Thursday, January 22, 2015

State of the University

In UGA President Jere Morehead's "State of the University" address, what were the most used words? Glad you asked. Below, the top words, the number of mentions in parentheses:

1. University (60)
2. Research (40)
3. Georgia (37)
4. Year (28)
5. (tie) Students (27)
5. (tie) Faculty (27)
7. New (22)
8. Learning (20)
9. State (19)
10. Campus (18)

What's this mean? Not much, really. Oddly, "million" was mentioned 13 times, every time tied to some dollar amount.

Georgia and Transportation

Transportation in Georgia is important, but paying more taxes to improve roads and the like? Less support. A new poll, however, found Georgians are willing to dicker and compromise. You'll find the crosstabs here, and look especially at Questions 2 and 3.

This Landmark poll of 800 Georgians has a 3.5 percent margin of error. What I can't find, just breezing through it, is more on how the poll was conducted. Odds are it's a robo-poll (landline only), given Landmark's history, or a robo and some online polling aimed at cell phone users -- as you cannot have a computer call cell phones, at least legally, to conduct a robo-poll.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Summing Up Obama

So Pew asked survey respondents to sum up President Obama in one word. The graphic below illustrates the results:




What's fun for me is the A**hole/Jacka** category provided by five people (these are numbers, not percentages). Charming.

Also fascinating is the table below in terms of change over time. Keep in mind the changes are small, despite their ordering, but look how "Intelligent" led at first and then dropped, while "Good" moved up. "Socialist" was high in 2009 but kinda dropped to be replaced by "Incompetent." Not sure which is worse.






Thursday, January 15, 2015

Out of Sorts

For my tens of readers worldwide I apologize for not writing much lately. Various health issues have intruded to sap my motivation. I will return to something resembling regularity once I get a couple more doc visits out of the way and my mind can focus.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

School Districts

Many counties have only one school district. Some have two or three (a city or two, as well as the county).  And then there's Cook County, Illinois (Chicago area).  According to data I'm messing with, there are 149 different school districts in Cook County.  That's by far the most of any county in the U.S. Second place, with a mere 84 different school districts, belongs to Los Angeles. Third place is Bergan, New Jersey, with 74 districts.

Who cares? Probably no one. I'm fiddling with school district poverty data and got curious, so I suppose I care just a little, enough to post it here. So allow me to dazzle bore you with some numbers.

(oh, also this great new ProPublica database may help you understand why the number and types of school districts might possibly be important)

There are 3,144 counties (or county equivalents) in the U.S. and of these, 2,195 have more than one district. Or to put it another way, 949 (or about 30 percent) have a single district. These are mostly rural counties, of course, and the data excludes private schools.

Where I live, in Georgia, there are 159 counties and 193 school districts, thus a few counties clearly have multiple districts. DeKalb has three, which you might expect given it's in Atlanta, but so does little Jackson County (and a few others, like Hall and Carroll counties). Many have two. Most have one. It's Georgia, after all.

None of this gets at the poverty numbers. That's another challenge for another day.

UPDATE

If you see the comments below, someone pointed out an interesting point that my numbers are off. I'm headed out the door and won't have access to the data for a bit, but if it'll work I'll list below all the school districts listed in the federal database (193 districts). I see at least one repeat for some reason (Vidalia in there twice, but two different counties, Montgomery and Toombs). Atlanta City is in there twice. Here's the list below. The Georgia DOE says there's 181. I'll need to do some cleaning.


