Friday, October 31, 2014

Yet Another Georgia Poll

A new Georgia poll is out, this one by Landmark conducted for WSB-TV. It shows:
  • Michelle Nunn tied with David Perdue, 47-47.
  • Nathan Deal ahead of Jason Carter, 48-46.
You can get more specifics about what I assume is a robo-poll, which is about the only way you can survey 1,500 "likely voters" in a single day. As such, use some skepticism when viewing the results. Landmark received a C+ from Nate Silver's pollster rankings given in part because it fails to call cell phones and is not part of the polling transparency programs. According to Silver's analysis, it also leans slightly Republican.

The survey reached 29.3 percent African Americans. Women made up 55.1 percent of the sample. Democrats made up 39.7 percent of the sample, Republicans 46.3 percent. It's unclear, given how little methodology is presented, whether these numbers reflect raw results or were statistically weighted after the poll was conducted. Yes, that can make a difference.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Making Sense of the Senate Races

If you look at this compilation of comparisons about next week's U.S. Senate races, you'll see a consensus that it's going to be a good night to be a Republican. So, how do they stack up for Georgia's race between Nunn and Perdue?
  • Tossup -- three of the predictors rate it a tossup (Cook, Roth, and Sabato).
  • GOP Advantage -- All of the other seven rate it to some degree a Republican win, with the strongest being The Daily Kos at 85 percent and the weakest being the Princeton Election Consortium at 55 percent.
  • Democratic Advantage -- Um, no one in this group suggests such a thing will happen, though there are hints in the data that polls may be underestimating Democratic turnout.
Like many others, I see the Nunn-Perdue race as likely runoff as neither candidate (i.e., Perdue) getting over 50 percent.  The Upshot model puts it as likely a runoff will happen as well. As it reports:
Georgia has had five previous statewide runoff elections. There were two in both 1992 and 2008 — each time for senator and for public service commissioner — and one in 2006 for public service commissioner. In all five of those elections, the Democrat lost.
This, of course, does not bode well for Nunn even if she forces Perdue into a runoff thanks to a Libertarian candidate nibbling away with a percentage point here, a percentage point there.  Democrats simply don't turn out as well in Georgia runoff elections as do Republicans. Assuming Perdue doesn't outsource his campaign strategy, he should -- based on previous turnouts -- win a runoff. All bets are off should he insert his foot squarely into his mouth on some issue, or if real-world events bend the electorate in a Democratic direction.

It'll be really interesting if we end up with Georgia's runoff deciding the fate of the Senate. Local television and radio stations will get rich on the advertising.

The Douchiest Schools

UGA is the only SEC representative to the latest GQ list of "douchiest schools," coming in at #13. A plus? A minus? Hard to say, just as it's hard to say anything at all about how they came up with the list. It is categorized as entertainment and humor, after all, so ya can't take it too seriously.

There's a The Red & Black story, where I first learned of this year's list, or you can go through the list here and wait forever to work your way through click after click to see the rankings and soak up their advertising. Or you can just read them below and at the bottom see the entry for UGA.

The Douchiest List
  1. Brown
  2. Duke (always should be #1)
  3. Princeton
  4. Harvard (that's three out of four Ivy)
  5. Deep Springs (huh?)
  6. Bob Jones (well, yeah)
  7. Amherst
  8. Rollins
  9. Charter College Wasilla (again, huh?)
  10. Colorado
  11. NYU
  12. University of Phoenix (online douches)
  13. University of Georgia (go Douche Dawgs?)
  14. Arizona State
  15. Notre Dame
  16. USC (bust those Trojans)
  17.  University of Chicago
  18. Boston University
  19. Ohio State (should be higher)
  20. Morehouse
  21. Trinity (seems sacrilegious)
  22. Vassar
  23. Randolph-Macon
  24. Texas
  25. Virginia
As for UGA, you can read below their brief explanation. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I've been here 23 years and either I'm missing something or this list deserves #1 on the Douchiest Lists List. You tell me.

Guys & Dolls -- in UGA Majors

While doing something else with the data, I decided to look at UGA majors and their gender breakdown. In other words, what majors are mostly female, what majors are mostly male? My analysis is based on Fall 2013 data, the latest I have at my fingertips. Setting aside the majors with fewer than 10 people, the winners are ... well, a lot of 'em. These include all levels, from undergrad to grad.

Majors 100 Percent Female

Foods and Nutrition (MS)
Furnishings and Interiors
Reading Education
Special Education
Textiles, Merchandising & Interiors

As you can see above, these all-female majors are located in two colleges (Family and Consumer Sciences and Education). I doubt this really surprises anyone. Okay, what about the guys? Where are they?

Majors 100 Percent Male

Turfgrass Management

That's it, just one, at least among majors with 10 or more students. In the also-ran categories are Computer Systems Engineering (6.9 percent female), Physics (8.0 percent female), Electrical and Electronics Engineering (9.1 percent female), and Engineering (9.1 percent female). Wow, see a STEMish trend above? Of course you do, because my tens of readers worldwide are quick to grasp the data.

