Table of contents
  1. Story
  2. How Romney's ORCA was defeated by Obama's Narwhal & Dreamcatcher
    1. Comments (16)
  3. Election graphics show how Obama won
  4. Maps of the 2012 election results
    1. Election results by state
    2. Election results by county
    3. Notes
    4. Frequently asked questions
  5. Jim Messina: What I learned in the election
    1. 1. Public polls missed the mark
    2. 2. Hire smart people
    3. 3. Mass marketing is over
    4. 4. Spend early before the flood takes over
    5. 5. Door knocking is the voter contact of the future
    6. 6. Independents are not swing voters
    7. 7. Early voting is important
    8. 8. Message matters
    9. 9. Romney wasn’t the best GOP candidate
    10. 10. Obama for America has a future
  6. Story
  7. Spotfire Dashboard
  8. Research Notes
  9. Making sense out of Gallup and other presidential polls
    1. Story
    2. Recent Constitution Daily Stories
    3. Gallup Poll Mid-October Trends, 1976-2012 (Source: Gallup.com)
    4. EXPLORE RELATED CONTENT
      1. 1 Romney leading Obama in polls
      2. 2 Mitt Romney Must Be Seen as a Credible …
      3. 3 Romney’s post-debate surge historic, …
      4. 4 Poll: Romney Leads Obama By 7 Points …
      5. 5 Skip Royeton tapes a new Mitt Romney …
      6. 6 Gallup Has Romney Up by 7: Should Obama …
      7. 7 Obama, Romney fight on
      8. 8 Republican presidential candidate, former …
      9. 9 As other polls show tight race, Gallup …
      10. 10 Obama campaigns in Ohio
      11. 11 Mitt Romney's 'Binders Full of Women' …
      12. 12 Romney Takes 6-Point Lead in Gallup …
      13. 13 76,000 votes already cast in must-win …​
      14. 14 Republican presidential candidate, former …
      15. 15 Polls: How big a bounce did Mitt Romney …
      16. 16 CBS4 Investigates: Does Your Vote Count? …
      17. 17 Mitt Romney boards his campaign plane …
      18. 18 The New Gallup Numbers Are Out: Romney …
      19. 19 Bill Gross: Why Election Outcome Won't …
      20. 20 Republican presidential candidate, former …
  10. WASHINGTON STATISTICAL SOCIETY
    1. Tuesday, October 9, 2012
      1. Research Notes
      2. Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy
      3. Upcoming presentation
  11. Public Seminars
    1. Friday, October 19, 2012
  12. The Era of Big Data is Here: Case Studies
    1. Presentations
  13. News From CNSTAT
    1. September 28, 2012
      1. CONTACT INFORMATION for CNSTAT 
      2. Preface
      3. People News
      4. Events and Other News
      5. Report News
      6. CNSTAT Meetings
      7. Active Panels and Workshops
        1. Department of Agriculture
        2. Department of Commerce
        3. Department of Defense
        4. Department of Energy
        5. Department of Health and Human Services
        6. Department of Homeland Security
        7. Department of Justice
        8. Department of Labor
        9. Corporation for National and Community Service
        10. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
        11. Lumina Foundation for Education
        12. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
        13. National Endowment for the Arts and National Institutes of Health
        14. National Science Foundation
        15. Russell Sage Foundation
  14. NEXT

CNSTAT

Last modified
Table of contents
  1. Story
  2. How Romney's ORCA was defeated by Obama's Narwhal & Dreamcatcher
    1. Comments (16)
  3. Election graphics show how Obama won
  4. Maps of the 2012 election results
    1. Election results by state
    2. Election results by county
    3. Notes
    4. Frequently asked questions
  5. Jim Messina: What I learned in the election
    1. 1. Public polls missed the mark
    2. 2. Hire smart people
    3. 3. Mass marketing is over
    4. 4. Spend early before the flood takes over
    5. 5. Door knocking is the voter contact of the future
    6. 6. Independents are not swing voters
    7. 7. Early voting is important
    8. 8. Message matters
    9. 9. Romney wasn’t the best GOP candidate
    10. 10. Obama for America has a future
  6. Story
  7. Spotfire Dashboard
  8. Research Notes
  9. Making sense out of Gallup and other presidential polls
    1. Story
    2. Recent Constitution Daily Stories
    3. Gallup Poll Mid-October Trends, 1976-2012 (Source: Gallup.com)
    4. EXPLORE RELATED CONTENT
      1. 1 Romney leading Obama in polls
      2. 2 Mitt Romney Must Be Seen as a Credible …
      3. 3 Romney’s post-debate surge historic, …
      4. 4 Poll: Romney Leads Obama By 7 Points …
      5. 5 Skip Royeton tapes a new Mitt Romney …
      6. 6 Gallup Has Romney Up by 7: Should Obama …
      7. 7 Obama, Romney fight on
      8. 8 Republican presidential candidate, former …
      9. 9 As other polls show tight race, Gallup …
      10. 10 Obama campaigns in Ohio
      11. 11 Mitt Romney's 'Binders Full of Women' …
      12. 12 Romney Takes 6-Point Lead in Gallup …
      13. 13 76,000 votes already cast in must-win …​
      14. 14 Republican presidential candidate, former …
      15. 15 Polls: How big a bounce did Mitt Romney …
      16. 16 CBS4 Investigates: Does Your Vote Count? …
      17. 17 Mitt Romney boards his campaign plane …
      18. 18 The New Gallup Numbers Are Out: Romney …
      19. 19 Bill Gross: Why Election Outcome Won't …
      20. 20 Republican presidential candidate, former …
  10. WASHINGTON STATISTICAL SOCIETY
    1. Tuesday, October 9, 2012
      1. Research Notes
      2. Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy
      3. Upcoming presentation
  11. Public Seminars
    1. Friday, October 19, 2012
  12. The Era of Big Data is Here: Case Studies
    1. Presentations
  13. News From CNSTAT
    1. September 28, 2012
      1. CONTACT INFORMATION for CNSTAT 
      2. Preface
      3. People News
      4. Events and Other News
      5. Report News
      6. CNSTAT Meetings
      7. Active Panels and Workshops
        1. Department of Agriculture
        2. Department of Commerce
        3. Department of Defense
        4. Department of Energy
        5. Department of Health and Human Services
        6. Department of Homeland Security
        7. Department of Justice
        8. Department of Labor
        9. Corporation for National and Community Service
        10. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
        11. Lumina Foundation for Education
        12. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
        13. National Endowment for the Arts and National Institutes of Health
        14. National Science Foundation
        15. Russell Sage Foundation
  14. NEXT
  1. Story
  2. How Romney's ORCA was defeated by Obama's Narwhal & Dreamcatcher
    1. Comments (16)
  3. Election graphics show how Obama won
  4. Maps of the 2012 election results
    1. Election results by state
    2. Election results by county
    3. Notes
    4. Frequently asked questions
  5. Jim Messina: What I learned in the election
    1. 1. Public polls missed the mark
    2. 2. Hire smart people
    3. 3. Mass marketing is over
    4. 4. Spend early before the flood takes over
    5. 5. Door knocking is the voter contact of the future
    6. 6. Independents are not swing voters
    7. 7. Early voting is important
    8. 8. Message matters
    9. 9. Romney wasn’t the best GOP candidate
    10. 10. Obama for America has a future
  6. Story
  7. Spotfire Dashboard
  8. Research Notes
  9. Making sense out of Gallup and other presidential polls
    1. Story
    2. Recent Constitution Daily Stories
    3. Gallup Poll Mid-October Trends, 1976-2012 (Source: Gallup.com)
    4. EXPLORE RELATED CONTENT
      1. 1 Romney leading Obama in polls
      2. 2 Mitt Romney Must Be Seen as a Credible …
      3. 3 Romney’s post-debate surge historic, …
      4. 4 Poll: Romney Leads Obama By 7 Points …
      5. 5 Skip Royeton tapes a new Mitt Romney …
      6. 6 Gallup Has Romney Up by 7: Should Obama …
      7. 7 Obama, Romney fight on
      8. 8 Republican presidential candidate, former …
      9. 9 As other polls show tight race, Gallup …
      10. 10 Obama campaigns in Ohio
      11. 11 Mitt Romney's 'Binders Full of Women' …
      12. 12 Romney Takes 6-Point Lead in Gallup …
      13. 13 76,000 votes already cast in must-win …​
      14. 14 Republican presidential candidate, former …
      15. 15 Polls: How big a bounce did Mitt Romney …
      16. 16 CBS4 Investigates: Does Your Vote Count? …
      17. 17 Mitt Romney boards his campaign plane …
      18. 18 The New Gallup Numbers Are Out: Romney …
      19. 19 Bill Gross: Why Election Outcome Won't …
      20. 20 Republican presidential candidate, former …
  10. WASHINGTON STATISTICAL SOCIETY
    1. Tuesday, October 9, 2012
      1. Research Notes
      2. Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy
      3. Upcoming presentation
  11. Public Seminars
    1. Friday, October 19, 2012
  12. The Era of Big Data is Here: Case Studies
    1. Presentations
  13. News From CNSTAT
    1. September 28, 2012
      1. CONTACT INFORMATION for CNSTAT 
      2. Preface
      3. People News
      4. Events and Other News
      5. Report News
      6. CNSTAT Meetings
      7. Active Panels and Workshops
        1. Department of Agriculture
        2. Department of Commerce
        3. Department of Defense
        4. Department of Energy
        5. Department of Health and Human Services
        6. Department of Homeland Security
        7. Department of Justice
        8. Department of Labor
        9. Corporation for National and Community Service
        10. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
        11. Lumina Foundation for Education
        12. National Aeronautics and Space Administration
        13. National Endowment for the Arts and National Institutes of Health
        14. National Science Foundation
        15. Russell Sage Foundation
  14. NEXT
 

Story

What's on My Dashboard Today?: Election Graphic Does Not Really Show or Tell How Obama Won

Election2012TreeMap-Spotfire.jpg

 
The headline and crazy-looking maps said: "The presidential election is over, and now there are some cool tools to show just how Barack Obama won re-election. One that's getting plenty of attention on the Web is a new take on a familiar imagemaps. The series of graphics show the election results illustrated by population, not geography." And the prestigious New Your Times had their graphics and more graphics explaining the outcome of the election.

Then I heard the real story from someone who lea the data science team that worked for the Romney Campaign that said it it was out done by the data science team for the Obama Campaign by its size and funding. I did some research and sure enough, Jim Messina who led the Obama Campaign said so in What I learned in the election , quoting from that interview:

Messina got a piece of advice from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt: Hire smart people. And not necessarily political types. “You want smart people, who you are going to draw what you want and they’re going to build it. Messina said Schmidt, who served as a campaign adviser, told him.

