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The Kaus Factor

- April 6, 2011

“Seth Masket”:http://enikrising.blogspot.com/2011/04/dw-tweetinate.html notes an interesting new “paper”:http://conference.mpsanet.org/papers/archive.aspx/2011/104067 from Aaron King, Francis Orlando, and David Sparks.

bq. The authors are interested in figuring out just how much it helps to be ideologically extreme in a primary contest. Unfortunately, we don’t have very good measures of candidate ideology, unless the candidates are incumbents (in which case we can approximate their ideology from their roll call voting records). We’re mostly left with guessing at candidates’ ideological positions from their speeches, donors, endorsees, etc. King et al decided to look at candidates’ Twitter accounts to see who was following them … the decision to follow or not follow someone on Twitter is in some ways analogous to the decision to vote/not vote for them or to donate/not donate to their campaign. … use social networks techniques to boil down the literally millions of connections between hundreds of candidates and other political elites to come up with something akin to ideal points for each person … it works surprisingly well, confirming other studies’ findings about ideology and primary elections. Their ideal points almost perfectly predict party for candidates, with the exception of Mickey Kaus. (Frankly, I’d have distrusted their method more if it had gotten Kaus correct.)

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