Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Election Predictions and the Use of Data

By Brielle Durant and Jordan Greenwall


The article combines anecdotal/Ad-Hoc and quantitative data because the information is based on numerical data and percentages as well as the journalists personal accounts, rather than facts and research on Bernie Sanders standings in the polls. The article presents the quantitative data to show how Hillary Clinton is beating Sanders in the race for the presidency. For example, the article states, “Sanders himself might be part of the reason about 40 percent of his supporters don't think Hillary Clinton is the most likely person to become the Democratic Party's nominee”. This is an example of quantitative data because it uses percentages to show a side of the story. An example of anecdotal data found in the article is when the journalist in puts his own personal account into the mix by stating whether or not Sander’s position is good or bad. “Sanders is behind by about 300 delegates. That is a lot”. The addition of the sentence, “That’s a lot”, is an expression of the journalist alone, whereas another journalist of reader could interpret the information differently. Another example of anecdotal data in the article is the quote, ‘It's time to accept a harsh truth: Bernie Sanders is not going to win the Democratic nomination to be President of the United States”. This statement is isolated to its own paragraph and offers no other information on why that may be, rather it stands alone as a personal prediction of the journalist. The data is used as a prediction of how well Bernie Sanders campaign for president will go and how long it will last. The article also explains that Sanders has reasons to stay in the race, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is winning. It goes on to explain how the superdelegates will influence the race and how neither of the delegates can win on their own and how the state winnings do not always predict the outcome of the race, rather it is up to the superdelegates. The data in the story could be presented from an empirical standpoint by including information on how the journalist observations of the race, rather than anecdotal data. The story could also be framed to explain why Sanders should drop out of the race because he is so far behind, instead the journalist chose to focus on the reasons why Sanders should stay in the race, such as getting his message heard and convincing more delegates to push for reform. The data could also be explained to show Clinton’s side of the race and the projected outcomes for how she will do overall. 

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