So Messina set out to lure data-savvy campaign workers like chief technology officer Harper Reed, who had never worked on a campaign before. As a result, the 60-member tech team was able to build new tools such as Narwhal, which let it unify all kinds of information about voters and volunteers. “It would start with hiring really smart people regardless of their age, [giving] them a budget and support and hold them accountable to deadline and they will build you some really great things,” Messina said of the book he would write about running a technology-driven campaign.

The data crew crunched numbers, including running thousands of statistical models to track polling information, door-knocking, spending and advertising. “Analytics was a department in the campaign that used data across the campaign to make everyone’s job easier,” Messina said. The technology team was able to build “Dashboard,” a program that allowed the campaign to track a number of metrics. And it put all of the data at Messina’s fingertips. The tech folks also used data points to model the most effective fundraising appeals. To convert those into cash, two fundraising appeals were sent: one using traditional direct mail requests and another with a tailored data request. The data-driven fundraising appeal outperformed the other by 14 percent, a remarkable difference when every dollar in the campaign matters. The biggest undertaking was a system that would allow people to identify their Facebook friends who were potential swing voters and personally encourage them to go to the polls or volunteer. 

The first response was that such an undertaking would be expensive, Messina said. “I complained about how expensive it was and then we went and built it,” he said.

So i decided to simplify the election results in different graphics called Summary, Scatterplot, and Treemap, in a dashboard shown above in static form and elsewhere in dynamic form.

The Summary results show that the total vote count was within 3% which is usually considered to be the margin of error in polling results. It also shows that the US won with more than 50% of the voting age population voting!

 

Candidate Votes Percent
Romney 59,134,475 48.6
Obama 62,611,250 51.4
Total 121,745,725 100
2010 Voting Age Population 234,564,000 51.9

The Scatterplot shows the positive relationship between Electoral Votes by Candidate and Population Density for both candidates except for the District of Columbia anamoly.

The Treemap shows the interplay of the Electoral Votes, Population Density by State, and by Winning Candidate (27 Blue-Obama and 24 Red-Republican) so the different shape and sizes of the US states do not confuse the viewer like the crazy-looking maps mentioned earlier.

So the lessons are that Candidate Obama won States with High, Medium, and Low Population Densities, while Candidate Romney won states with just low population densities. This was done with high tech data integration and data mining techniques that changed the ways in which campaigns are fought and won. See How Romney's ORCA was defeated by Obama's Narwhal & Dreamcatcher.

How Romney's ORCA was defeated by Obama's Narwhal & Dreamcatcher

Source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/1...l-Dreamcatcher

by healthy

Cross-posted at Immizen.com as a more in depth, history/technology-focused expansion of two previous DK diaries, one by peggy and one by chicago DEM

Reported as early as Feb, 2012 in a Slate article titled “Obama’s White Whale”project Narwhal, Obama’s top-secret campaign project until then, featuring high tech data integration and data mining techniques, promised to change the ways in which campaigns are fought and won.  

It started off as part of the 2008 campaign, when early on, during the first initial steps of the campaign in 2007, each Obama campaign department started creating their own data repositories for the election and voter data they collected. They realized, albeit too late for the 2008 elections, that they were collecting unprecedented volumes of political information, but had no way to study the data together to yield the maximum benefit, which in this case meant, targeting voters in the most effective way and getting them to cast their vote. In 2008:

   Even as the outside world marveled at their technical prowess, Obama campaign staffers were exasperated at what seemed like a basic system failure: They had records on 170 million potential voters, 13 million online supporters, 3 million campaign donors and at least as many volunteers—but no way of knowing who among them were the same people.
So what changed between 2008 and 2012? The implementation of two new projects: Narwahl and DreamcatcherProject Narwahl relied on a real time full data integration technology that allowed the campaign to target voters in ways previously only imagined. As the Slate article reported in Feb, 2012:
   Permanently linking the campaign’s various databases in real time has become one of the major projects for Obama’s team this year. Full data integration would allow the campaign to target its online communication as sharply as it does its offline voter contact. When it comes to sensitive subjects like contraception, the campaign could rely on its extensive predictive models of individual attitudes and preferences to find friendly recipients… that might mean pulling email addresses only for those who had identified themselves as women on their registration forms and whose voter records included a flag marking them as likely pro-abortion rights.

 

The project also helped target undecided voters, as reported in the Applied Data Labs blog:

   The project also helps logistically; last time around when volunteers canvassed neighborhoods they simply went door to door. Now armed with detailed maps about neighborhood residents, canvassers can skip the hardcore supporters on each side and get right to those illusive undecided voters.
As for project Dreamcatcher, the Obama campaign was particularly secretive about this one. From the tids and bits we hear about it, the project seemed to be grounded in Association Rule learning, an algorithm that is also used by popular online stores such as amazon.comto make recommendations to their customers :
   Hopes and dreams, and fears and frustrations, these are the marketers goldmine. They are the difference between telling you why you should buy something and making you feel that you need to buy it. You see it in the change from a laundry list of features to making a product sexy. This change in marketing is the goal of “Project Dreamcatcher”.
The article by the Applied Data Labs blog finishes with these words:
   Although this article focuses on Obama’s Campaign, you need to realize the Romney camp is trying to do the same thing. The data mining of politics and personalization of political messages is just part of the larger trend in todays society.
Unfortunately for Romney, as we learned just a few days ago, his attempt at anything similar to Narwhal and  Dreamcatcher, project ORCA, was a COMPLETE FAILURE.

Aren’t we happy we did not get THAT president?

If you want to read and commiserate with Romney for such a failed attempt at reproducing or beating Obama’s system, please read the blog entry by John Ekdahl, a web developer and blogger who signed up to be a Project ORCA volunteer, basically a Republican Romney supporter, and the story by another Romney ORCA volunteer, Fat Dave, who called his experience:

    “A failure and an embarrassment. And I sensed it the night before the election, when I called the 800 number for our final conference call and got a busy signal.”
In the blog entry by Ekdahl, comment #567 by a GOP official is an especially devastating account of the failures of Romney's project ORCA:
   The Congressional campaign tried using this list to get voluteers and GOTV, but got many hangups and "why are you calling me, I'm a democrat!" I begged RPV for the usual list of registered voters sorted by precinct, but was told all of that was coming from Romney. It never did.

ORCA is a telling election-day failure for Romney that points to his managerial incompetence.There is no point in discussing the technologies of a failed system, we will therefore not indulge in trying to understand the technology behind Romney’s system, but you are free to read more about it in this ABC article if only to feel pity for the guy or feel relieved that he did not get elected.

 

Comments (16)

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

     

    In the 2008 elections there were 15 million less people who identified themselves as "liberals" than as "conservatives" (L/C ratio: 65%). Face it, this country is center-right. Moving it to the left is up to us!

    by healthy on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:38:25 PM PST

     

  • Interesting. I just read the article on the (11+ / 0-)

    Ace of Spades website.

    Romney would still have lost if Orca had worked.  But this probably cost him half a million votes.

    And he was supposedly the one who could operate with businesslike efficiency!

  •  But,but,but they had a much better ground game... (8+ / 0-)

    "The opposite of poverty is not wealth. … In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.” -Bryan Stevenson

    by Bongobanger on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:50:25 PM PST

     

  • PHB Disease (10+ / 0-)

    Orca seems to have suffered from PHB disease.  From what I've gleaned from various articles it would appear that the Romney campaign outsourced the development of the system under extremely short deadlines and didn't really get their volunteers trained properly.  Nor was there any real data quality controls.

    I do corporate IT for a living and this has all the hallmarks of "modern" outsourced IT which separates the developers from the systems operations.  I don't have much insight into the Obama campaign's IT but my impression is that it's much more based around a DevOps model where the developers are intimately involved in the operations.  

    The other thing that really sticks out to me is that the Obama campaign uses IT to facilitate and empower their volunteers' work.  The data is important but the work of the volunteers trumps the technology.  I have no doubt that in the event of system failure in the Obama campaign the GOTV effort would have been almost as successful.

    And their data wasn't perfect.  A couple of days before the election I got an email asking for a last minute contribution saying I hadn't contributed even though I had through Act Blue.  

    •  That's not a bug, that's a feature!!! (5+ / 0-)

      ...you really thought they were going to stop asking for money?

      The way to respond to the outrageous is with outrage; the way to respond to the ridiculous is with ridicule.

      by Dan E in Blue Hampshire on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:23:30 PM PST

      Parent ]

      •  Agree with BostonGrant (0+ / 0-)

        I got many emails from various Dem campaign groups that, "We just checked our records, and it shows your last contribution was [sometime months ago]," when I was contributing monthly to DCCC, DSCC, and OfA. Perhaps these emails were from some particular "Victory Fund" or some such, and not the umbrella organization or Act Blue, but I generally trashed them.

        More effective for me were emails under the name of a particular person in the campaign whom I respect.

    •  This tells us that (5+ / 0-)

      Just about everything would be Romney's Katrina, under a Romney administration.

      He relied on bad intelligence regarding the sequence of events in Benghazi. He relied on bad internal polling. He relied on bad exit polling.

      If he was not fit to invest in proven, tested, excellent intelligence gathering for his campaign, why should we conclude that he would move heaven and earth to ensure he had a White House with excellent intelligence gathering about unemployment, healthcare and foreign policy?

      The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

      by FiredUpInCA on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:37:45 PM PST

      Parent ]

    •  PHB? (1+ / 0-)

      Is that Pointy-Haired Boss? Player's Handbook? Per-Hop Behavior? Prohibitin? Public Health Bulletin? Or what?

      Join the 48ForEastAfrica Blogathon for the famine in east Africa: Donate to Oxfam America

      by JayC on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:10:13 PM PST

      Parent ]

  •  Word around was that the GOPers (4+ / 0-)

    went with a ground-up build using the AGILE system.

    No proof-of-concept test system.

    Then minimal separation of unit testing from volume testing.

    No Quality Control, No Quality !

    Betcha they paid a pretty penny for this trash.

  •  That explains it (7+ / 0-)

    Now armed with detailed maps about neighborhood residents, canvassers can skip the hardcore supporters on each side and get right to those illusive undecided voters.
    I did a lot of canvassing and wondered why there were so many undecided voters.
  •  I like Narwhals. They're awesome creatures. When (4+ / 0-)

    you win the under 30s two thirds of the vote, you own the future. The next four years should be for making bold moves into the future. SpaceX grasshopper, Microsoft's translator, Tesla's full electric, Apple's next new things etc... give me hope about the next four years.

 

Election graphics show how Obama won

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/e...-election.html

 
 

The presidential election is over, and now there are some cool tools to show just how Barack Obama won re-election.

One that's getting plenty of attention on the Web is a new take on a familiar imagemaps.

The series of graphics show the election results illustrated by population, not geography.

