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Posts Tagged "Politics"

Mashable blows it on post wondering if Twitter predicted Iowa caucus results

Mashable is, well, it is something. I occasionally click on the links from Mashable’s Twitter account but generally the things that Mashable writes about don’t interest me all that much. Politics, however, is in my wheelhouse.

It does not, however, appear to be in the wheelhouse of Mashable.

Mashable posted an article asking, “Can Twitter Predict the Iowa Caucus?" yesterday, before the caucuses that ended with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney narrowly (and I mean narrowly) edging former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum by 8 total votes. 

The post wondered if “positive sentiment on Twitter,” as shown by analysis by Globalpoint Research, would be a better predictor of the caucuses than an NBC/Marist poll on the Iowa caucuses. 

The post included this chart:

More on this chart later.

The next day, Mashable asked, “Did Twitter Predict the Iowa Caucus Better than Pundits?

Mashable’s Alex Fitzpatrick wrote, “Information from Twitter matched up with pre-Iowa polling data from NBC/Marist, with one glaring difference: On Twitter, Rick Santorum was on fire.”

The “positive sentiment” did match up quite well on the chart between Romney and Representative Ron Paul, but not so much the others. I don’t include Jon Huntsman because his numbers were so small and he did not really compete in Iowa; he ignored the state to concentrate on New Hampshire.

But this analysis could be wrong, because I’m not sure if we can trust the chart. Fitzpatrick doesn’t disclose the exact numbers on the Twitter sentiment, so we can’t check those. But we do know the numbers on the NBC/Marist poll. And the numbers in the poll don’t seem to match up too well with the numbers on chart.

Paul got 21 percent in the NBC/Marist poll, but his bar is below 20 percent. The bars representing the NBC/Marist poll in the Mashable chart showed Perry and Gingrich (14 percent and 13 percent, respectively) above Santorum’s even though Santorum received 15 percent in the NBC/Marist poll. Bachmann’s bar also appear to be off.

And there are more reasons to be skeptical of this — mistaking explanations for Rick Santorum receiving positive attention at that exact time.

Previous polls had showed Santorum’s numbers rising while other rivals, notably former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, had their support plummet.

Santorum’s support in Iowa was in the single digits through the beginning of December, but a Public Policy Polling poll on December 18 and a Rasmussen poll on December 19 showed his numbers rising to 10 percnet.

In fact, a major poll released on December 28* showed Santorum at 16 percent. The Twitter sentiment that Globalpoint looked at was from December 27-30 — or right when Santorum was getting major positive press after a major poll showed his numbers rising.

* The poll was conducted from December 21-27, excluding Christmas. But for showing how the poll could have effected sentiment on Twitter, the date of release is relevant.

Another problem is that Globalpoint is comparing national Twitter attitudes (I assume) to polls and caucus results in an individual state. That is just a fundamental misunderstanding of how things work.

The whole post is comparing apples to oranges (or worse, like comparing a shot glass to a pillow). It merely looks like a tech reporter who does not understand politics ran with data he didn’t understand from Globalpoint in order to get hits on a relevant post.

Facebook: Our ads too small for political disclosure

Facebook sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission asking to make sure that the site’s small ads would not to include disclosures. Facebook cited FEC decisions that say pens, bumper stickers and, probably more relevant, Google ads don’t require disclosure.

The company argues that including a disclaimer in Facebook ads would be “inconvenient and impracticable” and argue they should be exempt under the FEC’s “small items” and “impracticable” exceptions.

Federal regulations require that public communications identifies the person or persons who paid for that communication as well as the person or persons who authorized the communication. But the FEC has allowed for exceptions in certain types of communications including pens, bumper stickers, campaign pins, campaign buttons, skywriting, clothing and water towers.

"In the vast majority of these mediums - e.g. television, radio, billboards, magazines, newspapers, and e-mail - it is not inconvenient or impracticable to include a disclaimer," lawyers for the company argue. "With some mediums, however - e.g. bumper stickers, buttons, pens, t-shirts, concert tickets, and text messages - it is inconvenient or impracticable to include a disclaimer."

