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This year’s NHL trade deadline saw quite a few transactions — 74 veteran players switched teams in the month leading up to (and including) the March 2 moratorium — and some of the moves could shift the league’s balance of power with the playoffs a little more than a month away.

In anticipation of Monday’s cutoff, we listed about 35 likely trade candidates and their possession metrics, to get a sense of who the advanced statistics would favor if any of them were dealt. But now that all the deals have been cut, how highly do the numbers regard the big names moved at the deadline?

It totally depends on which numbers you look at. Conventional stats — such as goals, assists and plus-minus, as synthesized into point shares above replacement (PSAR) — favor players like newly acquired Detroit winger Erik Cole. Cole bounced back from a pair of down seasons to average a goal every three or so games with a +4 rating (on a Dallas team that’s -11 overall) before being traded. That performance was enough to lead all deadline acquisitions in 2014-15 PSAR. But as we’ve learned, the NHL’s #EnhancedStats movement emphasizes more than traditional counting statistics.

Advanced metrics such as Corsi and Fenwick (ahem, “shot attempts” and “unblocked shot attempts”) started a trend in player evaluation of focusing on his ability to improve his team’s puck-possession rate while on the ice. If possession is a reliable path to team success, the reasoning goes, you want to stock your roster with players most associated with strong team possession rates when they’re in the game.

Now, Stephen Burtch’s Delta Corsi (dCorsi) and Domenic Galamini’s Usage-Adjusted Corsi have pushed attempts to isolate a skater’s effect on his team’s possession rate even further. The relatively new twist provided by those stats? Attempting to account for player-usage factors — such as position played, teammate and opponent quality, zone starts and even faceoff winning percentages in dCorsi’s case — on a player’s possession rate in addition to looking at on-ice versus off-ice differences.

In the past, you’d have to eyeball a player’s workload and usage as a means of context for, say, his relative Corsi. But these new stats attempt to bake those contextual factors into a single number by comparing a player’s actual possession rate to what we’d expect of an average NHL player at his position if placed in the same situations.1

You might think there’d be a decent amount of crossover between conventional numbers and these new possession-based advanced stats, but the correlation is practically nonexistent. Rescaling PSAR against an average baseline to make an apples-to-apples comparison, I found essentially no relationship with Burtch’s dCorsi Impact (which gives players more credit for maintaining strong possession rates relative to average in greater amounts of ice time) this season:


Take Cole again. Despite his solid counting stats and a very good point share tally, Dallas’s possession rate when Cole was on the ice was actually lower than what would be expected from an average player in the same situations with the same teammates and opponents. Or take FiveThirtyEight favorite Jaromir Jagr, whose relatively down conventional stats belie a player still capable of driving play with the proverbial skills that don’t show up in the box score.

They’re not alone among the bigger-name deadline acquisitions. Much was made when the Arizona Coyotes shipped away center Antoine Vermette and defenseman Keith Yandle. Both players were solid PSAR contributors for Arizona this season but also ranked among the least valuable dCorsi players at their respective positions.

Meanwhile, Zbynek Michalek, another former Coyote, boasted extremely unimpressive counting numbers (8 points and a -6 rating in 53 games) even by the standards of his position but ranks as one of the best defensemen in hockey according to dCorsi Impact.

In case it wasn’t clear by now, all this goes to show that it’s nearly impossible to guess whether a player is a possession star or scrub based on his conventional numbers. As is the case with most of these new-school-versus-old-school metric battles to recently crop up across almost all sports, a player’s true value probably lies somewhere in between. But in hockey, that fact just underscores how little we still know about who’s helping and hurting their teams.

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For years, black residents of Ferguson, Missouri, have been disproportionately targeted by the city’s police officers for traffic stops, according to a damning Justice Department report released Wednesday detailing how the city police department violated civil rights laws. Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) suggests that police behavior in Ferguson may not be that unusual.

