polling problems in nh, and the caucus vs. a private vote

Why did the pollsters in NH get it wrong? Obama was up by 8%, only to lose by 3%. This is an enormously dramatic swing that is difficult to explain. Andrew Kohut, president of Pew Charitable Trusts has an interesting editorial about this in the NYTimes. His explanation: “the longstanding pattern of pre-election polls overstating support for black candidates among white voters, particularly white voters who are poor.” My explanation is slightly different: that in a caucus there is social accountability, and in a private vote, there isn’t. Continue reading “polling problems in nh, and the caucus vs. a private vote”

deleted scenes

Tomorrow’s lecture in my undergrad class is on “rationality.” I made the following slide but then decided not to include it:

While not cut due to heteronormativity–first time I’ve used that word in a post–I have been trying to work on that in my examples.

(Social psychologists may recognize the example from old ideas of the “Comparison Level” versus the “Comparison Level for Alternatives” in how people evaluate intimate relationships.)

a reason to not not like hillary

I’ve been in a snit all day about Hillary and gender, and so I decided to let some of it out.  I’m really getting fed up with how the press is talking about Hillary using gender stereotypes and out-and-out sexism against her. 

I’ve asked a lot of people who oppose Hillary the reasons why, and the vast majority of the time I haven’t received anything resembling a straight answer.  Prying a little bit beneath the surface usually produced some kind of thinly-veiled version of she’s a “ball-busting bitch.”  Continue reading “a reason to not not like hillary”

for comparison

C. Density just posted about ASA membership dues. Many professors view their professional membership dues as something like a “disciplinary tax” (albeit, just like many view paying taxes as part of their patriotic duty, many view membership dues as part of their professional duty.)

Anyway, given the analogy to taxation, I just looked up what the dues are for economists. Continue reading “for comparison”

I dream of Scatterplot

I’ve been recruiting for Scatterplot in recent weeks (with only limited success, thus far, though I remain hopeful that a certain favorite sociologist will soon use the login we sent him last month to begin posting). This usually involves a conversation about how often we hope contributors will post, the advantages and disadvantages of blogging pseudonymously, how to think about various audiences, etc. I usually also end up saying something like, “I consider myself a minor character on Scatterplot, and I like it that way.” I don’t watch enough TV to offer a concrete example of my Scatterplot aspirations, but Keith on “Six Feet Under” comes to mind… Continue reading “I dream of Scatterplot”