Google Trends for Campaigns

Over the past few years we have seen Google Trends becoming quite ubiquitous in politics. Pundits have used Google seach trends as talking points. It is not uncommon to hear news about a candidates search trends the days following a town hall or significant rally. It seems that Google trends are becoming the go to proxy for a candidate’s salience. As a campaign, you are interested in the popularity of a candidate relative to another one.

Web-scraping for Campaigns

As the primaries approach, I am experiencing a mix of angst, FOMO, and excitement. One of my largest concerns is that progressive campaigns are stuck in a sort of antiquated but nonetheless entrenched workflow. Google Sheets reign in metric reporting. Here I want to present one use case (of a few more to come) where R can be leveraged by your data team. In this post I show you how to scrape the most recent polling data from FiveThirtyEight.

The Fallacy of one person, one vote

On October 6, 2018, the US Senate voted 50–48 in favor of the appointment of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This led many pundits to point out a “disconnect” between the Senate and the body politic. The 50 senators who voted “yea” represent only 44% of the nation’s population. The year prior, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by 54 senators representing approximately 45% of the population.

The Cost of Gridlock

Originally posted via Boston Area Research Initiative The nation heaved a sigh of relief as President Trump signed a bill on Friday, January 25th, that ended the longest government shutdown in US history. This bill, the Continuing Appropriation Act, provides enough funding to keep the government open until February 15th. After thirty-four days of turmoil for federal workers, it is hard to believe that in another three short weeks, the government can shutdown once again.

US Representation: Part I

Before the United States created the Constitution, something called the Articles of Confederation defined what the US Government would look like. It was the first attempt at creating some sort of agreement between the 13 original states to form a central government. In the end, the Articles of Confederation made the new central government too weak to accomplish anything. Then, in 1787 representatives from each state met in Philadelphia to entirely scrap the Articles of Confederation in a meeting that became known as the Constitutional Convention.