Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Meet the middle

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Will we be going 3D?

    I've been looking at it like that on my workstation, but I don't know how to give that out on the web. It would need some kind of java applet or something...

    I could show a 3D model in 2D if I could rotate it to find something useful to look at. But essentially that's what PCA is doing anyway - you're looking at this data rotated for maximal interest and then projected onto 2D. In this case, 95% of what is interesting is actually there in those 2 dimensions anyway - a third dimension might add like 2% to it. This is the whole point of PCA. It's a way of reducing dimensions so that we can look at them. The data underlying the graph has as many dimensions as there are variables shown there. The analysis just turned the whole thing around in every dimension until the data looked nice and spread out, so you can look at it (it also scales and centers it)

    It would be fun to rotate it around, but ultimately not particularly illuminating. This doesn't alway happen though. I'll be sure to show you anything I do find that's cool in 3D. I expect when I add in questions that are more differentiating for the small parties that less of the information would be captured in the first dimension here.

    That's really where I'm going with this. It's kind of cool that you can pretty much gauge left-vs-right on the subset of questions here, so long as you go with Rob's view that left and right are defined relative to the two major parties. I think it's also somewhat illuminating, that the right here are mostly the beneficiary and union bashing questions rather than broader questions of economic organization or management. That's possibly an actual insight, at least for Labour, and for all of us trying to comprehend what moving to the right actually means. It means, quite literally, moving toward those variables which (confusingly) are shown on the left, clustered around National and ACT.

    I'm not convinced, looking at this, that the pickings in that direction are really that rich for Labour. But this graph is, once again, very much a subset of political opinion questions. I want to get to a situation where most of the variables are clustered around most of the votes. This graph is not like that, and if one didn't know that National is dominant, one might think the majority of NZers were voting left.

    What that shows is that the questions here are not adequate to explain their voting behaviour. Many have said that valence issues are bigger than policy and positioning ones...I'd like to be able to confirm that, when I get the time. Gut feeling is that it's true.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'd actually like to get the answers for more meta-questions, like:
    - have you always voted for the same party?
    - how do your parents vote?
    - when do you make up your mind on how to vote?

    Also, maybe a longitudinal study on how attitudes shift during elections?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    There's tons of interesting stuff to dig out of those surveys. The parental voting and when people made up their minds is certainly covered.

    Studying the voting across time is done to some extent, both in questions about how people voted last time, and also in actual comparisons for individuals that span multiple surveys. That's longitudinal, but I don't know how far it goes back.

    I'm quite interested also in questions about how people behave when they change their vote, either to another party or to not-voting. So many questions, so little time.

    You've got the skills, surely, Rich. Have a dig, see what you find.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to BenWilson,

    but I don't know how to give that out on the web. It would need some kind of java applet or something...

    This may be the go, if you're using SAS...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    I probably won't be using it. That was just because someone who already had a bunch of SAS code helped me out. I can use SAS, but I still prefer R. I can share the code with you guys and you don't have to buy SAS, which is really quite expensive.

    Not to mention that it's patriotic to use R, as well as fully righteous. Join the revolution! you have nothing to lose but your IP chains.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to BenWilson,

    All my coding bandwidth outside my job is taken up with making arduino controlled blinkies. Maybe after Burning Seed.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Maybe after Burning Seed.

    Nah Mate, take the seeds out, much better burn. :-D

    arduino controlled blinkies.

    Yeah, I end up doing that too and I had such high hopes. ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to BenWilson,

    Not to mention that it's patriotic to use R, as well as fully righteous. Join the revolution! you have nothing to lose but your IP chains.

    Arrrgh.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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