Republicans were surprised by the win. Many had assumedwronglythat young people wouldn't come out as much as they did in 2008. The New York Times graph shows that not only did Obama nab young voters, but also that the numbers of young voters who voted for Obama actually increased from 2008.

While white male voters supported the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, Obama held his support with women, increased his support with Hispanic voters, and improved young voter turnout where it mattered: in the swing states.

For serious political junkies, another graphic from the New York Times shows lots of fun facts about how voter groups since 1972 have swayed election results.

For example, Romney got the "dad" vote, while Obama secured support from voters under 30.

Maps of the 2012 election results

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/photos/2012-el...aps-slideshow/

Mark Newman of the Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan created a series of maps like you've never seen before, to better explain the election 2012 results across the country.

Source: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2012/

Election results by state

Most of us are, by now, familiar with the maps the TV channels and web sites use to show the results of presidential elections. Here is a typical map of the results of the 2012 election:

 


Click on any of the maps for a larger picture

 

The states are colored red or blue to indicate whether a majority of their voters voted for the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, or the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, respectively. Looking at this map it gives the impression that the Republican won the election handily, since there is rather more red on the map than there is blue. In fact, however, the reverse is true – it was the Democrats who won the election. The explanation for this apparent paradox, as pointed out by many people, is that the map fails to take account of the population distribution. It fails to allow for the fact that the population of the red states is on average significantly lower than that of the blue ones. The blue may be small in area, but they represent a large number of voters, which is what matters in an election.

We can correct for this by making use of a cartogram, a map in which the sizes of states are rescaled according to their population. That is, states are drawn with size proportional not to their acreage but to the number of their inhabitants, states with more people appearing larger than states with fewer, regardless of their actual area on the ground. On such a map, for example, the state of Rhode Island, with its 1.1 million inhabitants, would appear about twice the size of Wyoming, which has half a million, even though Wyoming has 60 times the acreage of Rhode Island.

Here are the 2012 presidential election results on a population cartogram of this type:

 

 

As you can see, the states have been stretched and squashed, some of them substantially, to give them the appropriate sizes, though it's done in such a way as to preserve the general appearance of the map, so far as that's possible. On this map there is now clearly more blue than red.

The presidential election, however, is not actually decided on the basis of the number of people who vote for each candidate but on the basis of the electoral college. Under the US electoral system, each state in the union contributes a certain number of electors to the electoral college, who vote according to the majority in their state. (Exceptions are the states of Maine and Nebraska, which use a different formula that allows them to split their electoral votes between candidates.) The candidate receiving a majority of the votes in the electoral college wins the election. The electors are apportioned among the states roughly according to population, as measured by the census, but with a small but deliberate bias in favor of less populous states.

We can represent the effects of the electoral college by scaling the sizes of states to be proportional to their number of electoral votes, which gives a map that looks like this:

 

 

This cartogram looks similar to the one above it, but it's not identical. Wyoming, for instance, has approximately doubled in size, precisely because of the bias in favor of small states.

The areas of red and blue on the cartogram are now proportional to the actual numbers of electoral votes won by each candidate. Thus this map shows at a glance both which states went to which candidate and which candidate won more electoral college votes – something that you cannot tell easily from the normal election-night red and blue map.

Election results by county

But we can go further. We can do the same thing also with the county-level election results and the images are even more striking. Here is a map of US counties, again colored red and blue to indicate Republican and Democratic majorities respectively:

 

 

Now the effects we saw at the state level are even more pronounced: the red areas appear overwhelmingly in the majority, an appearance again at odds with the actual results of the election. Again, we can make a more helpful respresentation by using a cartogram. Here is what the cartogram looks like for the county-level election returns:

 

 

However, this map is still somewhat misleading because we have colored every county either red or blue, as if every voter voted the same way. This is of course not realistic: all counties contain both Republican and Democratic supporters and in using just the two colors on our map we lose any information about the balance between them. There is no way to tell whether a particular county went strongly for one candidate or the other or whether it was relatively evenly split.

One way to improve the map and reveal more nuance in the vote is to use not just two colors, red and blue, but to use red, blue, and shades of purple in between to indicate percentages of votes. Here is what the normal map looks like if you do this:

 

 

And here's what the cartogram looks like:

 

 

As this map makes clear, large portions of the country are quite evenly divided, appearing in various shades of purple, although a number of strongly Democratic (blue) areas are visible too, mostly in the larger cities. There are also some strongly Republican areas, but most of them have relatively small populations and hence appear quite small on this map.

A slight variation on the same idea is to use a nonlinear color scale like this:

 

           

 

These maps use a color scale that ranges from red for 70% Republican or more, to blue for 70% Democrat or more. This is sort of practical, since there aren't many counties outside that range anyway, but to some extent it also obscures the true balance of red and blue.


Notes

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): A list of frequently asked questions concerning these maps, along with answers, can be found here.

County results: The county-level data I used came from here. They are, as far as I know, up-to-date as of November 8, 2012, but a small number of precincts still had not reported by that date, so a few results are missing.

Thanks: Thanks to Robert Vanderbei for help with obtaining the county-level data. Professor Vanderbei also suggested the purple maps, and has made a terrific series of maps of his own, which you can find here.

Software: My computer software for producing cartograms is freely available here.


© 2012 M. E. J. Newman

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Text and images may be freely distributed. I'd appreciate hearing from you if you make use of them.

The views expressed are personal and are not necessarily shared by the University of Michigan.

Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan

Email: mejn@umich.edu
Updated: November 8, 2012

Frequently asked questions

Source: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/.../2012/faq.html

  1. Can you make a map with such-and-such a color scheme? I'm kind of busy at the moment, so I'm probably not going to be making a lot more maps. However, you can easily make maps with other color schemes yourself. It's easy to take the purple maps, separate out the blue and red channels, and then remap them any way you like. This is just a couple of clicks in Photoshop. (In fact, I used the excellent free Photoshop clone Gimp for my image manipulation, which does the job very well. You can download it from here.)

     

  2. Can you make a map showing such-and-such data? Many people have asked for maps showing number of people who voted, number of registered voters, differences between the candidates' votes, and all sorts of other things. Once again, I'm probably not going to be doing this soon, but I certainly encourage others to make such maps. My software for creating cartograms is freely available for download here.

     

  3. Do you have maps for previous elections? Yes. There are maps for the 2004 and 2008 elections. None before that – sorry.

     

  4. Where are Alaska and Hawaii? Not on the maps. I know. Sorry. There are some technical problems with non-contiguous cartograms that make it difficult to produce nice maps.

     

  5. The shapes of the cartograms look different from those for previous elections. What's up with that? It's true the shapes are a bit different. The reason is that I've made some improvements to the computer algorithm in the last couple of years. The old algorithm tended to create a "bloated" look when coastal regions had large populations, as in Florida – they would expand like balloons and become bulbous. In the new version of the algorithm such regions retain their overall shape better and there is less bloating. Compare Florida in the 2004 and 2012maps to see what I mean.

     

  6. Can I use your figures in my magazine, newspaper, mailing list, web page, t-shirt, tapestry, interpretive dance, etc? Absolutely. The maps and the accompanying text are released under a Creative Commons License that allows for their free distribution and use in derivative works. I would appreciate hearing from you if you wish to make use of them, but it is not required under the terms of the license.

     

  7. How exactly do you make these maps? So you want the technical stuff, huh? OK, well, let's see. The cartograms were made using the diffusion method of Gastner and Newman (of which I'm one of the inventors). The population data and geographic boundaries were taken from the US Census.

    The calculation of the cartograms involves allowing the population to diffuse in the two-dimensional space of the map, carrying the boundaries of the states or counties with it, until it reaches a uniform equilibrium. The diffusion equation is integrated in Fourier space, where it takes a particularly simple form: the initial density function is evaluated on a 4608x3072 lattice, transformed using a two-dimensional fast Fourier transform, convolved with a Gaussian kernel, and then back-transformed to give the diffusion field at an arbitrary later time. I used closed (Neumann) boundary conditions at the edges of the map, meaning that the Fourier transform in this case is a discrete cosine transform.

    The diffusion field is then used to calculate the diffusion velocity as a function of position and the velocity integrated over time to give the displacement of the map features. The integration is performed using a fourth-order Runge-Kutta integrator with an adaptive step size and local extrapolation. The entire calculation took about ten minutes for each map on a standard desktop computer running the Fedora Linux operating system. The basic images were created using a specially written rendering program and some artistic refinements were added using Gimp, a free image manipulation program.

     

  8. Have these maps been getting press coverage? The maps I and two colleagues made for the 2004 election received wide attention, and were used as part of the 2008 election night coverage on ABC and on the BBC in Britain. They also appeared in the Washington Post, on CNN Headline News, in The Guardian, and on Salon.com among other places. This year's maps are pretty new, but have started getting picked up by some outlets. You are welcome to use any of the maps in your publication or broadcast as well; see above for the licensing details.

 

Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan
Updated: November 8, 2012

Jim Messina: What I learned in the election

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/84103.html#ixzz2D3QEYAuA

Source: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.c...0-426732E8B669

 

Jim Messina: What I learned in the election
By: Ginger Gibson
November 20, 2012 03:09 PM EST

Jim Messina, fresh off running the victorious Obama reelection campaign, oversaw the most technology-heavy campaign in history. But he insists it wasn’t just number-crunching that led to victory.

It was the convergence of 21st-century data and old-fashioned on-the-ground door-knocking that left Messina confident before Election Day that Barack Obama would be victorious over Mitt Romney.

“It’s about the candidate. It’s about the message. It’s about where they’re going to lead this country with a vision,” Messina said at POLITICO’s Playbook Breakfast on Tuesday in his first on-camera interview since the election. “Because that’s why millions of Americans went online and signed up for Obama for America. It wasn’t because they got a sexy T-shirt…It wasn’t because of the great bumper sticker. It was because they deeply believed in Barack Obama.”

Here are 10 things about campaigning Messina learned along the way:

1. Public polls missed the mark

Public polls took a beating from Republicans this year, most of whom insisted they were inflating Obama’s numbers to discourage GOP voters.

(VIDEO: Messina: Cell phones fouled polling)

But in the end, many of the public polls showed a very tight race nationally, although some of public surveys did show Romney leading in the final weeks of the campaign.

And Messina isn’t letting the pollsters off easy.

“Most of the public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous,” Messina said. “A bunch of polling is broken in the country.”

With the data-heavy operation, Messina said the campaign could consistently see where the public polls were going wrong. The campaign calculated the early vote split within 1 percentage point and the Florida results with .2 percentage points, Messina said.

He pointed most squarely to the lack of cellphone users included in most public polls.

Federal regulations prohibited using an automated dialer to contact cellphone users for polling. Instead, a live person must dial and talk to the potential voter being polled and that makes conducting polls with cellphone users more expensive.

As a result, many public polls leave cellphone users out of their samples.

