Nov 182016

With the vote mostly counted in the US, PS have posted a useful summary of the Political Science Forecasting Models for that infamous election.

By and large, and in neat contrast to the current fad for self-flagellation, the augurs of the discipline have done well. Eight of the ten predictions that were published in PS got the winner of the popular vote right. Not that it would make a difference. Somewhat ironically, Norpoth’s Primary Model that I had (incorrectly) credited  on that gloomy Wednesday morning with predicting a Trump victory performed worst.  But in fairness to HN, his model has by far the longest lead.

Oct 222016

Which publishers are the most relevant for Radical Right research? Good question.

Radical Right research by type of publication

Currently, most of the items in the The Eclectic, Erratic Bibliography on the Extreme Right in Western Europe (TM) are journal articles. The books/chapters/articles ratios have shifted somewhat over the years, reflecting both general trends in publishing and my changing reading habits, and by now the dominance of journal articles is rather striking.

Radical Right research by type of publication

The most important journals for Radical Right research (add pinch of salt as required)

One in three of this articles has been published in one of the four apparent top journals for Radical Right research: the European Journal of Political Research, West European Politics, Party Politics, and Acta Politica. I say ’apparent’ here, because this result may be a function of my (Western) Eurocentrism and my primary interest in Political Science and Sociology. Other Social Sciences are underrepresented, and literature from national journals that publish in other languages than English is virtually absent.

But hey: Laying all scruples aside, here is a table of the ten most important journals for Radical Right research:

Journal No. of articles
European Journal of Political Research 38
West European Politics 35
Party Politics 24
Acta Politica 22
Electoral Studies 15
Parliamentary Affairs 13
Patterns of Prejudice 12
Comparative European Politics 10
Comparative Political Studies 10
Government and Opposition 9

Neat, isn’t it?

I did a similar analysis nearly two years ago. Government and Opposition as well as Comparative European Politics are new additions to the top ten (replacing Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft and Osteuropa), but otherwise, the picture is much the same. So if you publish on the Radical Right and want your research to be noticed, you should probably aim for these journals.

Oct 202016

For the past 15 years or so, I have maintained an extensive collection of references on the Radical/Extreme/Populist/New/Whatever Right in Western Europe. Because I love TeX and other command line tools of destruction, these references live in a large BibTeX file. BibTeX is a well-documented format for bibliographic text files that has been around for decades and can be written and read by a large number of reference managers.

Because BibTeX is so venerable, it’s unsurprising that there is even an R package (RefManageR) that can read and write BibTeX files, effectively turning bibliographic data into a dataset that can be analysed, graphed and otherwise mangled to one’s heart’s desire. And so my totally unscientific analysis of the Radical Right literature (as reflected in my personal preferences and interests) is just three lines of code away:

# read
ex <- ReadBib("/home/kai/Work/bibliography/xr-bibliography/extreme-right-western-europe-bibliography.bib")
year publications
2014 34
2012 38
2000 42
2002 54
2015 57

So 2012, 2014 and 2015(!) saw a lot of publications that ended up on my list, but 2000 and particularly 2002 (the year Jean-Marie Le Pen made it into the second round of the French presidential election) were not bad either. 2013 and 2003 (not listed) were also relatively strong years, with 33 publications each.

To get a more complete overview, it’s best to plot the whole time series (ignoring some very old titles):


There is a distinct upwards trend all through the 1990s, a post-millenial decline in the mid-naughties (perhaps due to the fact that I completed a book manuscript then and became temporarily negligent in my collector’s duties, but I don’t think so), and then a new peak during the last five years, undoubtedly driven by recent political events and countless eager postdocs and PhD students. I’m just beginning to understand the structure of data objects that RefManageR creates from my bibliography, but I think it’s time for some league tables next.

Jul 142016

An update on the state of the Handbook of Electoral Behaviour

The forthcoming Sage Handbook of Electoral Behaviour has just “moved into production”. That is certainly a good thing, but no, I don’t know what that entails exactly either. Editing such a tome is great fun if you observe a small set of simple rules:

  1. Pick great authors whose work doesn’t need editing in the first place.
  2. Work with great colleagues who do the remaining bits of heavy lifting, and
  3. try not to get in their way.

