The psychology of voting

Those of you who follow politics closely may have noticed a curious feature about the current state of discussion about the presidential election.

One is that the national polls and the so-called objective fundamentals models favored by political scientists show a close race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama as to who will get the majority of the national vote. [Read more…]

They’ll have to pry this pineapple from their cold, dead hands

In England, the Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society (RAHS) was kicked out of a fair aimed at first-year students when they tried to advertise a forthcoming debate on the topic “Should we respect religion?” Their offense? As part of their display, they had in their stall a pineapple with the label Mohammed. [Read more…]

More on polls

In an earlier post yesterday, I mentioned the ‘house effect’ of polls. These are the size of the effects that a given polling outfit produces in favor of one or the other party. They are not necessarily biases in the sense of the polling firm deliberately distorting the results. It is often the result of methodologies that produce different effects such as sampling only likely voters vs registered voters, cell phones vs. landlines, robocalls vs. human calls, weighting by party affiliation, etc. Simon Jackman has an article explaining it in more detail. [Read more…]

Who’ll be the first?

Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the East Coast of the US. Apart from Virginia (which is a toss-up), all the other states in its path vote reliably Democratic.

If Sandy does wreak a large amount of damage, I wonder who will be the first crazy preacher to suggest that this is god’s punishment for the liberal leanings of the people in that region, their support for same-sex marriage, and their pro-choice views.

UPDATE: It looks like we may already have a winner!