benjamintoff has written 16 posts for Benjamin J. Toff

Polls and Overconfidence in Election Outcomes

My piece on the shock of the 2016 election results is up at the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. There’s a lot that was edited out for space, and I’ll save most of that for a lengthier treatment on this subject at a later date, ideally once the 2016 ANES data is available. The main takeaway concerns … Continue reading

About that Pew Poll on Gun Rights

Pew recently published results of a poll showing increasing support for gun rights and declining support for gun control. The results are somewhat startling, and a bit counterintuitive (support for gun rights increased especially among black respondents), so it’s not terribly surprising that the poll received a fair amount of news coverage. Pew is one of the … Continue reading

Are NYC Taxi Medallion Prices Really ‘Plummeting?’

On Thursday, the New York Times published a page one piece by the Upshot’s Josh Barro making the claim that faced with competition from e-hailing car service apps Uber and Lyft, taxi medallion prices are “plummeting.” The basis for the claim, from what I can tell, is largely this (in the second graf): The average price of an individual … Continue reading

Population Shifts and the Nationalization of Politics

Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin’s A-1 story in the New York Times today makes an interesting argument about the nationalization of politics and its role in explaining Eric Cantor’s primary loss and Thad Cochran’s forced runoff. For all the talk about how partisan polarization is overwhelming Washington, there is another powerful, overlapping force at play: Voters … Continue reading

Annals of Bad Statistical Analysis

Nate Silver’s newly revamped site FiveThirtyEight has gotten its share of flak since launching, some of it more warranted than others. And I don’t mean to pile on; I think the site has great potential. However, this latest post by FiveThirtyEight’s senior political writer Harry Enten is so thoroughly flawed, it deserves special condemnation. Enten seeks to show … Continue reading

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