Messina said the growing popularity of cellphones as the only point of contact for young voters and minorities left key constituencies for Obama out of the polls and skewed the numbers for Romney in some samples.

“Cellphone usage has changed the industry,” Messina said.

Messina suggested that pollsters should look to actual state-generated voter registration rolls to identify voters and contact them instead of using their own samples.

“That’s why some polls looked so difficult for the president, because they were under-polling the electorate for the president,” Messina said.

2. Hire smart people

Messina got a piece of advice from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt: Hire smart people. And not necessarily political types.

“You want smart people, who you are going to draw what you want and they’re going to build it. Messina said Schmidt, who served as a campaign adviser, told him.

So Messina set out to lure data-savvy campaign workers like chief technology officer Harper Reed, who had never worked on a campaign before. As a result, the 60-member tech team was able to build new tools such as Narwhal, which let it unify all kinds of information about voters and volunteers.

“It would start with hiring really smart people regardless of their age, [giving] them a budget and support and hold them accountable to deadline and they will build you some really great things,” Messina said of the book he would write about running a technology-driven campaign.

 

The data crew crunched numbers, including running thousands of statistical models to track polling information, door-knocking, spending and advertising.

“Analytics was a department in the campaign that used data across the campaign to make everyone’s job easier,” Messina said.

The technology team was able to build “Dashboard,” a program that allowed the campaign to track a number of metrics. And it put all of the data at Messina’s fingertips.

The tech folks also used data points to model the most effective fundraising appeals. To convert those into cash, two fundraising appeals were sent: one using traditional direct mail requests and another with a tailored data request.

The data-driven fundraising appeal outperformed the other by 14 percent, a remarkable difference when every dollar in the campaign matters.

The biggest undertaking was a system that would allow people to identify their Facebook friends who were potential swing voters and personally encourage them to go to the polls or volunteer.

The first response was that such an undertaking would be expensive, Messina said.

“I complained about how expensive it was and then we went and built it,” he said.

3. Mass marketing is over

The Obama campaign reduced some of the mass marketing of candidates that was a hallmark of previous campaigns, Messina said.

A decade ago, the average voter got most of their information from the evening news, Messina said. Now, the average voter gets their news from 15 different sources, he said.

Like the individually targeted fundraising appeals, the Dashboard system also allowed them to generate tailored voter appeals.

The campaign shifted some of its resources to online advertising, an arena that provided more targets and a wealth of specific users.

“Television is still the dominant media, but I think online will catch up very quickly,” Messina said. “I think it already is for young voters out there. The next presidential, whoever has my job the next time, is going to have to decide what percentage you spend online.”

The shift to online was even more dramatic between 2008 and 2012, Messina said. On Election Day in 2008, the Obama campaign sent out one tweet on the social networking site Twitter.

In 2012, the campaign not only had a Twitter team but also had a Facebook and Tumblr, as well as additional online social media presence.

And the online engagement paid off: The campaign raised $700 million online this year, $200 million more than the previous election.

4. Spend early before the flood takes over

One of the biggest missteps Republicans have pointed to in Romney’s campaign was the flood of attack ads during the summer months that eviscerated the GOP nominee’s business record and went unanswered.

Messina said the Obama campaign made the calculated decision to spend early, even if that meant being outspent at the end of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign frequently insisted that voters weren’t paying attention and that they would spend where it counted — that is, more heavily at the end.

But Messina points out the flood of advertisements, fueled by heavy spending from Democratic-aligned super PACs, allowed Democrats to define Romney before he could define himself. The negative images stuck.

“We believed that late TV didn’t matter as much as early TV and it turns out we were right,” Messina said.

Messina gave credit to Romney’s campaign for a fundraising operation that raised more big-dollar checks, but cautioned that also meant most of the Republican’s money was tied up with the national party. And Romney relied more on his the super PACs than Obama did, Messina said.

“It was a crutch for them,” Messina said.

5. Door knocking is the voter contact of the future

Despite all the gee-whiz gadgets drawing media buzz, Messina insisted that the most important element of any campaign is old-fashioned door-knocking.

“There is a magical place that you can reach every voter: the door,” Messina said.

The campaign found that it was important to engage supporters, even those who weren’t likely to support Romney, to keep the base involved in the conversation. It launched a barbershop and beauty shop engagement effort in important places like Ohio, where African-American turnout was up 4 points from 2008 and held the key to victory.

“Too many Democrats just put Barack Obama’s picture on a piece of paper,” Messina said. “You must have an ongoing conversation about why they should support the president, why they should get out and vote.”

The campaign found that the best way to contact voters wasn’t through out-of-state workers but via local residents who know their neighbors, individual issues and how they historically vote.

Messina told a story about a friend in Wisconsin who used Dashboard to target just two voters in his neighborhood, one to chase after a stray absentee ballot and another that provided specific talking points.

He explained his friend was able to help get the absentee ballot in the mail, and after using the specific talking points walked away feeling encouraged he had won another voter over.

That was possible because of the size of Obama’s grass-roots operation, Messina said.

“This has to be about the grass roots, we have to go back and run a campaign about the grassroots,” Messina said Obama told him. “We built the biggest grass-roots campaign… We built the kind of campaign that made people want to volunteer.”

6. Independents are not swing voters

The old adage is that independents truly swing between the parties. And that if they haven’t made their mind up by Election Day, they’ll be more likely to go to the challenger.

But Messina insists those days are over.

The campaign went through and individually scored every voter in swing states based on their voting history, past support and likelihood to support Obama again, Messina said. Much of the data used for scoring was based on door-knocking (“How fast did they slam the door?”) and phone calls by the campaign, he added.

“We ended up being able to build support scores for every voter in battleground states from 1 to 100,” Messina said.

Instead, Messina argued that the new swing voter is truly a moderate. And many of the unaffiliated independents are former Republicans who left the party unhappy with the tea party takeover.

Because of that, Messina said part of the Republican post-election soul-searching will involve looking at those groups, like Hispanics, that the GOP lost.

“The future demographics in this country are changing in a way that’s going to make their current electoral math difficult for them if they don’t,” Messina said of the Republicans.

7. Early voting is important

Messina knew Obama was going to win a few days before Election Day.

Early voting totals confirmed Obama was the favorite, and pre-Election Day ballots are going to be increasingly crucial as more states adopt them, Messina said.

First, the campaign set out to register thousands of new voters, Messina said. Then it set out to have historic early voting turnout.

“We ran a huge field campaign on the ground to do this,” he said. “We could see our electorate early voting at the rates needed. We started to say if that’s true, we’re going to be OK.”

8. Message matters

Through all of the lauding of Obama’s precision voter micro-targeting and reams of data, Messina insisted that none of that would have mattered without a compelling message and messenger.

“The messenger matters, and we had a better messenger,” Messina said.

And for each voter who used the Dashboard system or encouraged their friends to vote through Facebook, it was because they supported Obama, not some data program.

“You can build a whole suite of analytics… but it all comes back to the campaign, it all comes back to having a message that matters,” Messina said.

Even with the most sophisticated voter outreach programs in the world that can identify that one voter who might be sympathetic to Obama in one town in Ohio, it wouldn’t matter if the campaign couldn’t reach them.

“What campaigns are evolving to is the campaigns of the past, door-knocking is going to be more important than ever,” Messina argued.

That fact makes figuring out how to most effectively use data in the future more complicated, Messina said. He said that it doesn’t make sense to just sell a campaign’s data to the next candidate — or the party — because that candidate wouldn’t have the same connection to voters, rendering the date potentially useless.

The Obama campaign tried to transfer their organization to congressional candidates in the 2010 midterm races but found that it didn’t work.

“We learned this to our surprise in 2010, you can’t just hand it to the next candidate, they have to their own connection,” Messina said. “I don’t think the president is in the business of selling things.”

9. Romney wasn’t the best GOP candidate

Messina cited a number of problems with the Romney campaign, most importantly with the candidate himself.

Asked who he thought would have been the strongest general election foe against Obama, Messina answered: “I think we were honest about our concerns about Huntsman, and I think Jon Huntsman would have been a top-tier election candidate.”

Huntsman served Obama as U.S. ambassador to China and briefly ran for the GOP nod before dropping out after the New Hampshire primary.

“As someone who helped manage his nomination for ambassador, he’s a good guy,” Messina said.

When asked by POLITICO’s Mike Allen if political reasons helped motivate Obama’s appointment of him as ambassador, Messina demurred.

“I thought he was a committed American who would serve our country well and he did,” Messina said.

Messina didn’t cite the Romney campaign’s failure to answer the summer attack ads as the biggest mistake made by the Republican. Instead, he pointed to the television ad they ran in Ohio claiming Jeep was sending jobs to China.

“They ended up spending the last 14 days of the election on the defense, and day after day they had to answer for their ad,” Messina said.

As for picking Paul Ryan, Messina insisted that the vice presidential nominee did little to help the candidate in states where it mattered, pointing out that Obama won the Republican congressman’s hometown.

“I do think he added something to the national ticket Romney didn’t have,” Messina said.

10. Obama for America has a future

The future of Obama for America — the official name of the campaign — remains a question mark, Messina said.

By law, the campaign itself has to be dismantled and campaign funds can’t be spent for non-campaign expenses. But Messina envisions a world where the campaign apparatus still plays a role.

Messina appeared to dismiss heading back to the White House, where he already served as deputy chief of staff. But he left open the possibility of remaining with a Chicago political operation. It’s likely such an operation would try to use its organizational strength to back the president’s agenda, he said.

The campaign conducted a survey of supporters to ask what they would like to see the operation focus on. After the 2008 election, the campaign held online town hall meetings to get a similar sense of what supporters wanted and Messina said some of the results pushed them to enter fights that he was otherwise inclined to stay out of.

“Like get involved in local elections and recall elections in Wisconsin because our people wanted us to,” Messina said.

But regardless, he sees a future for the grass-roots operation.

“You can’t run two presidential campaigns from the grass roots and say now we’re going to run this from D.C.,” Messina said.

© 2012 POLITICO LLC

 

Story

Using Data Science as Evidence in Public Policy With Big Data and Elections

I had the pleasure of attending three very interesting and related professional statistical meetings recently that showed that statisticians really care about current issues:

Kenneth Prewitt is vice-president for Global Centers and Carnegie professor of public affairs at Columbia University. His other positions include: director of the Census Bureau, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Social Science Research Council, senior vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and dean at the New School University. In his Morris Hansen Lecture, Ken said:

The production of social knowledge is never independent of its institutional base (think monasteries and religious knowledge). In this talk, I discuss the role of the “Westats” (Westat, NORC, RTI, Abt, Mathematica, etc.) in partnering the expansion of government support for (and influence over) policy and research-relevant survey databases and in facilitating the 1960s arrival of “big social science.” How have—and why it is important that—the contract houses avoided the partisanship now prevalent among think tanks? The answer instructs us in whether social science can engage sites where power roams and yet not compromise the praised principle—“speak truth to power.”

