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Running Regressions for the New York Times

- November 29, 2007

When I read a New York Times article (or any newspaper or magazine for that matter) based on a survey they conducted, I always lament the fact that they only offer simple crosstabulations in their analysis. For example, the article will discuss whether primary and caucus voters weigh issues versus electability more when selecting a candidate (see previous post), yet they only provide the percentage of voters who say issues and electability are important, respectively. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just put both (scaled) predictors in the same vote choice model to see which has a larger impact on vote choice? Since I’m sharing an office with Andrew Gelman, while working on our Red State Blue State Paradox book, I mentioned to him that we should offer our services, free of charge, to the New York Times to run regressions and write up a short article that a general NY Times reader (without any statistical knowledge) could understand. The short article could be available just online at the NYTimes.com. Bill Keller, any thoughts?

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