Category Archive: Politics

Oct 17 2012

A terrific debate with little dishonesty


Clearly the president had a much better night than he did during the first debate, and he also had a much better night than did Mitt Romney. But more, and more importantly, the debate was just plain good. It was wide-ranging, featured legitimate differences in opinion, and not a lot of lying on either side …

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Oct 15 2012

Understanding polls (part 2)

Source: St. Louis Fed

In a previous installment, I showed the results of sampling a population to determine some fact: In that case, it was a hypothetical measurement of the number supporting Obama. By taking 50 "people" at random in the set and tabulating their responses, one gets a rough estimate of the actual proportion of the population who …

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Oct 12 2012

Biden bucks up the troops


Last week's Presidential candidate debate was an unequivocal rout for Barack Obama. The aftermath of tonight's Vice Presidential candidate debate makes that clear: partisans from both sides of the spectrum are claiming that they won. Last week, only one side was saying that. Obama's losses in the past week have been steady and disheartening, erasing …

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Oct 05 2012

Moderate Romney a genuine threat to Obama

Mitt Romney's campaign, in the days leading up to Wednesday, said that he was ready with a number of "zingers". This feint made it seem like "47%" hating, plutocrat Thurston Howell Romney was going to come out swinging and defend his campaign and his running mate's budget. He didn't. He changed the fundamental message of …

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Oct 05 2012

Understanding polls (part 1)

A hypothetical population distribution of voting totals.

Let's say that we want to know how many people are going to vote for Obama and how many for Romney. The population of all voting people has a certain distribution (a number who vote for one, another number who vote for the other). For the sake of argument let's say it looks like this: …

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