1 Appling County School District
2 Atkinson County School District
3 Atlanta City School District
4 Atlanta City School District
5 Bacon County School District
6 Baker County School District
7 Baldwin County School District
8 Banks County School District
9 Barrow County School District
10 Bartow County School District
11 Ben Hill County School District
12 Berrien County School District
13 Bibb County School District
14 Bleckley County School District
15 Brantley County School District
16 Bremen City School District
17 Bremen City School District
18 Brooks County School District
19 Bryan County School District
20 Buford City School District
21 Buford City School District
22 Bulloch County School District
23 Burke County School District
24 Butts County School District
25 Calhoun City School District
26 Calhoun County School District
27 Camden County School District
28 Candler County School District
29 Carroll County School District
30 Carrollton City School District
31 Cartersville City School District
32 Catoosa County School District
33 Charlton County School District
34 Chatham County School District
35 Chattahoochee County School District
36 Chattooga County School District
37 Cherokee County School District
38 Chickamauga City School District
39 Clarke County School District
40 Clay County School District
41 Clayton County School District
42 Clinch County School District
43 Cobb County School District
44 Coffee County School District
45 Colquitt County School District
46 Columbia County School District
47 Commerce City School District
48 Cook County School District
49 Coweta County School District
50 Crawford County School District
51 Crisp County School District
52 Dade County School District
53 Dalton City School District
54 Dawson County School District
55 DeKalb County School District
56 Decatur City School District
57 Decatur County School District
58 Dodge County School District
59 Dooly County School District
60 Dougherty School District
61 Douglas County School District
62 Dublin City School District
63 Early County School District
64 Echols County School District
65 Effingham County School District
66 Elbert County School District
67 Emanuel County School District
68 Evans County School District
69 Fannin County School District
70 Fayette County School District
71 Floyd County School District
72 Forsyth County School District
73 Fort Benning Schools
74 Fort Benning Schools
75 Fort Stewart School District
76 Fort Stewart School District
77 Fort Stewart School District
78 Fort Stewart School District
79 Fort Stewart School District
80 Franklin County School District
81 Fulton County School District
82 Gainesville City School District
83 Gilmer County School District
84 Glascock County School District
85 Glynn County School District
86 Gordon County School District
87 Grady County School District
88 Greene County School District
89 Gwinnett County School District
90 Habersham County School District
91 Hall County School District
92 Hancock County School District
93 Haralson County School District
94 Harris County School District
95 Hart County School District
96 Heard County School District
97 Henry County School District
98 Houston County School District
99 Irwin County School District
100 Jackson County School District
101 Jasper County School District
102 Jeff Davis County School District
103 Jefferson City School District
104 Jefferson County School District
105 Jenkins County School District
106 Johnson County School District
107 Jones County School District
108 Lamar County School District
109 Lanier County School District
110 Laurens County School District
111 Lee County School District
112 Liberty County School District
113 Lincoln County School District
114 Long County School District
115 Lowndes County School District
116 Lumpkin County School District
117 Macon County School District
118 Madison County School District
119 Marietta City School District
120 Marion County School District
121 Mcduffie County School District
122 Mcintosh County School District
123 Meriwether County School District
124 Miller County School District
125 Mitchell County School District
126 Monroe County School District
127 Montgomery County School District
128 Morgan County School District
129 Murray County School District
130 Muscogee County School District
131 Newton County School District
132 Oconee County School District
133 Oglethorpe County School District
134 Paulding County School District
135 Peach County School District
136 Pelham City School District
137 Pickens County School District
138 Pierce County School District
139 Pike County School District
140 Polk County School District
141 Pulaski County School District
142 Putnam County School District
143 Quitman County School District
144 Rabun County School District
145 Randolph County School District
146 Richmond County School District
147 Robins AFB School District
148 Rockdale County School District
149 Rome City School District
150 Schley County School District
151 Screven County School District
152 Seminole County School District
153 Social Circle City School District
154 Social Circle City School District
155 Spalding County School District
156 Stephens County School District
157 Stewart County School District
158 Sumter County School District
159 Talbot County School District
160 Taliaferro County School District
161 Tattnall County School District
162 Taylor County School District
163 Telfair County School District
164 Terrell County School District
165 Thomas County School District
166 Thomasville City School District
167 Tift County School District
168 Toombs County School District
169 Towns County School District
170 Treutlen County School District
171 Trion City School District
172 Troup County School District
173 Turner County School District
174 Twiggs County School District
175 Union County School District
176 Upson County School District
177 Valdosta City School District
178 Vidalia City School District
179 Vidalia City School District
180 Walker County School District
181 Walton County School District
182 Ware County School District
183 Warren County School District
184 Washington County School District
185 Wayne County School District
186 Webster County School District
187 Wheeler County School District
188 White County School District
189 Whitfield County School District
190 Wilcox County School District
191 Wilkes County School District
192 Wilkinson County School District
193 Worth County School District







Poll Transparency


Polls are everywhere. And it's hard to tell a good survey from a bad survey. And what's worse, it's hard to sometimes tell how a poll was conducted. The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) has a transparency initiative designed to help (full disclosure -- I'm a member of AAPOR, though I need to pay my dues soon). It remains to be seen just how many pollsters or those who do survey work actually sign on. There are only 10 charter members so far. Some sites and aggregators, like 538, often give points to pollsters that are transparent or belong to initiatives like this, at least in their final grading scheme.

My guess? Lots of polling firms will not join because they don't want to reveal exactly how they do their surveys. We'll see.



Monday, December 22, 2014

Ranking the States

There's been a remarkable shift in where undergrads at UGA come from when you look at the states. Essentially, neighboring states have been supplanted by other, larger states -- at least in terms of sending full-time undergrads here.

Setting aside Georgia, which obviously sends the most undergrads to the University of Georgia, in 1998 the top ranked state was South Carolina. By 2014 it had slipped six spots. Tennessee slipped four spots. See the list below.

Rank by Year
State 1998 2014
Georgia 1 1
South Carolina 2 8
Tennessee 3 7
Florida 4 4
North Carolina 5 2
Virginia 6 5
Alabama 7 16
Louisiana 8 12
New York 9 11
Texas 10 3

Look how Texas has moved up, Alabama down. California (not listed above) went from 16th to 9th in 2014.

When I have time I'll map it out, but if I did you'd see the greatest percentage change lies in Texas (235.9 percent increase), from 78 students to 262 students. Setting aside small places that send relatively few students (meaning a drop of 2 to 1 comes out huge in percentages, but small in real numbers), the biggest drop is South Carolina (-63.7 percent, or 209 students fewer in 2014 than in 1998).

Okay, why?

One hypothesis is that UGA has gotten so difficult to get into, at least compared to nearby major universities, that it's attracting smart kids from elsewhere (North Carolina, Texas, etc.). Another hypothesis, I suppose, is that universities in Alabama and nearby states have improved and have drawn more of their own students back into the fold. I'd lean toward the former, not the latter, especially if you look at the academic comparisons of UGA to, say, Bama or South Carolina.A final hypothesis may be that UNC and Texas-Austin have become so very competitive that good, but not quite good enough, students are coming to UGA as opposed to a second tier school in their own state. That's a reasonable hypothesis as well, one I have no way of testing.