"Significantly, many of the items specifically enumerated in the ‘small items’ exemption are small because of consumer demand, rather than technological limits. The size of bumper stickers and buttons, for example, are not limited by technology," they argue.

Interesting. I wouldn’t expect the FEC to oppose this.

Al Franken wants answers from Apple on iPhone tracking

Remember the creepy story about your iPhones and 3G-enabled iPads tracking your every movement? Well, you’re not the only one concerned, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., wants answers from Steve Jobs and Apple.

Among Franken’s specific questions to Jobs are:

  • Why did Apple choose to initiate tracking this data in its iOS 4 operating system?
  • Why were Apple consumers never affirmatively informed of the collection and retention of their location data in this manner? Why did Apple not seek affirmative consent before doing so?
  • Does Apple believe this conduct is permissible under the terms of its privacy policy?

Read Franken’s letter here.

Arizona Senate goes birther

It’s kind of amazing that, of all states, Arizona has become the state that has gone the farthest to the right on batshit insane issues. The latest insanity out of Arizona is the state Senate approving a “birther” bill that Orly Taitz would love.

The bill approved Wednesday gives candidates additional ways to prove they meet the constitutional requirements to be president. 

It was prompted by the ongoing claim by some that there is no proof President Barack Obama was born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president. 

It must be tiring to live in Arizona right now, where the inmates have taken control of the asylum.

Donald Trump’s Charlie Sheen gambit

Most people looked at the Charlie Sheen freakout/media obsession as a cautionary tale and perhaps something to be avoided in the future. Donald Trump, apparently, saw it as a blueprint to get to 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.

Maybe he read horrible listicles like this and said, “Screw it, I’m just gonna go full-bore crazy.” Maybe he thought he had to out-do Michele Bachmann. Or maybe he just wanted the attention.

Anyway, Trump has skyrocketed up the Republican primary polls with his Sheen-like “say anything to get in the news” act (although both Nate Silver and Mark Blumenthal say not to fully believe the results that put Trump at the top).

When he felt the attention waning from his incessant talk about how he believes Obama wasn’t born in Kenya, he took action. Like writing a letter with shockingly bad grammar to the New York Times.

Even before Gail Collins was with the New York Times, she has written nasty and derogatory articles about me.  Actually, I have great respect for Ms. Collins in that she has survived so long with so little talent. Her storytelling ability and word usage (coming from me, who has written many bestsellers), is not at a very high level. More importantly, her facts are wrong!

Unfortunately, Dave Weigel pointed out that it was Trump who got his facts wrong by citing “Two of the oldest and flimsiest myths of birtherism!”

Trump took a further step into Sheenlandia with a… thing sent to Vanity Fair.* 

In it, Trump printed out a blog post from a Vanity Fair blog then proceeded to edit it with a sharpie with such insights as “Who is Ben Smith?” and declaring that Julie Weiner is a “Bad writer!”

Trump clearly subscribes to the notion that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Or maybe he is just attempting to shift attention from his ever-shifting positions including on abortion and even his party affiliation:

Trump’s been as fickle on his party affiliation as he has been on abortion: According to the New York Daily News, he registered as a Republican in New York in 1987, then switched to the Independence Party in 1999. At some subsequent point, he became a Democrat before switching back to the Republican Party in 2009.

Some people have said that Trump is merely pretending to run for President to gain attention before sinking back into his reality-show and real estate-basted world. 

If he is, then he’s taking a gamble and possibly alienating portions of the country.

Honestly, it’s pretty much impossible to tell what Trump is trying to do. Kind of like Sheen, he’s pretty much just going out there and attempting to suck all the air out of the room with his antics. 

And for a while, he succeeded. But, as Sheen has found out, this doesn’t mean that the attention will last forever.

And that is, hopefully, the last time I’ll mention Donald Trump in this blog. 

* Though Trump had actually sent this to Vanity Fair well before the letter in The Times. 

Canadian political debate could move because of hockey game

Canada loves their hockey. And those in Montreal love it more than they love political debates, apparently.