Ken is currently chair of the National Academies Committee on Social Science Evidence for Use which is about to issue its report "Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy" which concludes:

For social scientists in a number of specialized fields, this report shows how to bring their expertise to bear on the study of using science to inform public policy. More generally, this report will be of special interest to scientists who want to see their research used in policy making, offering guidance on what is required beyond producing quality research, beyond translating results into more understandable terms, and beyond brokering the results through intermediaries, such as think tanks, lobbyists, and advocacy groups.

An excellent example of how the National Research Council of the National Academy does what Ken talks about above is the following specific example.

The National Research Council's Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS), established in 1978 to provide a locus of activity and concern for the statistical sciences, statistical education, use of statistics, and issues affecting the field, occupies a pivotal position in the statistical community, providing expertise in methodology and policy formation.

During their recent Panel Discussion on “The Era of Big Data Is Here: Case Studies", the three case studies were:

  • Dan Crichton, Program Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, talked about the roles of massive data in science and engineering and moving to the cloud like JPL's CTO, Tom Soderstrom said at the recent AWS Public Sector Summit 2012.
  • Deepak Agarwal, Director of Relevance Science at LinkedIn, talked about the applications of massive data in business like I wrote about recently on helping the White House use big data, and
  • Gaddy Getz, Director of Cancer Genome Computational Analysis at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, talked about massive data exploration in genomics and showed the dramatic drop in cost of gene sequencing.
 
Another excellent example comes from the Public Seminar "Reflections on Election Polling and Forecasting from Inside the Boiler Room" which featured:
  • Scott Keeter, director of survey research, Pew Research Center, on Statistical Science and the Art of Election Polling
  • Joseph Lenski, executive vice president of Edison Research, on Methodological Issues in Conducting Exit Polls
    • Edison Research conducts exit polls and collects returns from sample precincts that are used with county returns from AP for the National Election Pool [NEP] of the AP, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NBC;
  • Clyde Tucker, head, CNN Decision Desk, on Election Projections: Estimating Election Outcomes
    • With input from Murray Edelman, who with the late Warren Mitofsky developed the forecasting methods that underlie the methods used today; and
  • Discussion by Robert Groves, provost, Georgetown University, former director of the Census Bureau.
    • In an earlier incarnation at the Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, Bob participated in election night forecasting which he describes as a very intense and interesting experience in which statistics are often tempered by political science experience.
 
This made me appreciate that elections are a big data problem that is approached in three basic ways:
  • Historical elections data
  • Collection and modeling of polling survey data before the election
  • Use of social media
 
I found in researching historical elections data that most reference the House of Representatives Clerk, which are PDF files, but the 2012 Statistical Abstract has 31 Excel tables, including the new Table 408 Apportionment of Membership in House of Representatives by State: 1800 to 2010, which I integrated into one spreadsheet to facilitate selection of key results to visualize in a dashboard shown elsewhere.

The polling survey data is more difficult to find and access because it is the core business of  the Pew Research Center (cost), Edison Research (cost is $30K), National Election Pool, Roper (cost, except for one on the Web I screen scraped), Gallup (cost), CNN (have to screen scrape their Electoral Map which I did). So their is an issue of transparency and openness as Rober Groves expressed in his post presentation discussion above.

 
So I used inventoried the historical and polling survey data (I could get) to aid in selection and visualization in a dashboard and found I needed both Congressional and State boundary files as shown in the table below.
 
Data Set Type Title Results
Metadata 31 Rows by 24 Columns Inventory Title, Sub-Title, Note, Type, Symbols, Footnote, Source, More information, & Internet Release Date
Table 397 Years Participation in Elections for President and U.S. Representatives Ranged between 50-62%, declined from 1960-1996, and increased since then.
Table 402 Years Vote Cast for President, by Major Political Party Similar to Roper Table below.
Table 405 State Electoral Vote Cast for President by Major Political Party--States One can see the historical state electorial vote map from 1964-2008.
Table 408 State Apportionment of Membership in House of Representatives, by State The top ten states with members in the House of Representatives agrees with the CNN Electoral Map's eleven states that have 14 or more electoral votes totaling the 270 required to elect a President. This is reassuring!
Table 410 Congressional Districts Vote Cast for United States Representatives by Major Political Party--Congressional Districts: 2010 The precent vote cast in 2010 for  Congress by major political party suggests higher vote totals favor Republican candidates.
Roper Historical Votes Years Presidential Election Popular and Electoral Votes 1940-2008 Popular votes have more than doubled since 1940 to 2010 while our population has nearly tripled. Electoral votes have fluctuated considerably since 1940 until 1992 when they became more equally divided between the two major parties.
Gallup Poll Years Gallup Poll Mid-October Trends, 1976-2012 This is referred to as the "outlier of all the current polls", but Gallup had the correct winner in eight of nine presidential elections. (It had Jimmy Carter ahead in October 1980.)
CNN Electoral Map Scenarios Predict which candidate will win each state and see who reaches 270 electoral votes first. Eleven states have 14 or more electoral votes totaling the 270 required to elect a President. The states are colored by D - Democratic, LD - Leaning Democratic, R - Republican, LR - Leaning Republican, and TU - Toss Up, and one can see the results of various scenarios.
 
Some of the specifc results from the above table are as follows:
 
Trends
  • Popular votes have more than doubled since 1940 to 2010 while our population has nearly tripled. Electoral votes have fluctuated considerably since 1940 until 1992 when they became more equally divided between the two major parties.
  • The percentage of voted-aged polulation has ranged between 50-62%, declined from 1960-1996, and increased since then.
 
State
  • The top ten states with members in the House of Representatives agrees with the CNN Electoral Map's eleven states that have 14 or more electoral votes totaling the 270 required to elect a President. This is reassuring!
 
Congressional Districts
  • The precent vote cast in 2010 for Congress by major political party suggests higher vote totals favor Republican candidates.
 
Lastly, I raised the issue of the use of social media data in my question to the panelists and interesting got the following three answers:
  • That would never work because it would not be random (this panelist was still thinking of this still as a survey while I was thinking of all the preceints reporting)
  • Twitter already says that Ron Paul is going to win. (I learn something new all the time!)
  • That's a great suggestion because the cost of polling survey data is becoming a factor in the sustainability of this approach and there is already a good example of doing this from Nevada Caucus results posted to Twitter in real-time.
 
So imagine an election season in which we had less or no polls to influence voters so they could focus on the candidates and the issues and then we got an amazing example of big data processing just after the polls closed (by gentleman's agreement with Congress) which we could all participate in by seeing the precinct voting results posted to Twitter and processed by many apps that developers had developed to bring us interesting and useful results. I am eager to see that to happen in 2014 and 2016!
 
I will be updating these results with the final 2012 elections data and providing another story.

Spotfire Dashboard

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Research Notes

Presentation at George Mason University Nov. 1 and 2 at 4:30 pm., University Hall, Room 1201 (see Building 58 on University Drive). 

Challenge: If you can relate Big Data to social media, the students will find it very interesting, i.e. social media analytics. Then, you can discuss related concepts including natural language processing, graph computing, virtualization, cloud, text annotators, etc. Perhaps mention some open source Big Data platforms. Also describe the roles, responsibilities, and skills of a data scientist. They are mostly Freshman, so keep that in mind. 

Agenda: Who Am I and What Do I Do? Who Are You and What Do You Expect/Want From This?

How To Become a Data Scientist With Spotfire 5 Homework Assignment: Download Spotfire (Free One Year Silver Spotfire or 30 day Evaluation of Analysts Spotfire), and Use Free Training and Example Files and Tutorials to build your own simple application using a sample of your own spreadsheet data. Spotfire Learning Center Network

EPA Indicators of Our Health and Environment Updated and Improved

Using Data Science as Evidence in Public Policy With Big Data and Elections

Big Data and Social Media & Web Analytics Innovation

Big Data Innovation: Semantic Analytics @ 14th SOA for eGovernment Conference

BI Congress 3: Driving Innovation through Big Data Analytics (Surveys) Linkedin Discussion

Kirk Borne's GMU Homepage

 

Electoral College

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)

Dan Carr Micromaps

http://semanticommunity.info/Data.gov/Visualizing_Data_Patterns_with_Micromaps/CCMapsBundle/Contributed_Examples/US_States__Electoral_Votes_2004

CNSTAT

http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/CNSTAT/index.htm

http://sites.nationalacademies.org/D.../DBASSE_071043

111th Congressional Districts Cartographic Boundary Files—U.S. Census Bureau

Source: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cob/cd111.html

No boundary changes have occurred for the 111th Session of Congress (Jan. 2009 - Jan. 2011). The boundaries remain the same as the 110th Congressional Session (Jan. 2007 - Jan. 2009). To download these files please visit the 110th Congressional District Boundarysite.

Please note that the file names have also remained the same and will still reflect the naming convention for the 110th Congressional Districts.

Source: http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/geo/shapefiles2010/main

Making sense out of Gallup and other presidential polls

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/making-sense-gallup-other-presidential-polls-190212101.html

Story

Obama-Biden-Rally

The pollsters at Gallup have been on the defensive after issuing tracking polls showing Mitt Romneywith a significant lead over President Barack Obama. But is the poll’s own track record that much different than other polls?

Frank Newport, the head pollster at Gallup, told Fox News in an interview over the weekend that the poll was “extremely solid.”

“It’s not unusual, going back to Dr. George Gallup who founded our company… He found heated commentary from either side on polls, and I’ve certainly found it in the six election cycles going back to 1992,” Newport told Fox. “People come at you from either side if they don’t like the results.”

Gallup also had a detailed explanation of its polling definitions on its website.

Newport’s comments came after a drubbing in the media about the “likely voters” section of the poll, which shows Romney with a 7-point lead over Obama.

Nate Silver, the New York Times political blogger, laid out a detailed argument against the poll in a post called “Gallup vs. the World.”

“We tend to put too much emphasis on the newest, most widely reported and most dramatic pieces of data—more than is usually warranted,” Silver says.

“Apart from Gallup’s final poll not having been especially accurate in recent years, it has often been a wild ride to get there. Their polls, for whatever reason, have often found implausibly large swings in the race,” he adds.

The website The Hill was less generous to Gallup than The New York TimesAllan Lichtman, a professor at American University, challenged Gallup’s concept of likely voters.

“You don’t have to compare the Gallup poll with any other survey to expose its flaws. A check of the internal consistency of this poll yields such implausible results that its findings are almost certain to be wrong. The key to this analysis is comparing results for registered voters and for likely voters,” Lichtman wrote on The Hill.

He shares Silver’s concerns about publicity related to the Gallup poll.

