[-empyre-] election algorithms

William C. Leiss wcl54 at cornell.edu
Mon Nov 19 05:23:23 EST 2012

As an update to my comments on political risks in Europe, see this important article from the Nov. 18 edition of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/opinion/sunday/europes-new-fascists.html?hp 

William Leiss
Society for the Humanities
211 A. D. White House, 27 East Avenue
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-1101
Tel. 607-255-9279
Fax 607-255-1422

From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Christina Spiesel [christina.spiesel at yale.edu]
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2012 3:17 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: [-empyre-] election algorithms


and as background:

Dear All,

I see that Leiss has already replied. Nevertheless, readers might find
the links above useful. Being data driven is useful but only with
critical thinking before/behind/ion front/ to the side of it. After all,
it matters what questions are asked, what data is kept, how it is
structured for retrieval  and what human sense we make out of it. Even
then, one of the best investments in moving people to actually vote is
in personal human contact. Clearly the Obama team was good at it and the
Romney team unbelievably poor (see above) but isn't it possible to see
that the difference in data games arises in part from the political
positions of the competitors. If the Republicans think 47% of the people
are unworthy and don't matter, those ideas will skew the data gathering.
If, like Obama, they had believed that they needed to energize a large
section of the electorate they would have done differently. All of this
leads me to believe that we are very far from turning elections over to
technologists and we shouldn't think that that is a good idea.

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