Multidimensional Scaling, Republican Presidential Candidates, and “a douchebag”
If you don’t want to read this whole thing, just check out the graph: Multidimensional Scaling: Republican Candidates – 8/16/2011
I was having a conversation with some friends today and someone mentioned that Rick Perry might have problems in the election because there were rumors he was gay. So I went to google and typed in “Rick Perry is” and google kindly offered me the following auto-complete options: “gay”, “an idiot”, “a rino“, “evil”, “not a conservative”. This got me thinking how this compared with the other candidates google auto-completes. For instance, if you google “Mitt Romney is” you get suggestions like “a mormon” and ” an idiot” as well as three other suggestions. I did this for all of the major candidates (sorry Thaddeus) and recorded the five google auto-complete suggestions.
Then I created a vector for each candidate based on the google auto-complete words. Each candidate was an observation and each word was a variable. The candidate would get a 5 if the word was first on their list, a 4 if it was second, and so on with a 0 if the word was not mentioned in their auto-complete.
I then used multidimensional scaling (the cmdscale function in R) to allow me to visually display the relative positions of the candidates to each other. This all led to this graphic: Multidimensional Scaling: Republican Candidates – 8/16/2011. The location of the circles is based on multidimensional scaling, the size of the circle is relative to their standings in a national poll taken from fivethirtyeight.com, and the top five google auto-completes are displayed in or near the appropriate circle.
- Every single candidate has the term “an idiot” in either the first or second auto-complete term
- 3 candidates were listed as “hot” (Palin. Bachmann, and Romney)
- “stupid” was only used to describe women
- Perry and Santorum (who has a much bigger google problem that anything I’ve listed here) had “gay” listed in their autocpmpletes and Pawlenty had “definitely not gay”
- Bachman and Palins circles are nearly identical in size (11.7% ad 11.4%, respectively) and words (they share “an idiot”, “hot”, and “stupid”)
- “a douchebag” appears in auto-completes for Santorum, Gingrich, and Pawlenty. I imagine it will be hard to win with this word attached to your name. (John Kerry couldn’t do it.)
- The only overwhelmingly positive google auto-complete was for Herman Cain whose fifth auto-complete option was “awesome”
Posted on August 17, 2011, in Math Pictures, Politics and tagged 2012 Presidential Election, Bachman, Herman Cain, Multidimensional Scaling, Palin, Pawlenty, Politics, Romney, ron paul, Santorum, Statistics. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.