As part of my pre-Thanksgiving clean-up, I have finally gotten around to posting the data sets and documentation for three surveys my colleagues and I did in 2007 and 2008 to gauge the quality of American elections. The studies were funded by Pew, as part of their Make Voting Work Initiative, along with the late, great JEHT Foundation and AARP (for the Nov. ’08 study). The studies were conducted in November 2007 (gubernatorial races in KY, LA, and MS), February 2008 (15 Super Tuesday states), and November 2008 (all 50 states). Lots of questions about how well elections were run, from the perspective of voters, plus some questions about why non-voters didn’t vote.
The data are all on the MIT dSpace site: http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/5523
One feature of these datasets is that we did parallel administrations using the Internet and telephone (random digit dialing), so people interested in how these two survey modes differ should find things of interest to them there.
Here’s a link to a story about this study, to be published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that claims that traffic deaths are higher than expected otherwise on Election Day.
Here’s a quick summary of the study:
The researchers looked at traffic-related deaths during polling hours on presidential Election Days and the two Tuesdays before and afterward over 30 years.
There were 3,417 total deaths, including 1,265 on election days. The Election Day average was 158, versus 134 on the other Tuesdays. The crashes involved drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Correlation or causation? Hard to say, I’m not able to yet download and read this study. But I’ll try to dig it up later today, and to also monitor what other researchers say about this study once they have had a chance to look it over.
I did a short piece on Friday afternoon, with KPCC-FM’s Patt Morrison, on swing voters in the 2008 presidential election. I know it’s not exactly voting technology and election administration, but it might be of interest to readers. Here’s the link to the audio clip.
Now as the primaries heat up, I would like to point you to a project by my colleague Arno Scharl from the Modul University here in Vienna, Austria. It’s the a follow up to the Election Monitor he did for the 2004 presidential elections.
He uses semantic web technology to analyze both the attention and sentiments given to candidates in online media (news, blogs, etc.) worldwide – it can also be segmented by countries (US, CA, UK, AU/NZ) as well as different types of media (news, political blogs).
For example you can compare the attention given to Clinton in comparison to Obama. While the attention for the latter stays the same over the past, Clinton still getting the most attention is loosing attraction for the media. Unfortunately we have to wait for the next update (due tomorrow) to include the results of the first primaries in this analysis. It gives quite a good insight, so be sure to check it out.