Thanks to my following these golden rules, the book should be out in late 2016.

Draft chapter: Electoral Research and Technology – free for now

My own contribution has been rather modest: I’ve penned a (and finally revised) a chapter on electoral research and technology. That again was a fun exercise, as I’m going on and on about about the highly seductive structure of multi-level and other complex data, the joy of social network analysis, the temptation of spatial regression, and even (in passing) the adventures of Bayesian statistics. The cool thing about being one’s own editor is that there is not much editorial interference.

Now that the book is in “production” (see above), it should be out by the end of the year, but you can read the draft of “Psephology and Technology, or: The Rise and Rise of the Script-Kiddie” here. Heck, there is even a Psephology and Technology PDF available for download.

Nov 092015

Taking a walk whilst running two variants of a slightly dodgy LTA in parallel on 64 of this baby’s 35,000-odd cores (to please a grumpy reviewer). Feeling like a proper scientist for a change. Needless to say that the whole thing shut down 35 minutes into the world’s fastest MPlus run, because the wardrobe-sized cooling unit broke down. Never happened on my desktop.


Mogon. Image Credit: ZDV JGU Mainz


Nov 072015

On a balmy evening in August, I was lounging in the garden with a dead-tree copy of Perspectives on Politics (as you do), and stumbled across a rather spirited, well-written editorial attack by Jeffrey C. Isaac on the Data Access & Research Transparency (DA-RT) manifesto. So far, I had had only the vaguest awareness of the DA-RT movement (which took off five years ago), presumably because I’m a happy little data junkie for whom most of the demands and ideas make intuitive sense. Nonetheless, I can see the merit of some of the counter-arguments,  and Isaac provides some interesting context. Although I went to APSA a couple of weeks later, I did not attend any DA-RT-related panels, and basically forgot about it.DartsTarget

What is DA-RT, and why should you care?

And now, three months later, controversy is all over what remains of the Political Science blogosphere. Over at the Plot, Isaac repeats his key arguments against DA-RT, and comments on some recent developments. If you are not interested in the context provided by his original article, that is the place to look. At the Duck, Jarrod Hayes is also not very fond of DA-RT, stressing the problems it would create for researchers doing qualitative interviews. On the other hand, Nicole Janz, who is on a worthy mission to promote reproducibility in Political Science with her replication blog, mocks a recent “petition”, so far signed by more than 600 colleagues (linked from the article) as “Political Scientists Trying to Delay Research Transparency”. John Patty, who has signed up DA-RT, gives the petition another beating:  “Responding To A Petition To Nobody (Or Everybody)”. There is even a twitter handle @DARTsupporters, that posts the odd congratulatory message when another journal editor signs up to DA-RT (follow at your own peril, as this implies supporting DA-RT, according to the bio). I predict much fun and merriment ahead in Political Science in months to come.dart
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Oct 312015

Here is an update on our work on surveybias.

How can we usefully summarise the accuracy of an election opinion poll compared to the real result of an election? In this blog, we describe a score we have devised to allow people to see how different polls compare in their reflection of the final election result, no matter how many parties or candidates are standing. This index, B, can be compared across time, polling company and even election to provide a simple demonstration of how the polls depicted public opinion in the run-up to polling-day

Source: How to measure opinion poll inaccuracy in elections – The Plot

Oct 272015

Polling data is ubiquitous in today’s world, but it is is often difficult to easily understand the accuracy of polls. In a recent paper published in Political Analysis, Kai Arzheimer and Jocelyn Evans developed a new methodology for assessing the accuracy of polls in multiparty and multi-candidate elections.

Source: Polling accuracy: a Q&A with Kai Arzheimer and Jocelyn Evans | OUPblog

Oldies but goldies. For installing/updating the ado, checkout SSC. And here is even more background material on surveybias.

Oct 082015

Just how badly biased is your pre-election survey? Once the election results are in, our scalar measures B and B_w provide convenient, single number summaries. Our surveybias add-on for Stata will calculate these and other measures from either raw data or from published margins. Its latest iteration (version 1.4) has just appeared on SSC. Surveybias 1.4 improves on the previous version by ditching the last remnants of the old numerical approximation code for calculating standard errors and is hence much faster in many applications. Install it now from within Stata by typing

ssc install surveybias