5(ish) Posts About Elections, Bias, and Numbers in Politics

It’s election day here in the US, so I thought I’d do a roundup of my favorite posts I’ve done in the past year about the political process and it’s various statistical pitfalls. Regular readers will recognize most of these, but I figured there were worth a repost before they stopped being relevant for another few years.  As always, these posts are meta/about the process type posts, and no candidates or positions are endorsed. The rest of you seem to have that covered quite nicely.

  1. How Do They Call Elections So Early? My most popular post so far this year, I walk through the statistical methods used to call elections before all the votes are counted. No idea if this will come in to play today, but if it does you’ll be TOTALLY prepared to explain this at your next cocktail party or whatever it is the kids do these days.
  2. 5 Studies About Politics and Bias to Get You Through Election Season In this post I do a roundup of my favorite studies on, well, politics and bias. Helpful if you want to figure out what your opponents are doing wrong, but even MORE helpful if you use it to re-examine some of your own beliefs.
  3. Two gendered voting studies. People love to study the secret forces driving individual genders to vote certain ways, but are those studies valid? I examined one study that attempted to link women’s voting patterns and menstrual cycles here, and one that attempted to link threats to men’s masculinity and their voting patterns here. Spoiler alert: I was underwhelmed by both.
  4. Two new logical fallacies (that I just made up) Not specific to politics, but aimed in that direction. I invented the Tim Tebow Fallacy for those situations when someone defends a majority opinion as though they were an oppressed minority. The Forrest Gump Fallacy I made up for those times when someone believes that their own personal life is actually reflective of a greater trend in America….when it doesn’t.
  5. My grandfather making fun of statistical illiteracy of political pundits 40 years ago. The original stats blogger in my family also got irritated by this stuff. Who would have thought.

As a final thought, if you’re in the US, go vote! No, it won’t make a statistically significant difference on the national, but I think there’s a benefit to being part of the process.

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