Political Analytics 2017 Looks Closely at the Role of Data in Elections, Media, and More

April 12, 2017
PA 2017

FiveThirtyEight, the New York Times, and Google were among many organizations represented at the second annual Political Analytics Conference, co-sponsored by CAPS and IQSS.

Political Analytics is a one-day conference at Harvard which aims to "highlight and showcase how emerging forms of analytics are changing the way we understand politics in the 21st century." The event is organized by Ryan Enos, Kirk Goldsberry, Shannon McGregor, and Stephen Pettigrew, and it is co-sponsored by the Center for American Political Studies and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

PA 2017
An undergraduate team presents its findings from the Hackathon. Photo credit: Marth Stewart

This year's conference was accompanied by a hackathon. Participating undergraduates had the opportunity to used datasets provided by L2 and the Cooperative Congressional Election Study to answer questions such as: whether turnout or vote switching was a bigger influence on the election result, whether college students were particularly demotivated to participate, and what role racial animus played in the result of the election. Some participants were then invited to share their findings at the conference.

PA 2017
Lynn Vavreck moderates a forecasting discussion between Nate Silver and Nate Cohn. Photo credit: Marth Stewart

The conference included panel discussions on election forecasting, identity politics, news media, and various approaches to analytics. Its many participating speakers included Nate Silver (FiveThirtyEight), Tracy Dietz (L2), Wesley Morris (The New York Times), Kathy Cramer (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Steve Kornacki (MSNBC).

PA 2017
Undergraduate students have a discussion between panels. Photo credit: Marth Stewart

Thank you to all speakers and attendees who joined in the conversation at Political Analytics 2017!