“Poll-driven journalism is not just meaningless. It is also pernicious because it detracts from coverage of what this election means for the American people,” Lichtman concluded in his story.

Constitution Daily did a little digging on Gallup’s own website to look at the track record of the tracking poll’s predictions for mid-October, going back to 1976, and the actual popular vote on Election Day.

We looked at 14 examples where Gallup’s likely-voter polls and registered-voter polls were taken closest to October 20, including five likely-voter polls and nine registered-voter polls.

Overall, Gallup had the correct winner in eight of nine presidential elections. (It had Jimmy Carter ahead in October 1980.)

Recent Constitution Daily Stories

Mitt Romney takes lead in projected electoral vote count
Inside America’s first dirty presidential campaign, 1796 style
Romney’s ace could come from a mystery swing state

Where Gallup diverged was in the difference between the projected national direct voting and the final November outcome.

The average Gallup October 20 popular vote prediction was at least 6 percentage points off the finalelection outcome. For example, Gallup had George W. Bush ahead by 6 percent over Al Gore among likely voters in October 2000. Gore took the popular by 0.5 percent, so the Gallup poll in October differed by 6.5 percent.

The closest Gallup came to calling the final results was in 2004, when its registered-voter poll had Bush ahead of John Kerry by 3 percent in October 2004. The final difference was 2.5 percent in the popular vote.

The average Gallup difference from the final vote was 6.2 percent in likely-voter polls, 5.8 percent in registered-voter polls, and 5.9 percent in both polls.

To be sure, Gallup is measuring voter sentiment about three weeks before an election, and a lot can change in that period. For example, Ronald Reagan’s dramatic debate victory in 1980 made that race into a rout.

And what about other polls? Are we just piling on Gallup just because they show a gap in the race between Romney and Obama?

Only five of 10 major polls taken in mid-October 2008 had the Obama-John McCain race within 2 points of its final outcome in November. Gallup’s traditional poll was off by 4.3 percent, while Pew was off by a whopping 6.7 percent.

Back in 2004, only three of 10 polls we looked at for a period that ended closest to October 19 were within 2 points of the final election result, and another two were within 2.5 points of the final results.

So out of those 20 polls in the past two elections, taken in mid-October,  only about half were close to indicating the final margins on Election Night.

In mid-October 2008, Gallup’s expanded poll (which didn’t factor in past voting behavior) was very close to the final outcome of the Obama-McCain race, giving Obama a 7-point lead (he won by 7.3 points).

The uncertainty over poll outcomes in  the general election has led to various folks who do “composite” polls that average and weight groups of polls based on past data.

The popular website Real Clear Politics keeps historical data about its accuracy in past elections. On October 22, 2008, the site had Obama ahead by 7 percent in its composite poll—which was very close to the final election outcome.

Today, it has Romney ahead by 0.8 percent in the popular vote.

Gallup Poll Mid-October Trends, 1976-2012 (Source: Gallup.com)

  Likely voters Registered voters Final Vote
2012      
Romney +7 +3
2008      
Obama +10 +11 +7
2004      
Bush +8 +3 +2.5
2000      
Bush +6 +1 -0.5
1996      
Clinton +21 +24 +8.5
1992      
Clinton +2 +13 +5.5
1988      
Bush   +10 +7.7
1984      
Reagan   +20 +18
1980      
Carter   +6 -9.7
1976      
Carter   +5 +2

Also Read

Mitt Romney took a solid lead in the popular vote against President Barack Obama for the first time according …Full Story »Romney Takes 6-Point Lead in Gallup Poll

Yahoo! Contributor Network

WASHINGTON STATISTICAL SOCIETY

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

22nd Annual Morris Hansen Lecture

Thank you Morris et al., for Westat et al.
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Speaker: Kenneth Prewitt
 
Discussants
Margo Anderson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Dan Gaylin, NORC at the University of Chicago
 
A reception will follow at 5:30pm in the Whitten Building Patio
 
Please pre-register for this event to help facilitate access to the building online at http://www.nass.usda.gov/morrishansen/
 
Sponsors: the Washington Statistical Society, Westat, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service
 
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
3:30 – 5:30 pm
 
Jefferson Auditorium, U.S. Department of Agriculture South Building Independence Ave. (between 12th and 14th Streets) Smithsonian Metro Station (Blue/Orange Lines)
 
Abstract: The production of social knowledge is never independent of its institutional base (think monasteries and religious knowledge). In this talk, I discuss the role of the “Westats” (Westat, NORC, RTI, Abt, Mathematica, etc.) in partnering the expansion of government support for (and influence over) policy and research-relevant survey databases and in facilitating the 1960s arrival of “big social science.” How have—and why it is important that—the contract houses avoided the partisanship now prevalent among think tanks? The answer instructs us in whether social science can engage sites where power roams and yet not compromise the praised principle—“speak truth to power.”
 
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Kenneth Prewitt is vice-president for Global Centers and Carnegie professor of public affairs at Columbia University. He taught for fifteen years at the University of Chicago, and for shorter periods at Stanford, Washington U, and in Kenya and Uganda. His other positions include: director of the Census Bureau, the National Opinion Research Center, and the Social Science Research Council, senior vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and dean at the New School University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Russell Sage Foundation, and a member of other professional associations including the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Prewitt has received numerous awards including: Guggenheim fellowship; honorary degrees from Carnegie Mellon and SMU; Lifetime Career Award from the Amer. Pol. Sci. Assoc. He has authored and coauthored a dozen books and more than 100 articles and book chapters, most recently America’s Statistical Races: Do We Still Need Them? For the National Research Council, he is currently chair of the advisory committee for the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education and chair of its Committee on Social Science Evidence for Use and formerly served on the Committee on National Statistics. He has a B.A. from Southern Methodist University, an M.A. from Washington University, and a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.

Research Notes

Forthcoming Report: Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy (see below)

Program with notes. My emal to Connie Citro and my comment about APDU blending of statistical and social media data as way forward for them.

My comments today are at: http://semanticommunity.info/AOL_Government/BIG_DATA_at_the_Hill and

http://semanticommunity.info/AOL_Government/APDU

and I suggest you invite the three key big data people (Hunt, Ames, and Strawn) I list to give a talk/panel to this group. I can organize it if you would like.

Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy

Source: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/Evidence_in_Public_Policy/index.htm

 
Using Science as Evidence in Public Policy encourages scientists to think differently about the use of scientific evidence in policy making. This report investigates why scientific evidence is important to policy making and argues that an extensive body of research knowledge utilization has not led to any widely accepted explanation of what it means to sue science in public policy. This report identifies the gaps in our understanding and develops a framework for a new field of research to fill those gaps.
 
For social scientists in a number of specialized fields, this report shows how to bring their expertise to bear on the study of using science to inform public policy. More generally, this report will be of special interest to scientists who want to see their research used in policy making, offering guidance on what is required beyond producing quality research, beyond translating results into more understandable terms, and beyond brokering the results through intermediaries, such as think tanks, lobbyists, and advocacy groups.
 
For administrators and faculty in public policy programs and schools, this report identifies critical elements of instruction that will better equip graduates to promote the use of science in policy making. 
 
This report was sponsored by the William T. Grant Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.
 

Upcoming presentation

A presentation on this report will be given at the Association for Public Policy and Management (APPAM) fall conference on Friday, November 9 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. in the Hopkins Room at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel.  Kenneth Prewitt, Chair of the Committee which oversaw the development of the report will present the findings of the report.  Miron Straf, the project study director will chair the session along with panel participants, Vivan Tseng, William T. Grant Foundation, Ron Haskins, The Brookings Institution, and Douglas Besharov, University of Maryland.
 

Public Seminars

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Source: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/CNSTAT/index.htm PDF

 
Reflections on Election Polling and Forecasting from Inside the Boiler Room
National Academy of Sciences Main Building
2101 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC • Auditorium
 
1:30 pm Light Refreshments for Seminar Guests – Great Hall
2:00 Welcome
—Lawrence Brown, CNSTAT Chair and University of Pennsylvania
 
2:05 Developments at the OMB Statistical and Science Policy Office
—Katherine K. Wallman, Chief Statistician
 
2:20 Reflections on Election Polling and Forecasting from Inside the Boiler Room Slides
Scott Keeter, director of survey research, Pew Research Center Statistical Science and the Art of Election Polling
Joseph Lenski, executive vice president of Edison Research Methodological Issues in Conducting Exit Polls
(Edison Research conducts exit polls and collects returns from sample precincts that are used with county returns from AP for the National Election Pool [NEP] of the AP, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NBC)
Clyde Tucker, head, CNN Decision Desk
Election Projections: Estimating Election Outcomes
(With input from Murray Edelman, who with the late Warren Mitofsky developed the forecasting methods that underlie the methods used today)
 
3:30 Discussion
Robert Groves, provost, Georgetown University
(In an earlier incarnation at the Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, Bob participated in election night forecasting)
 
3:45 Floor Discussion
 
4:15–5:30 Reception – Great Hall
 
Note: We are very grateful to Clyde Tucker, former senior survey methodologist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and past president of the Washington Statistical Society, for organizing our seminar.
 
This seminar is open to the public. Please help us plan by registering here.

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/EventRegistration/public/Register.aspx?event=368AB0D2

 
For assistance, please contact Jacqui Sovde at (202) 334-1616 or jsovde@nas.edu.

The Era of Big Data is Here: Case Studies

Source: PDF Word
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You are invited to attend the panel discussion The Era of Big Data is Here: Case Studies, hosted by the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) of the National Research Council of the National Academies.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Room 125
National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418
 
Speakers and topics include:
Dan Crichton, Program Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on the roles of massive data in science and engineering
Deepak Agarwal, Director of Relevance Science at LinkedIn, on the applications of massive data in business
Gaddy Getz, Director of Cancer Genome Computational Analysis at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, on massive data exploration in genomics
 
This event is free and open to the public.
 
Please RSVP to Michelle Schwalbe at mschwalbe@nas.edu by Tuesday, October 9.
 
The National Research Council established the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) in 1978 to provide a locus of activity and concern for the statistical sciences, statistical education, use of statistics, and issues affecting the field. CATS occupies
a pivotal position in the statistical community, providing expertise in methodology and policy formation.
 