In September 2013, the BJS published a report that found that overall, 10.2 percent of all U.S. drivers were stopped by police in 2011. However, the percentages varied depending on the race and ethnicity of the driver — 12.8 percent of all black or African-American drivers were stopped that year, compared with 10.4 percent of Hispanic or Latino drivers and 9.8 percent of white drivers.

There appears to be a similar disparity in Ferguson. According to the DOJ report, 85 percent of traffic stops in the city over the past two years involved African-Americans; 67 percent of residents are black. (It’s hard to make a direct comparison with the national data because we don’t know the racial demographics of the city’s driving population and because some of those traffic stops may have involved drivers from outside the city.)

Data on what happens to drivers in Ferguson once they’ve been stopped also points to racially biased police behavior. Figures released in 2014 by the Missouri state attorney general’s office show that Ferguson police searched 12.1 percent of black drivers they stopped, compared with 6.9 percent of white drivers.

Ferguson has come under fire for having only four nonwhite officers among the 54 officers on its police force. But nationally, it’s not only white officers who are stopping drivers of color: According to the BJS statistics, 14 percent of black drivers were stopped by black officers in 2011 — while only 4 percent of white drivers and 3 percent of Hispanic drivers were stopped by black officers. Similarly, Hispanics were far more likely to be stopped by Hispanic police officers than drivers of other races were.


The BJS report also includes information on how drivers who were stopped felt about their interaction with police. Racial groups that are more likely to be pulled over are less likely to have positive views about that interaction: 82.7 percent of black drivers said police had behaved appropriately when making the stop, compared with 86.5 percent of Hispanic or Latino and 89.4 percent of white drivers.

But the biggest differences appear when looking at perceptions of police legitimacy by race. Only 67.5 percent of black drivers believed the reason for the traffic stop was legitimate, compared with 73.6 percent of Hispanic drivers and 83.6 percent of white drivers. Unsurprisingly, drivers were more likely to say police had behaved appropriately during the traffic stop if they felt the reason for the stop was legitimate.


The race of the officer also appears to affect perceptions of police legitimacy. Drivers were more likely to feel the reason for the stop was legitimate if the officer was of the same race or ethnic group: In intraracial stops, 83 percent of drivers felt the stop was legitimate, compared with 74 percent of drivers in interracial traffic stops.

These national findings could prove relevant to the situation in Ferguson. Federal investigators began reviewing evidence of racial bias in the city’s police department after Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in August. The city quickly became the focus of a national debate about allegedly discriminatory practices in police departments across the country.

The Ferguson mayor has said that he hopes to recruit more minority officers to the police department in an effort to ease tensions, and Wednesday’s report from the Justice Department makes the same recommendation. City officials must now negotiate a settlement with the government or risk being sued. As the DOJ points out, recruiting minorities to police forces may not affect traffic stops or even use of force, but it can boost community relations by improving perceptions about the legitimacy and appropriateness of police behavior.

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News broke late Tuesday that Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles had traded Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy to Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso. We decided to gather FiveThirtyEight’s two resident NFC East observers, Neil Paine (in Philadelphia) and Walter Hickey (in New York) to weigh in on what’s sure to be one of the more fascinating deals of the 2015 NFL offseason.

Neil Paine: Walt, how excited are you to see Shady McCoy out of the division, no longer around to plague your New York Giants like he did in Week 6 of this past season?

Walt Hickey: I tried to buy a bottle of champagne but the liquor stores were all closed. So, I decided to go home and write this post with you. I have been gloating to my Eagles friends since the news broke. I will continue to do that until at least Saturday, or until my friend Max punts his McCoy jersey into the East River again, whichever comes first.

Anyway, let’s unpack this trade.

POINT: Rex Ryan Is Insane (and/or Chip Kelly Is A Genius)

Neil: Gloat away, but the truth is that McCoy looked like a shell of his once-dominant self for a sizable portion of last season. He got better as the 2014 season went on, but his conventional numbers were a lot more in line with his injury-marred 2012 campaign than his superhuman 2013 — and that’s to say nothing of his advanced metrics in 2014.

