# General election polls *are* predictive one year out

(Also, how to deal with leverage points when doing linear regression) If you closely follow FiveThirtyEight's politics coverage, like I do, there are some mantras you hear repeatedly. One of the most common is: general election polls are meaningless until the election starts getting close. See for instance A Year Out, Ignore General Election Polls; … Continue reading General election polls *are* predictive one year out

# Least squares regression isn’t arbitrary

In 11th grade I took my high school's statistics class. When we learned about linear regression I raised my hand and asked why we were minimizing the sum of the squares of the residuals rather than, say, the sum of the absolute values. If my memory serves right, my teacher said that minimizing the sum … Continue reading Least squares regression isn’t arbitrary

# Incentives in the election-charity platform

Note: this is a follow-up to an earlier post in which I describe a hypothetical platform for matching donors to opposing campaigns and sending their money to charity instead. Click here to read the post (this post likely won't make sense if you haven't read that one). In response to my post about a platform … Continue reading Incentives in the election-charity platform

# Provisional opposition

A couple weeks ago I saw this on Twitter: My immediate reaction was, "This sounds pretty dumb." After all, printing money doesn't generate new wealth. After a few seconds I revised my opinion to, "This is probably a terrible idea, but for reasons I don't understand." What I realized was that while printing money doesn't … Continue reading Provisional opposition

# Are we due for another recession? Probably.

Perhaps the most famous statistical fallacy is the gambler's fallacy. To quote Wikipedia, the gambler's fallacy is "the mistaken belief that if something happens more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future (or vice versa)." The canonical example of the fallacy is gamblers who reason that, since … Continue reading Are we due for another recession? Probably.

# Getting money out of politics… and into charity

(Edit: this post is now part of a two-part series. If the idea I describe below sounds interesting, see here for further analysis!) Across the political spectrum, Americans agree that there is too much money in politics. In a 2015 New York Times/CBS News poll, 84% of Americans said money has "too much" influence on … Continue reading Getting money out of politics… and into charity