An Oct. 8, 2015 fivethirtyeight.com article is entitled: “Will The Trump Tape Have A Bigger Effect On The Race Than Past Controversies?”
The article includes a reference to the concept – which I found most interesting to read about – of partisan activation. In the following excerpt (given time constraints) I have not included the links embedded in the text. You can readily access all of the links, in the event you wish to, by going to the article. An excerpt related to partisan activation reads:
Much of the literature on campaign effects in U.S. presidential elections points to two findings. First, the main role of campaigns is what political scientists call “partisan activation.” This means that media coverage, candidate speeches, debates and advertising help voters identify the candidate who matches their preferences on the issues — the campaign doesn’t persuade people to switch political sides so much as make clear which candidate is already on their side. The second contribution is about timing: Partisan activation happens over the course of the campaign, so by October, voters start to make up their minds, with less potential for major shifts in support.
[End of excerpt]
The value of evidence
Nate Silver’s Twitter account and the fivethirtyeight.com Twitter account are followed by huge numbers of people.
For good reason.
I find it most inspiring that a strongly evidence-based approach to following the news, on a wide range of fronts, appeals to so many people.
Such a focus on the value of evidence, succinctly and clearly stated, runs counter to a frequently repeated trope that claims, in so many words, that in much of life “perception is reality.”
Or, to say it another way, such a commendable focus on evidence runs contrary to the claim that the conceptual framework (which can be as fanciful as anybody may be prompted to make it) of a news story, or any other kind of story, matters more – because of its strong emotional impact – than any close adherence to the facts or evidence related to the story.
Storytelling takes place in so many contexts, in our lives.
The includes the backstories and storytelling that serve as what I would describe as a social infrastructure around which news reports, political slogans, and much else that occurs in our determined and consistent attempts to make sense of things, occurs.
An Oct. 10, 2016 fivethirtyeight.com article is entitled: “The Second Debate Probably Didn’t Help Trump, And He Needed Help.”
The article notes (again, I have left out the links; to access the links go to the article):
These instant-reaction polls actually do have a correlation with post-debate horse-race polls: The candidate who wins the former usually gains in the latter. Perhaps Clinton’s win was modest enough that this will be an exception, especially given that the sentiments of pundits and television commentators (which sometimes matter as much as the debate itself) were all over the map.
[End of excerpt]
The article concludes: “Or was the whole business a sort of confidence trick, which was bound to implode once people began to lose faith in it?”
Scams and scamming