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences ∙ 500 Fifth Street, NW ∙ Washington, DC 20001 ∙ 202.334.2400 ∙ http://www.nationalacademies.org/deps
 
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Presentations

DOWNLOAD A FULL AUDIO RECORDING (118 MB)

Speakers and topics included:

Dan Crichton (5 MB) (PDF)
Program Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the roles of massive data in science and engineering

Deepak Agarwal (1 MB) (PDF)
Director of Relevance Science at LinkedIn on the applications of massive data in business

Gaddy Getz (2 MB) (PDF)
Director of Cancer Genome Computational Analysis at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University on massive data exploration in genomics

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News From CNSTAT

September 28, 2012

Word

CONTACT INFORMATION for CNSTAT 

Committee on National Statistics                                                Dr. Constance F. Citro, Director

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education   ccitro@nas.edu

The National Academies                                                               (202) 334-3009 or 3096

500 Fifth Street NW                                                                         FAX (202) 334-3751

Washington, DC 20001

http://www.nationalacademies.org/cnstat           

Program Associate: Jacqui Sovde, jsovde@nas.edu, (202) 334-1616 or 334-3096

 

– See our website for previous issues of News from CNSTAT, under “CNSTAT News” –

NewsfromCNSTAT.jpg

 

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Preface

NOTE:  We call to your attention to three public events in October (see the attached flyers for details):

22nd Morris Hansen Lecture to be given by Ken Prewitt and discussed by Margo Anderson and Dan Gaylin, October 9, 2012, USDA auditorium

Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS) panel discussion on “The Era of Big Data Is Here: Case Studies,” October 11, 2012, NAS main building

CNSTAT public seminar, “Reflections on Election Polling and Forecasting from Inside the Boiler Room,” October 19, 2012, NAS main building

We hope to see many of the readers of this newsletter at one or more of these events.

NOTE:  CNSTAT’s web site has recently undergone a redesign consistent with websites of other units in the National Research Council’s Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE).  The previous url, http://www.nationalacademies.org/cnstat, will go to the new site.  Please let us know if you have comments, questions, or suggestions to improve the site.

People News

We note with much appreciation for his many years of federal service, first with the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity and then with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the retirement of Gordon Fisher.  To those working in the field of poverty measurement, Gordon is widely known and highly respected for his indefatigable efforts to chronicle the history of poverty measures in the United States, including but not limited to the work of Mollie Orshansky.  For his articles in this field, Gordon has pursued not only published documents, but also unpublished memoranda and other documents in order to provide a complete history.  See the Census Bureau’s poverty/experimental measures web site, where many of Gordon’s papers reside http://www.census.gov/hhes/povmeas/publications/working.html.  We wish Gordon all the best in his retirement pursuits.

We express our deep appreciation to James Lynch for his leadership of the Bureau of Justice Statistics over the past two-and-a-half years.  Jim will be assuming the post of professor and chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, effective January 1, 2013.  He was previously distinguished professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College, City University of New York, and professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University, chairing that department for 2 years.  He served as vice president of the American Society of Criminology, as a member of the Committee on Law and Justice Statistics of the American Statistical Association, and as a member of the CNSTAT panel that produced the 2009 report, Ensuring the Quality, Credibility, and Relevance of U.S. Justice Statistics.  His research interests include crime statistics, victimization surveys, victimization risk, and the role of sanctions in social control.  At BJS, he pursued a number of initiatives, including to improve the measurement of rape and sexual assault in household surveys and to take advantage of increasingly sophisticated computerized crime databases for statistical purposes. He has a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago.

We take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to CNSTAT’s core sponsor agencies, which, year after year, contribute funding to enable CNSTAT to maintain a core staff, continue such activities as this newsletter, our public seminars, and the periodic updating of Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency (which will be reissued in a 5th edition early in 2013), and undertake workshops that address such system-wide issues as facilitating innovation in the federal statistical system and the future of federal household surveys.  We note our thanks in the “People News” section because it is people at each agency—including program staff who see the value of CNSTAT and contract staff who take the necessary steps to move paperwork through their systems—who make our core program possible.  We particularly thank Cheryl Eavey, program director for Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics at NSF, who processes interagency agreements from many agencies and combines the funds into a grant to CNSTAT, thereby saving considerable paperwork for both the agencies and CNSTAT. This year’s core contributors are:

            Agency for Healthcare Quality and Analysis, DHHS

            Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, DHHS

            Bureau of Economic Analysis, Commerce

            Bureau of Justice Statistics, Justice

            Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor

            Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation

            Citizenship and Immigration Services, Research Evaluation Division, DHS

            Economic Research Service, USDA

            Energy Information Administration, Energy

            Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics Program, NSF

            National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA

            National Center for Education Statistics, Education

            National Center for Health Statistics, DHHS

            National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, NSF

            National Institute on Aging, DHHS

            Office of Immigration Statistics, DHS

            Office of Policy Development and Research, HUD

            Office of Research and Analysis, NEA

            Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, SSA

            Statistics of Income Division, IRS, Treasury

            Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, DoD

            U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce           

Events and Other News

Please see the “CNSTAT News” page on CNSTAT’s web site for announcements of upcoming C-SPAN Washington Journal sessions on “America by the Numbers,” which feature interviews with federal statistical agency heads and senior staff.  The programs highlight trends and allow the public to call in or email their views.  Information on previous C-SPAN programs featuring Census Bureau staff is available at the Census Bureau’s web site.

The 22nd Morris Hansen Lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, October 9, 2012, at the USDA Jefferson Auditorium at 12th and Independence Ave., SW. The lecture will begin at 3:30 pm and a reception will follow at 5:30 pm. Registration is now open at www.nass.usda.gov/morrishansen/Please see the attached flyer for details.

The 2012 Henry and Bryna David Lecture will be held at the National Academy of Sciences’ Main Building, 2100 Constitution Ave., NW, on Thursday afternoon, November 1. Vijay Nair, professor of statistics and industrial and operational engineering at the University of Michigan, will present the policy implications of the findings and recommendations of a series of CNSTAT panels that have addressed the use of statistical methods for defense weapons testing and acquisition.  Vijay is a former member of CNSTAT and has chaired or served on many of its panels for the Department of Defense, including the panel that released the 2011 report, Industrial Methods for the Effective Testing and Development of Defense Systems

Report News

Medical Care Economic Risk—Measuring Financial Vulnerability from Spending on Medical Care, the final report of a CNSTAT panel chaired by Michael O’Grady (West Health Policy Center) for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was released in prepublication form on September 27, 2012.  It is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

Report in Brief—

      Rapidly growing medical care costs relative to income are increasingly competing for resources to cover other basic needs, particularly for middle- and low-income families.  The recently implemented Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which accounts for out-of-pocket medical care costs in the calculation of disposable income, showed that if it were not for the costs of premiums and other medical expenses not covered by health insurance, 10 million fewer people would have fallen under the poverty line in 2010. This report develops a framework for an additional measure that would estimate the proportion of families and children who are at risk of incurring high out-of-pocket medical care expenses, including health insurance premiums, in relation to their resources.  As new policies are implemented that seek to expand and improve health insurance coverage and to protect against the high costs of care relative to income, a measure of medical care economic risk will be particularly important to inform policy.  The 1995 CNSTAT report on Measuring Poverty: A New Approach recommended changes in U.S. poverty measurement that led to the SPM; it also recommended the development of a separate measure of medical care economic risk.

Collecting Compensation Data from Employers, the final report of a CNSTAT panel chaired by John Abowd (Cornell University) for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was released in prepublication form on August 15, 2012.  It is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

Using American Community Survey Data to Expand Access to the School Meals Program, the final report of a CNSTAT panel chaired by Allen Schirm (Mathematica Policy Research) for the Food and Nutrition Service of USDA, was released in prepublication form on May 14, 2012.  It is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education, the final report of a CNSTAT panel chaired by Teresa Sullivan (University of Virginia), was released in prepublication form on May 17, 2012.  It is available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

Reminder: PDF versions of CNSTAT and NAS reports are available for free download at The National Academies Press website, http://www.nap.edu.

Reminder (and Advisory): Slides from previous CNSTAT public seminars, and from several major workshops, are available on the Presentations page on the CNSTAT website. Recently posted presentations include those from the:

June 14-15, 2012, Workshop on the Benefits (and Burdens) of the American Community Survey.

May 11, 2012, CNSTAT seminar on “The Future of Social Science Data Collection” 

CNSTAT Meetings

CNSTAT holds three regular meetings each year, with its spring and fall meeting dates following a set formula; our May meetings are always the Thursday–Friday preceding Mother’s Day and our October meetings are always the second-to-last Thursday–Friday of the month. Here are the next three meetings:

  • CNSTAT’s 119th meeting will be held October 18-19, 2012, in the NAS main building at 2101 Constitution Ave., NW (the building reopened for business in June 2012 after extensive renovation).  This meeting will feature a public seminar on the 19th.  The topic (which couldn’t be more topical) is:

Reflections on Election Polling and Forecasting from Inside the Boiler Room

 [For details and to register, please see the attached flyer, or click here.]

  • CNSTAT’s 120th meeting will be held February 8-9, 2013, in Irvine, CA, at the National Academies’ Beckman Center.  This meeting will be a retreat with no public sessions.
  • CNSTAT’s 121st meeting will be held May 9-10, 2013, in the NAS main building at 2101 Constitution Ave., NW.  This meeting will feature a public seminar on the 10th.

Active Panels and Workshops

[Organized by sponsor, beginning with federal departments. Chair and current and former CNSTAT members are listed. Unless otherwise noted, meetings are in Washington, DC, and include open sessions. For further information, contact the person listed as the study director or project assistant (e-mail addresses follow the formula of first initial plus last name as oneword@nas.edu). For panel studies, you may also search under Current Projects (under “Events & Activities”) on http://nationalacademies.org or http://nas.edu.]

Department of Agriculture

Panel on Alternative Estimates of Children Eligible for School Nutrition Programs (joint with the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine)

Sponsor: Food and Nutrition Service

Duration: May 2009–April 2012

Study director: Nancy Kirkendall; associate program officer: Esha Sinha; project assistant: Agnes Gaskin

Chair: Allen Schirm (Mathematica Policy Research)

Reports: Developing and Evaluating Methods for Using American Community Survey Data to Support the School Meals Program: Interim Report, released in prepublication format on May 18, 2010, available in print and in PDF; final report, Using American Community Survey Data to Expand Access to the School Meals Program, released in prepublication form on May 14, 2012, and available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

Meetings: Final panel meeting (conference call) held October 31, 2011

Department of Commerce

Panel on Addressing Priority Technical Issues for the Next Decade of the American Community Survey

Sponsor: U.S. Census Bureau

Duration: October 2011–February 2014

Study director: Krisztina Marton; senior program officer: Nancy Kirkendall; associate program officer: Esha Sinha; project assistant, Michael Siri

Chair: Alan Zaslavsky (Harvard Medical School); member: James House (University of Michigan)

Reports planned:  Final report

Upcoming meetings: Second meeting scheduled for October 3-4, 2012, in Washington, DC

Panel to Review the 2010 Census

Sponsor: U.S. Census Bureau

Duration: May 2009–July 2014

Study director: Daniel Cork; senior program officer, Michael Cohen; project assistant: Anthony Mann

Chair: Thomas Cook (former president, SABRE Decision Technologies); member: John Thompson (NORC)

Reports planned: First interim report, Change and the 2020 Census: Not Whether But How, released on March 25, 2011, available in print and in PDF; second interim report and final report planned

Upcoming meetings: Thirteenth meeting scheduled for January 17-18, 2013, in Irvine, CA

Panel on Statistical Methods for Measuring the Group Quarters Population in the American Community Survey

Sponsor: U.S. Census Bureau

Duration: October 2009–September 2012

Study director: Krisztina Marton; associate program officer: Esha Sinha; project assistant: Agnes Gaskin

Chair: Paul Voss (University of North Carolina and University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Reports: Measuring the Group Quarters Population in the American Community Survey: Interim Report released December 27, 2010, and available in PDF; final report, Small Populations, Large Effects: Improving the Measurement of the Group Quarters Population in the American Community Survey, released in prepublication form on March 23, 2012; now available in print and in PDF.

