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mental health ignites the electorate

Wednesday June 30, 2010

Filed under: Australian Politics — jackman @ 12:44 pm

From The Australian:

Abbott’s mental health strike

Matthew Franklin and Adam Cresswell

TONY Abbott has ignited the unofficial election campaign by targeting Labor’s policy weak point of mental health with a $1.5bn spending package.

“Ignited”! Uh-huh. Because nothing lights up the Australian swing voter like the issue of mental health…

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Atheist PM Julia Gillard

Tuesday June 29, 2010

Filed under: Australian Politics,politics — jackman @ 10:05 am

Julia Gillard unabashedly reveals her atheism.

We’ll see how that goes, but best not to try this in American politics.

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teaching notes, Intro Stat and Spatial Voting Models

Friday June 25, 2010

Filed under: general — jackman @ 1:44 pm

I taught an introductory stats and data analysis class with Bruce Western for a week at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. I created a web site for this class with our class notes etc.

I also just got done with 2 1/2 days of teaching on “Operationalizing the Spatial Voting Model” at EITM St Louis. I also created a web site for this class with slides, R code, etc.

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Centrebet post-Rudd

Wednesday June 23, 2010

Filed under: Australian Politics — jackman @ 5:20 pm

Centrebet was down during the leadership spill overnight. Just checked to see Labor back in to 1.38 to the Coalition’s 2.95. ALP win prob is .68

Nice winnings for people who got on the Gillard coup bet.

Update [3.50pm AEST]: the market continues to move, now 1.35/3.10.

My wife Janet Gibson reminds me that Rudd would still be PM if he’d gone to the polls late last year over the ETS when the Coalition was in disarray.

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Forget Rudd’s anger, try sleeplessness

Tuesday June 22, 2010

Filed under: Australian Politics — jackman @ 5:31 pm

Bob Ellis on sleep deprivation and politics. Not bad.

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polls but no analysis (Rudd, Greens, Gillard)

Sunday June 20, 2010

Filed under: Australian Politics — jackman @ 5:59 pm

Another Newspoll is out. 52-48 (ALP-Coalition), two-party preferred. Very little change from the last poll, save for Abbot’s preferred PM numbers.

I just heard an interview with Newspoll’s Martin O’Shannesy from the ABC’s AM. The interview featured some discussion of what we call the poll’s “toplines”, but after that there is a lot of speculation that struck me as crying out for a little more work…

Q: “How much is due to the way that people view Kevin Rudd versus their view of the government?”

A: “Thats pretty hard to untangle because all we see is both a fall off in optimism for the government, and a fall off for of course for Kevin Rudd at the same time… I think this is probably part of the government’s problem, that there has been such a presidential, lead-from-the-front sort of style from Mr Rudd which of course has tied the government’s ratings closely to his personal ratings.”

O’Shannesy’s caution notwithstanding, the next question was

Q: “So you would put it down to Kevin Rudd’s effect, on people…”

We could of course analyze the micro-data, to see if the probability of supporting Labor is more or closely tied to evaluations of the leaders now than in the past. But that requires access to the micro-data. And it wouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world to do, to explain this simple sort of an analysis in a radio interview etc.

Later on, a good question:

Q: “You’re assuming Green preferences flow mostly to Labor as they did at the last election, but considering the disenchantment of voters with both parties now, do you need to change that assumption?”

A: “I think those assumptions do tend to be in question at the moment, especially there are so many people voting Greens and others…”

Why not ask minor party voters where they might direct their 2nd preferences? Sure, some people answer this question with some whimsey, but surely it couldn’t hurt. It would be very helpful to compare survey-estimate rates of preference flows with what we actually see in actual elections, helping us to calibrate the survey-based estimates.

I do agree that when the Green vote gets up as high as we are seeing in recent polls, the idea that those preferences flow back to Labor at the overwhelming levels you see in House of Representatives elections starts to become questionable. Its just not something we have a lot of data on; I’ll try to dig some analysis of preference flows from previous elections — the idea is examine the extent to which Green-Labor preference flows vary as a function of Green 1st preference share (one hypothesis is that the further the Greens dig into Labor vote share, the more likely you’ll hit people who actually prefer the Coalition over Labor, but are nonetheless giving their 1st pref to the Greens). On the other hand, if you are leaving the ALP to give the Greens your 1st pref, you have to wonder how an Abbot-lead LP gets your 2nd pref.

And finally:

Q: “Do you think that if the [Labor] party were to change to Julia Gillard as leader … that that would change things for Labor?”

A: “I think thats like the $64,000 dollar question…”

Which led me to wonder “why didn’t you poll on it!” Maybe for $64,000 Newspoll would!

Which raises a serious point: even with the (relatively) deep pockets of News Ltd behind you, there is only so much political polling Newspoll can do. I wonder if these numbers come from 3 or 4 “political” items added to a commerical/market-research survey, or a general purpose “omnibus” survey for a collection of clients etc.? That is, perhaps its just not commerically viable for Newspoll to do, say, 15 mins of political content on n>1,000 person surveys every fortnight, with, say, split ballot randomizations for the Rudd/Gillard vs Abbot matchups etc (although one has to imagine that such a survey would attract a ton of eyeballs for The Australian).

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Annual Reviews of Political Science

Thursday June 17, 2010

Filed under: general — jackman @ 6:04 pm

I am an associate editor of Annual Reviews of Political Science, along with Nancy Rosenblum (Harvard) and (editor) Margaret Levi (University of Washington and United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney). We just heard from Sam Gubbins, publisher at Annual Reviews:

Dear Editorial Committee (present and recent),

On June 17, 2010 Thomson Reuters released the impact factor data for 2009. ARPS jumped to #3 of 112 journals in the POLITICAL SCIENCE category, with an impact factor of 3.756. This compares with #7 in 2008 and an impact factor of 1.846.

This is wonderful news. Congratulations.

Sam

P.S. #1 is Political Analysis; #2 is APSR.

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naturalization interview

Wednesday June 16, 2010

Filed under: general,politics — jackman @ 12:56 am

Went like a breeze. I might have spent more time in the security line getting into the building in downtown SF than actually in the interview itself.

I’m happy to report that I scored 6 out of 6 on the American civics/history quiz, which included questions like year of the Declaration of Independence, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, name one of the two longest rivers of the United States, what do we call the 1st ten amendments to the Constitution… They stop asking after 6 correct answers.

My oath ceremony could be as early as July 8. (“My oath…!”).

Of all my many dealings with INS/USCIS over the last 22 years, this was far and away the most efficient, painless, etc. I don’t know if this is because USCIS is just a smoother institution these days, or because naturalization is taken more seriously than, say, applications for non-immigrant visas or even permanent residence. Whatever. Smiling faces from helpful staff, uncrowded waiting rooms, efficient process; it isn’t the INS of old. Hooray.

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