Why don’t third parties win US presidential elections?

As always, some of the best questions come from readers of the blog.  “Why don’t third parties win US presidential elections?” came to us via email. It is also timely with the recent discussion from Kristol and polling information from Data Targeting. Polling Third Parties In a traditional poll, pollsters may ask a question like, “Would you consider supporting a third party candidate? Yes or No?”  Traditionally, because the question is asked like this, support […]

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Gainesville Votes! and its ramifications

Gainesville Votes! is an organization that is proposing “following the model successfully used by the Alachua County School Board: Non-partisan elections occurring in August (alongside county, state and federal primaries) of every even year. When a run-off is necessary, it would be held on the first Tuesday in November along with county, state and federal elections.”  Harvey Ward. This is being proposed in the vein of promoting higher turnout in Gainesville City Elections. This goal and […]

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How to read a Political Poll!

The sheer number of polls this political cycle is amazing.  The sheer number of bad polls this political cycle is stunning. Regardless, the manner the press reports on polling is just God-awful. Biggest Polling Complaint My largest complaint is that the amount of uncertainty in a poll is not reported, is under-reported or misunderstood. A poll is only a sample (hopefully of a random one that is well constructed) of a population.  When any pollster moves […]

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Quick Reaction: The Hidden Lesson from the GOP Debate for Candidates

The morning after the GOP Debate, the Washington Post has an article “Marco Rubio had a rough night on Google“. It is an interesting story, but I think it misses the MOST important story from any candidates’ point of view. If you look at the Google search peaks, BOTH peaks were when candidates related a personal story to the current political context. THAT’s the ‘story’, if you are candidate.  THAT’s the takeaway if you are […]

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How productive is Congress?

Over the Thanksgiving break, I figured NOTHING could be any more frustrating than watching my Gators, so I decided to begin to tackle learning R. Part of teaching myself R is playing around with an interesting data set – Congressional Bills.  “This public resource provides information about more than 400,000 bills introduced in the U.S. Congress, currently 1947-2008, along with extensive information about each bill’s progress and sponsor.” I just started with a simple question, […]

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