Meetings: Seventh and final meeting held July 21-22, 2011, in Washington, DC; follow-up meeting held September 17, 2012

Workshop on Benefits (and Burdens) of the American Community Survey

Sponsor: U.S. Census Bureau

Duration: October 2011–December 2012

Study director: Daniel Cork; project assistant: Agnes Gaskin

Co-chairs: Linda Gage (California Department of Finance) and Ken Hodges (Nielsen)

Report planned: Workshop summary is in review

Meetings: Workshop held June 14-15, 2012, in Washington, DC

Department of Defense

Panel on the Theory and Application of Reliability Growth Modeling to Defense Systems

Sponsor: Office of the Secretary of Defense, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

Duration: September 2009–September 2013

Study director: Michael Cohen; project assistant: Michael Siri

Chair: Arthur Fries (Institute for Defense Analyses)

Report planned: Final report (including workshop summary) is being drafted

Upcoming meetings: Third meeting held December 2, 2011, in Washington, DC; fourth meeting TBD

Department of Energy

Panel to Review the Commercial Building and Residential Energy Consumption Surveys (CBECS/RECS) (joint with the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems)

Sponsor: Energy Information Administration

Duration: September 2009–September 2012

Study director: Krisztina Marton; senior program officer: Nancy Kirkendall; project assistant: Agnes Gaskin

Chair: William Eddy (Carnegie Mellon University)

Reports: Letter report released June 1, 2010, and available in PDF; final report, Effective Tracking of Building Energy Use: Improving the Commercial Buildings and Residential Energy Consumption Surveys, released in prepublication format on February 10, 2012, now available in print and in PDF.

Meetings: Sixth and final meeting held April 18-19, 2011; follow-up briefings completed

Department of Health and Human Services

Panel on Measuring Medical Care Risk in Conjunction with the New Supplemental Poverty Measure (joint with the IOM Board on Health Care Services)

Sponsor: Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Duration: October 2010–September 2012

Study director: Gooloo Wunderlich; senior program officer: Jill Eden (IOM); program associate: Jacqui Sovde

Chair: Michael O’Grady (West Health Policy Center)

Report: Medical Care Economic Risk—Measuring Financial Vulnerability from Spending on Medical Care released in prepublication form, September 27, 2012, and available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

Meetings: Third and final meeting held February 2-3, 2012, in Washington, DC

Panel on Measuring Subjective Well-Being in a Policy-Relevant Framework (joint with the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences)

Sponsor: National Institute on Aging and UK Economic and Social Research Council

Duration: May 2011–May 2013

Study director: Christopher Mackie; project assistant: Anthony Mann

Chair: Arthur Stone (Stony Brook University); member: Norman Bradburn (NORC); V. Joseph Hotz (Duke)

Reports planned: Interim report on the American Time Use Survey Subjective Well-Being Module has cleared review and is being prepared for transmittal and release; Final report

Upcoming meetings: Fourth meeting (closed) scheduled for September 28, 2012, in Washington, DC

Workshops on Evaluation of Measures of Subjective Well-Being and Development of OECD Guidance for National Statistical Agencies

Sponsor: National Institute on Aging

Duration: October 2010–October 2013

Study director: Christopher Mackie; project assistant: Anthony Mann

Chair: Paul Dolan (London School of Economics and Political Science); steering committee member: Norman Bradburn (NORC)

Report planned: OECD guidance document (grant has been let with OECD)

Upcoming meetings: First workshop held July 8, 2011, in Paris, France; second workshop will be held in late 2012 to review penultimate draft of OECD guidance

Department of Homeland Security

Panel on Survey Options for Estimating the Illegal Alien Flow at the Southwest Border

Sponsor: Office of Immigration Statistics

Duration: July 2011–September 2012

Study director: Malay Majmundar; senior program officer: Thomas Plewes; project assistant: Michael Siri

Chair: Alicia Carriquiry, chair (Iowa State University); member: Stephen Fienberg (Carnegie Mellon University)

Report planned: Final report is in response to review

Meetings: Third and final meeting held March 21-22, 2012, in Washington, DC.

Department of Justice

Panel on Measuring Rape and Sexual Assault in Bureau of Justice Statistics Household Surveys

Sponsor: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Duration: July 2011–April 2013

Study director: Carol House; senior program officer: Nancy Kirkendall; project assistant: Agnes Gaskin

Co-chairs: William Kalsbeek (University of North Carolina) and Candace Kruttschnitt (University of Toronto); members: Ruth Peterson (Ohio State University) and Nora Cate Schaeffer (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Report planned: Final report

Upcoming meetings: Third meeting held August 27-28, 2012, in Washington, DC; fourth meeting TBD

Department of Labor

Panel on Redesigning the BLS Consumer Expenditure Surveys

Sponsor: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Duration: October 2010–February 2013

Study director: Carol House; project assistant: Agnes Gaskin

Chair: Don Dillman (Washington State University)

Reports planned: Workshop transcripts; final report has cleared review, has been transmitted, and will be released October 1, 2012

Meetings: Final meeting held January 25-27, 2012, in Washington, DC; follow-up activities will include a public briefing, October 16, 2012, at the NAS Keck Center

Corporation for National and Community Service

Panel on Measuring Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion to Inform Policy

Sponsor: Corporation for National and Community Service

Duration: September 2011–September 2013

Study director: Christopher Mackie; senior program officer: Hermann Habermann; project assistant: Michael Siri

Chair: Kenneth Prewitt (Columbia University)

Reports planned: Final report

Upcoming meetings: Third meeting held September 20-21, 2012, in Washington, DC; fourth meeting TBD

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Panel on Measuring and Collecting Pay Information from U.S. Employers by Gender, Race, and National Origin

Sponsor: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Duration: October 2010–September 2012

Study director: Thomas Plewes; project assistant: Michael Siri

Chair: John Abowd (Cornell University)

Report: Collecting Compensation Data from Employers released in prepublication form on August 15, 2012, and available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly.

Meetings: Third and final meeting held September 27, 2011, in Washington, DC

Lumina Foundation for Education

Panel on Measuring Higher Education Productivity (joint with the Board on Testing and Assessment and the Board on Higher Education and Workforce)

Sponsor: Lumina Foundation

Duration: October 2008–March 2012

Study director: Christopher Mackie; senior program officers: Stuart Elliott (BOTA) and Peter Henderson (BHEW); associate program officer: Esha Sinha; project assistant: Michael Siri

Chair: Teresa Sullivan (University of Virginia); member: Michael Hout (University of California, Berkeley)

Report: Final report, Improving the Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education, released in prepublication form on May 17, 2102, and available in PDF; printed copies will be available shortly

Meetings: Sixth and final meeting held February 3, 2011, in Washington, DC

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Committee on Human Spaceflight (joint with the Space Studies Board, which has the lead, and the Aeronautical and Space Engineering Board, both in the NRC Division of Engineering and Physical Sciences)

Sponsor:  National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Duration: August 2012 – December 2014

Study director: Sandra Graham (SSB); Krisztina Marton (CNSTAT portion on ascertaining public and stakeholder opinion); project assistant (CNSTAT): Jacqui Sovde

Chair: TBD

Report: Final report

Meetings: First meeting TBD

National Endowment for the Arts and National Institutes of Health

Workshop on Research Gaps and Opportunities for Exploring the Arts’ Relationship to Health and Well-Being in Older Adults (joint with IOM, the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, and the Committee on Population)

Sponsors: National Endowment for the Arts, National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine, National Institute on Aging, and the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

Duration: March – September 2012

Study director: Nancy Kirkendall; project assistant: Agnes Gaskin

Chair: David Reuben (UCLA School of Medicine)

Reports planned: Workshop transcript and commissioned papers

Upcoming meetings: Workshop held September 14, 2012, in Washington, DC

National Science Foundation

Panel on Developing Science, Technology, and Innovation Indicators for the Future (joint with the Science, Technology, and Economic Policy Board)

Sponsor: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics

Duration: October 2010–December 2012

Study director: Kaye Husbands Fealing; STEP director: Steven Merrill; associate program officer: Esha Sinha; project assistant: Anthony Mann

Co-chairs: Robert Litan (Bloomberg Government) and Andrew Wyckoff (OECD); member: John Rolph (University of Southern California)

Reports planned: Interim report, Improving Measures of Science, Technology, and Innovation: Interim Report, released in prepublication format, February 3, 2012, and available in PDF; final report is being drafted

Meetings: Seventh and last meeting held August 27, 2012, in Washington, DC

Note: A separate website with materials from the panel’s meetings and workshops is maintained at: http://sti-indicators.ning.com/; visitors are welcome to join and add comments.  Materials from the workshop are available on the “Current Projects” page of the CNSTAT site.

Principal Investigator Conference, Science of Science and Innovation Policy, 2007-2011 Awards

Sponsor: Science of Science & Innovation Policy (SciSIP) Program, Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences

Duration: March 2012 – March 2013

Study director: Kaye Husbands Fealing; project assistant: Anthony Mann

Chair: Irwin Feller (The Pennsylvania State University)

Report planned: Workshop summary by rapporteur

Upcoming meetings: Workshop held September 20-21, 2012, in Washington, DC

Workshop on Future Directions for the NSF National Patterns of Research and Development Program

Sponsor: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics

Duration: October 2010–September 2012

Study director: Michael Cohen; associate program officer: Esha Sinha; project assistant: Agnes Gaskin

Chair: Karen Kafadar (Indiana University)

Report planned: Workshop summary is being drafted

Upcoming meetings: Workshop held September 6-7, 2012, in Washington, DC

Russell Sage Foundation

Panel on a Research Agenda for the Future of Social Science Data Collection

Sponsor: Russell Sage Foundation:

Duration: July 2010–December 2012

Study director: Thomas Plewes; project assistant: Michael Siri

Chair: Roger Tourangeau (University of Maryland); member: Nora Cate Schaeffer (University of Wisconsin–Madison)

Report planned: Final report is in response to review

Meetings: Fourth and final meeting held July 11, 2011, in Washington, DC

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