Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The 2016 Endorsement Primaries and The Use of Data

By Kate Rogers and Payson Everett-Brown

(1) The article published by FiveThirtyEight uses rigorous and quantitative information. The information is based off of endorsements from governors, representatives and senators and uses a weighted system -- 10 points for governors, 5 points for U.S. senators and 1 point for U.S. representatives -- as a way to account for the difference of importance of the endorsers. The data is rigorous because it doesn't include interviews or personal stories, it simply uses the number of votes awarded to each candidate.

(2) This data compares endorsements from the current election and compares it to endorsements from past elections to make predictions on who will win this years election. Based on the weighted system, they broke down the number of endorsements from the governors, representatives and senators, and determined the total number of points each candidate received. The article predicts that the number of points each candidate receives has the influential power to sway public opinion and the opinion of members within a certain party. It makes a prediction that such data may influence the way people decide to vote. The data focuses on endorsements made around the Iowa caucuses because past research has show that party members usually rally around a certain candidate at this time, the result of which has determined the success of a candidate in past elections. They use past research and current research to predict the success of those still running.

3) If the data also accounted for media endorsements, celebrity endorsements and media mentions than the story would have been framed from the perspective of the public, rather than just the elite, political players. The story discusses previous nominees and the number of endorsements from past elections and the number of political endorsements. If the story included the number of media mentions and other endorsements, then the story would include a much larger story and encompass a larger view point.

The data graphs start one year before the Iowa caucus and continues until the convention. This is an extensive amount of time and a lot can change during this time. It is apparent in all the graphs that the number of endorsements steadily climbs right before the Iowa caucus and continues immediately after the caucus. Media mentions and celebrity endorsements would likely match this trend, however there number of points each candidate received might differ if it included the public and not just the political elite.

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