Category Archives: U.S. Politics

Facebook Forecast: Jeanne Shaheen to Defeat Scott Brown

Tuesday morning we brought you a posting from UMass Amherst political science doctoral candidates Matt MacWilliams, Edward Erikson and Nicole Luna Berns in which they used their Facebook Forecasting Model to predict a win for Scott Brown in the New Hampshire Republican primary for U.S. Senate – not an earth shattering prediction. They have just completed data analysis for the general election and have a daring prediction for the race. Read on for how they see the race, and how they did it.

Early this week, we used Scott Brown’s surging Facebook PTAT to predict that Brown would walk away with the Republican nomination for Senate in New Hampshire. With the primary behind us, we can now apply our full Facebook Forecasting Model to the Senator Jeanne Shaheen/Brown contest. The model produces a weekly two-candidate election forecast. Over time, the weekly prediction also provides a dynamic track of which way a race is moving. Our forecast for New Hampshire predicts that Senator Shaheen is on track to hold her seat with 56% of the vote.

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An Efficient, Democracy-Enhancing Proposal: Move Municipal Elections to Even Years

It is primary election day in Massachusetts. To political scientists like me, primary election days are akin to excitement levels felt on one’s birthday around age 11. It’s big. The general election is the gift motherload though: Christmas.

Posted in Boston Politics, Municipal Politics, New England Politics, Political Science, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Facebook Metrics Predict Scott Brown Primary Win

We’ve posted from our friend UMass Amherst doctoral candidate Matt MacWilliams in the past with news of his Senate forecasting model using data from Facebook. Today we welcome another post from Matt and his UMass Amherst colleagues Edward Erikson and Nicole Luna Berns. Their Facebook model is strongly suggestive that Scott Brown will capture the Republican nomination for the US Senate in New Hampshire later today. Of even more interest, they are going to use Facebook to forecast the winner in the Scott Brown-Senator Jeanne Shaheen final. They’ll do this on their blog #hashtagdemocracy and have generously agreed to cross post here. Enjoy this new and interesting approach to forecasting senate elections.

Can publicly-available data from the Facebook pages of candidates for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire tell us anything about who will win come Election Day next Tuesday and in November? If what we learned during the 2012 elections is any guide, the answer may be a whole lot.

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From the Archives: Lincoln and Religion

Even on vacation I think of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. It beats the latest polling news, which I don’t get anyway.

Religion in Politics: It’s Not the Certainty, It’s the Doubt

One of the most fascinating columns I’ve read in some time is from the Boston Globe’s Scot Lehigh, his Gay Marriage: A Look Back After 10 Years.  He vividly recalls the turmoil at the State House as conservatives fought to overturn the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision. Lehigh especially decried “fanatics and fundamentalists” “who believed they had a direct line to God.” It’s enough to make many of us wish religion would just go away from American politics.

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Politics by other means in Texas

In Texas, the stars at night are big and bright, shining a light on another attempt to criminalize politics.

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The demagogues among us

There’s nothing like the fear of the other to bring the demagogues in our midst out into the open.

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Veteran Benefits v Unaccompanied Immigrant Children: A Downright Stupid False Binary

When we passed the rescue scene surrounding a bad car accident, my mother taught me to say a prayer for those involved and not look. I suggest the same strategy for political analysis on Facebook. The recent surge of undocumented and unaccompanied children at U.S. border has tested this self-imposed rule though as recent weeks have seen memes stating “I can’t help but wonder why there are so many homeless veterans and so few homeless illegals” and the following:

cutting-veterans-benefits

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Deval Patrick’s “City Upon a Hill”

Politicians from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan have invoked John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill” phrase for political effect but few have embodied the phrase in the manner of Governor Deval Patrick, who seemingly alone among America’s governors is willing to extend a welcome to immigrant children who have flooded across our Southern borders. Winthrop’s speech was much more than a memorable phrase; it was a Model of Christian Charity, a call for those who enjoy the blessings of life to care for the less well off. Deval Patrick is brave in his willingness to live up to the commonwealth’s foundational document.  

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Remembering Ernest Gruening

I’m just back from a vacation to Alaska and family fun to a political scientist means you visit the State House. There on the walls were duplications of newspaper stories proudly recalling Alaska statehood in 1959 including photographs of one of the most important politicians in achieving statehood, Ernest Gruening.

That name may have faded from memory but it should be recalled and honored. Senator Ernest Gruening was one of only two United States Senators to oppose the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which permitted President Lyndon B. Johnson to escalate the War in Vietnam. Johnson’s case for war, by the way, was based on lies, if that should sound familiar at all.

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Who benefits by serial allegations of corruption? The US Attorney’s Office

If federal prosecutors hoped the trial of John O’Brien might have focused our collective attention on the sins of political patronage, they seem to have failed.  It’s the power of the US Attorney’s office that increasingly draws scrutiny.  And not for the first time.

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