The Media Has A Probability Problem

… In recent elections, the media has often overestimated the precision of polling, cherry-picked data and portrayed elections as sure things when that conclusion very much wasn’t supported by polls or other empirical evidence. … Probably the most important problem with 2016 coverage was confirmation bias — coupled with what […] Read more »

Predicting 2016 State Presidential Election Results with a National Tracking Poll and MRP

Donald Trump’s widely unexpected victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has raised questions about the accuracy of public opinion polling, the aggregation of polling into probabilistic election forecasts and the interpretation of election polling by data analysts, journalists and the general public. While national-level polls on average proved as […] Read more »

Hans Rosling, Swedish Doctor and Pop-Star Statistician, Dies at 68

Hans Rosling, a Swedish doctor who transformed himself into a pop-star statistician by converting dry numbers into dynamic graphics that challenged preconceptions about global health and gloomy prospects for population growth, died on Tuesday in Uppsala, Sweden. … Even before “post-truth” entered the lexicon, Dr. Rosling was echoing former Senator […] Read more »

Overcoming ‘End-Point Bias’: Liberals, Fox News and Arctic Sea Ice Trends

“End-point bias” is a well-known psychological tendency to interpret a recent short-term fluctuation as a reversal of a long-term trend. When scientists reported a significant increase in the extent of Arctic sea ice in 2013, a FoxNews.com story evoked end-point bias by contrasting the historically low previous year with the […] Read more »

Some thoughts about the reports of supposed evidence of election irregularities in MI, PA, and WI

The Internet lit up on Monday over the news, reported in New York Magazine, that a team of computer scientists and lawyers had reported to the Clinton campaign that “they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.” … Many of my […] Read more »