"Yeah yeah," you say, "Hollander always focuses on the negative. Are there any balanced majors?" Glad you asked.

Majors 50 Percent Both Gender

Animal and Dairy Science
Applied Biotechnology
Educational Psychology
General Business
National Resource Recreation & Tourism
Interdisciplinary Studies
Marine Sciences
Plant Pathology
Science Education
Social Studies Eeducation
Workforce Education

There's no real trend above that I can see. It's an interesting mix of science and education and even some business tossed into the mix.

If I had time, I'd look at trends over time. But as you may know the Georgia-Florida game is this Saturday and down here we start drinking early to properly prepare ourselves. It's our burden.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Latest Georgia Poll

Good story via the AJC on the latest Georgia polling. I'm going to focus just on the U.S. Senate race between Michelle Nunn and David Perdue. According to the poll (more details on it here):
  •  Perdue 49 percent
  • Nunn 41 percent
If you're a Perdue fan you're loving it. If you're a Nunn fan, not so much. But this is an interesting poll. It uses humans to call landlines and cell phones, the "gold standard" of polling. That's a plus. It only called 436 likely voters. That's a small N, so small that the margin of error is 4.7 percent. In other words, based on the margin of error:
  • Nunn's real number could be from 36.3 - 48.7 percent.
  • Perdue's real number could be from 44.3 to 53.7 percent.
 So the numbers overlap, meaning from a strictly statistical sense it's a tie. Still, you also look at trends and some of the more recent polls have all showed Perdue ahead, so the real question to me isn't so much who will get the most votes next week as it is whether Nunn can keep it to a runoff in which, historically, she's likely to lose anyway. But that's another post for another day, necessary only if there is a runoff.

Interestingly, this poll is 55 percent female and, even so, Nunn does poorly. I'm not sure exactly what that means, if anything. There's no racial breakdown provided, but the poll does a nice job of find likely voters. See below:
Georgia voters drawn from a list of registered voters who voted in at least one of the last four general or primary elections and indicate they are likely to vote in the upcoming election.

Slouching Toward a Curriculum

The UGA journalism department, now made up of the old j-dept. and broadcast news, voted earlier today on its new curriculum. I wrote about it some time ago and the latest version looks close enough to it to let earlier version be your guide. Basically it's heavy on skills classes, heavy on newsroom work, heavy on students getting exposure to lots of different skills, such as work in video. The old 3410 lecture-lab class, for example, will go away. Students will do capstone classes tied either to the broadcast of NewsSource or work to put stuff on its web site (plus, of course, still doing stuff for R&B, etc.). Specialties include investigative reporting and there are classes in data and coding.

There were two votes against it, perhaps due to the overly undergrad aspect to the curriculum and its lack of flexibility, both reasonable arguments. One of the negative voters asked three or four questions, but never offered explicit criticisms. The other "no" vote didn't say a thing. In full disclosure, I'm not as happy about the new curriculum as others are, but I think it's an interesting approach and worth a try. I worry we may be creating generalists, not specialists. But I may be wrong (words, by the way, you'd never hear uttered by our two "no" vote faculty who, best I can tell after all these years, are never wrong about anything. Nor do they ever laugh at funny stuff in meetings. Sheesh.).

Okay, so what's next? The package of classes is sent later today to the Grady College curriculum committee. Assuming no problems there, it'll go to the Dec. 10 meeting of the entire Grady faculty. Assuming no problems there (yeah, yeah, lots of assuming), it'll head "up the hill" to the university curriculum process.

We hope to have a new and improved curriculum in place by Spring 2015. Nothing happens fast at a big university, unless of course the president or provost or athletic department really want it, then stuff happens really really fast. Funny how that works.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Topsy Turvy Georgia Senate Race

A fresh new SurveyUSA poll is just out and it flips the Nunn-Perdue U.S. Senate race. As they report:
One week ago, Nunn led Republican David Perdue by 2 points, 46% to 44%. Today, in a dramatic reversal, Perdue is on top, 48% to 45%, a 5-point right turn in one of the nation’s most high-visibility contests.
So, huh? Is this real movement? A statistical blip? They make a lot of that "5-point right turn" when, honestly, all of this is within the margin of error. There's some interesting stuff, though. For example:
Among women, where Perdue had trailed by 13 points and now trails by just 2. And among core Republicans, where Perdue’s 84-point advantage is the largest it has been in 7 WXIA-TV tracking polls going back to 08/18/14. There is movement to Perdue among seniors, where he now leads by 25 points. Worse for Nunn: among voters who tell SurveyUSA they have already returned a ballot, Perdue leads by 10 points.
That doesn't bode well for you Nunn fans. Yes, this is a robo-poll, but so was the previous one.  

If I have time, I'll dig deeper into the weighting and such to try and understand what, if anything, is happening.