A move is afoot to reschedule a federal election debate slated for Thursday so it doesn’t conflict with the opening game of the Montreal Canadiens' first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe got the ball rolling Sunday by saying there’s little doubt hockey-mad Montreal fans will choose the game over the debate.

NDP Leader Jack Layton later echoed those sentiments, the Liberals followed suit, and the Conservatives said they could live with whatever the debate broadcasters decide.

Bloc leader Duceppe wants other party leaders to join him in urging the consortium of broadcasters who organize the debate to move it back a day.

And I learned something from this article: People from Quebec are called Quebecers. 

"The American people have sent letters, emails, telegrams, phone calls, attended town meetings (and) have conferences to try to save this country we love from the fiscal nightmare Chairman Bowles said awaits us if we don’t take real action."

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), speaking on the federal deficit and the lack of a spending budget which could lead to a government shutdown at midnight. It’s unclear how many Americans voiced their opinions via telegram. (via producermatthew)

As I said on Twitter, letters by Pony Express haven’t arrived yet.

Source: matthewkeys

Congressman prefers free-market groping vs. TSA groping

A Republican congressman wants to get the Transportation Security Administration out of the airport security business and give it to a business that happens to be one of his big campaign contributors

For Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida, the way to make travelers feel more comfortable would be to kick TSA employees out of their posts at the ends of the snaking security lines. This month, he wrote letters to nation’s 100 busiest airports asking that they request private security guards instead.

Companies that could gain business if airports heed Mica’s call have helped fill his campaign coffers. In the past 13 years, Mica has received almost $81,000 in campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to some of the private contractors already at 16 U.S. airports.

Sounds good? Well… “contractors must follow all TSA-mandated security procedures, including hand patdowns when necessary.”

In other words, nothing would change except the badge of the person patting you down.

Motor Trend magazine slams Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh lobbed a bomb at Motor Trend magazine because they named the Chevrolet Volt their Car of the Year. And Motor Trend magazine struck back.

Last time you ranted about the Volt, you got confused about the “range,” and said on the air that the car could be driven no more than 40 miles at a time, period. At least you stayed away from that issue this time, but you continue to attack it as the car only a tree hugging, Obama-supporting Government Motors customer would want. As radio loudmouths like you would note, none of those potential customers were to be found after November 2.

Back to us for a moment, our credibility, Mr. Limbaugh, comes from actually driving and testing the car, and understanding its advanced technology. It comes from driving and testing virtually every new car sold, and from doing this once a year with all the all-new or significantly improved models all at the same time. We test, make judgments and write about things we understand.

Chevrolet has not sold one Volt because it’s not on sale yet. It will not sell 10,000 this first model year (although GE plans to buy truckloads for its fleet), because it takes time to ramp up production. See, Rush, because we’re the World’s Automotive Authority, we get access to many cars before they go on sale.

It really is worth a read.

Sharron Angle’s campaign was very poorly run

People were ready to write Harry Reid’s political obituary months ago. His favorable numbers were abysmal and his face as the leader of the Democrats in the Senate were doing him no favors as Democrats were seen as unable to get much done.

But somehow Reid not only survived his election against the Tea-Party-fueled Sharron Angle, he won handily. No recount needed, no late night. Why?

Angle’s campaign was one of the most ineptly-run major campaigns in recent history.

After capturing the nomination, [Angle campaign manager Terry] Campbell was consistently unaware of the daily metrics in the campaign, including the cash-on-hand situation and which advertisements were on the air, according to several Republican operatives who were frequently on conference calls with him.

Every Republican who worked with the campaign and was interviewed for this story recalled how both of Campbell’s voice mail boxes were consistently full and he would often not answer e-mails for days at a time — no matter if he was in his self-described “Command Center” in his Missouri home or on the road with Angle in Nevada. 

In one instance of his haphazard engagement, Campbell called the National Republican Senatorial Committee to inquire if it had heard anything about the president coming to the state and attacking Angle — two days after President Barack Obama visited Nevada to campaign for Reid in July, according to the accounts of three GOP operatives familiar with the conversation. 

Amazing.