Category Archives: Politics
The 2012 election process is in full swing, but almost no one seems happy about it. When pollsters recently asked Americans about the election, 7 out of 10 said that they couldn’t wait for it to be over. In part, the electorate’s malaise stems from the fact that none of the G.O.P.’s candidates are generating much enthusiasm from Republican voters, and President Obama’s approval rating continues to hover at less than 50%. People aren’t excited about their options, and as the election process grinds on many voters may be thinking that no matter who wins the presidency in November, he (or she) will not be the sort of leader that we really want.
But exactly what kind of leader is that? What do people look for when picking a president?
Everyone holds a set of expectations, assumptions, and beliefs about what a “good” leader is like. Social and organizational psychologists…
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I was listening to the radio this morning (Dennis and Callahan) and one of the callers to the show mentioned a U.S. News poll that found that American’s biggest fear in 2012, by a 2-1 margin, was the re-election of Barack Obama. Now, if you’re calling into a sports radio show, I’m not going to trust you; if you’re calling in to a sport radio show to talk about politics with Dennis and Callahan, I trust you even less. And I didn’t trust this guy’s “statistic” that nearly two-thirds of those polled were fearful of Obama being re-elected.
So when I got to work this morning, I looked up this poll. The article I believe the caller was referring to is this one by Paul Bedard complete with the headline “Poll: Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”. The poll results cited in the article are as follows:
As we enter the presidential election year of 2012, what potential news event do you fear the most?
President Obama wins reelection 33%
Taxes will increase 31%
Iran will get a nuclear weapon 16%
Obama will lose reelection 16%
North Korea will attack South Korea 4%
I don’t know who looks at the results of this poll and takes away the headline “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”. That headline implies (intentionally?) that the question that was asked in the poll was “Do you fear Obama’s re-election” when, in fact, the question asked was “As we enter the presidential election year of 2012, what potential news event do you fear the most?”
These are entirely different questions and to draw the conclusion that “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection” is, at best, unintentionally misleading. You could say “Americans, 2-1, cite Obama’s re-election as their number one fear,” but that is an entirely different statement. If you really want to know how many American’s fear Obama’s re-election, you need to ask that question in a well sampled poll, which this may or may not have been.
Regardless, there is no way to look at the results of this pool and honestly draw the conclusion that “Americans, 2-1, Fear Obama’s Reelection”. This is either a misunderstanding leading to a misleading headline or intentionally dishonest.
PS Regardless of your politics, how can anymore be more fearful of the 2012 presidential outcome or your taxes going up than of Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Maybe you’re annoyed or bothered that your taxes will go up, but do you fear an increase in taxes? Iran getting a nuclear weapon is more than just an annoyance or a bother.
Auto-complete terms for republican candidates for 12/28/2011. I searched for these after signing out of google and then I “disabled customizations based on search activity” so my search history would not interfere with the auto-completes.
Here is a plot based on the google auto-complete search data.
And here is the complete data for Romney, Perry, Cain, Paul and Gingrich.
|“Mitt Romney”||“Rick Perry”||“Herman Cain”||“Ron Paul”||“Newt Gingrich”|
|political views||new hampshire||sexual harassment||on gay marriage||gay marriage|
|economic plan||debate||net worth||issues||wives|
|racist||bad lip reading||abortion||abortion||polls website|
Bachmann, Santorum, and Hunstman.
|“Michele Bachmann”||“Rick Santorum”||“John Huntsman”|
|husband||on the issues||chinese|
I was just reading this from slate.com about gerrymandering, and it struck me that you could, in some sense, prevent egregious gerrymandering by measuring the convexity of the shape of the district and not allowing districts that are extremely non-convex. Apparently, others have also thought of this there are several papers on the topic including “Gerrymandering and Convexity” and “Can Compactness constrain the Gerrymander?“.
Auto-complete for search “Rick Perry ” on Google over the last couple of weeks. The last row is the polling percentage based on Real Clear Politics polls.
|for president||for president||for president||for president||gay|
|for president website||2012||prayer||prayer||prayer|
|2012||for president 2012||2012||galileo||secession|
|gay||for president||for president||for president||gay|
|for president||gay||gay||gay||for president|
Auto-complete for search “Rick Perry is ” on google over the last couple of weeks. The last row is the polling percentage based on Real Clear Politics polls.
|an idiot||an idiot||an idiot||an idiot||an idiot|
|a rino||a rino||crazy||crazy||crazy|
|not a conservative||not a conservative||stupid||stupid||evil|
|an idiot||an idiot||an idiot||an idiot||an idiot|