To an academic (and, apparently, especially a non-political scientist), this comes as no shock. It makes […]

Playing the Long Game in Campaigns

I’ve posted a few optimistic posts lately, but tonight is Christmas Eve, and I’m feeling pessimistic. Much of my optimism has been related to watching particular kinds of campaigns by organizations like Avaaz, MoveOn, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Obama campaigns, and other, progressive, grassroots-based campaigns that seem to genuinely tap into existing concerns […]