James M. Connolly

Data's Little Surprises Make You Wonder

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Lyndon_Henry
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Re: Strategic guideposts?
Lyndon_Henry   10/17/2016 9:48:22 PM
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..

Terry writes

I enjoy watching the polls here and elsewhere, but I treat them a bit like the weather report. In other words, they reflect the temperature or humidity of that moment. They're not necessarily good indicators of what came before or will come after. But as a temperature-taking exercise, polls are good. I'm just not sure I'd use them for lots of strategic decisions.



 

I've been mildly amazed to see how much political polling has been developing in terms of predictive accuracy.

Included in this assessment is the emergence of poll-tracking methodologies. Just this evening I read an interesting discussion of the one used by the Talking Points Memo website, which gives some insight into the contours of the algorithms that these tracking systems use.

I've been following TPM's poll-tracking analysis because it feeds into an electoral vote scoreboard that's updated at least on a daily basis.

 

SethBreedlove
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Data Doctor
Re: Strategic guideposts?
SethBreedlove   10/17/2016 5:57:03 PM
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In defense of the above chart, we have gotten really good at forcasting the week in weather.  I remember when it was a real crap shoot.  If we could only forcast it a month in advance then we would really have something. 

I think the biggest threat and what will always be the biggest threat to analytics is politics. 

 

Jamescon
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Re: Strategic guideposts?
Jamescon   10/17/2016 2:47:21 PM
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I guess that in the end a poll can spur us to think about an issue or a trend and to then look a little closer at it (perhaps looking for more tested research). Or, sometimes they're just good to launch conversation.

 

kq4ym
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Data Doctor
Re: Strategic guideposts?
kq4ym   10/17/2016 2:39:01 PM
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Yes, it does seem polls, expecially those with smaller numbers of participants are going to reflect speculation in large numbers, while even well crafted ones aren't going to be guaranteed winners when guessing the future or an event where there are large variables to be considered.

T Sweeney
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Strategic guideposts?
T Sweeney   10/17/2016 12:03:26 PM
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I enjoy watching the polls here and elsewhere, but I treat them a bit like the weather report. In other words, they reflect the temperature or humidity of that moment. They're not necessarily good indicators of what came before or will come after. But as a temperature-taking exercise, polls are good. I'm just not sure I'd use them for lots of strategic decisions.

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