This past season, Football Outsiders’ DVOA rated McCoy as below-average — the 24th-most efficient back in the NFL — and play-by-play grades from Pro Football Focus were even harsher. Among the 57 halfbacks qualified for PFF’s overall leaderboard, McCoy ranked 55th, the product of ranking 36th in rushing, 34th in blocking and dead last (by no small margin, either) in the passing game. To say it wasn’t Shady’s best season would be a major understatement.

Then there’s the matter of his age. McCoy will be 27 next season, which sounds relatively young to you and me (well, maybe to me at least), but the peak age for a RB is 26, after which it’s all downhill for the average ballcarrier. The average runner comparable to McCoy in terms of Approximate Value (AV) through age 26 ended up producing 40 more AV over the rest of his career. At McCoy’s career rate of AV per year, that’s about four more decent years at most before he would ostensibly hang up his cleats forever.

And don’t discount the value of good teammates, either. Pro Football Focus graded the Eagles’ offensive line as the best run-blocking unit in football last year. Guess who ranked last?

Yep — Buffalo.

For his part, Alonso may have missed all of 2014 with an injury, but he’ll only be 25 next season. When healthy, he ranked as the 9th-best inside linebacker of 2013, per Pro Football Focus. One more thing: the deal freed up a ton of cap space for Philadelphia.

COUNTERPOINT: Rex Ryan Is Crazy Like A Fox

Walt: Let’s take a look at the AFC East in 2014. You’re Rex Ryan. You’ve got Bill Belichick, the Mozart to your Salieri, dominating your division. You get canned by the New York Jets — hey, whatever, things happen. You take over the Buffalo Bills, an organization not totally dissimilar from the Jets. What do you fix first?

The Bills were incapable of getting a first down on the ground last year. Last year Buffalo had 186 first downs by passing, but just 65 by rushing. In the same year, the Jets — the Jets! — had 154 first downs by passing, 112 by rushing. That’s with Geno Smith as quarterback, too. The fact is that the only thing worse than Buffalo’s passing game is their rushing game.

The Bills are a dumpster fire behind center and have been for years. That’s not a problem you fix in your first year on the job. The Bills don’t have a first-round draft pick this year. Sure you might get lucky, but Buffalo will not have a solid quarterback for three years at best.

So in order to survive your next year — because let’s be real, the passing game isn’t going to get better — you need to have weapons that aren’t a quarterback. You need an running back, ideally a proven one. And you only need him for a few years. Neil, you think he’s got four years left in him? Sounds great for the Bills. Running backs are replaceable, but that’s an issue for another year with a better pick. This is not an investment that needs to go places. It needs to get Buffalo through the next two years. It buys them time.

Is McCoy past his prime? Probably. But whatever. Last year the Bills defense ranked 4th place in yards per game. Even without Alonso, they ranked 11th in the league when it came to stopping the rush, and third in the league when it came to disrupting passers. Would this defense be better with him? Oh, definitely. But they’re already pretty good, and a great defense is less meaningful when a team has a flaccid offense. McCoy changes that.

Plus, let’s think of cap space as the finite, tradable asset it truly is. Chip Kelly needed cap space. That’s worth something. Rex knows that. This means that, from a negotiating standpoint, McCoy is equal to Alonso plus a bunch of cap space to each participant in the negotiation.

Still, my personal conspiracy theory is that Giants head coach Tom Coughlin just paid a bunch of Rex Ryan’s parking tickets after he left town, and all this is just him returning the favor by keeping Shady out of the NFC East.

Neil: Actually… that last one weirdly makes sense.

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2 probes

Thanks to a DARPA research project, a paralyzed woman was able to control a simulated F-35 fighter jet through two probes connected to her brain. [The Washington Post]

9.9 percent

Per capita share of spending on food in 2013, down from 17.5 percent in 1960. [NPR]

21 “Navajo-inspired” objects

Stores that cater explicitly to a hipster sensibility are suffering a decline, in part because you can now get most of their styles at Wal-Mart. So they’re trying to hold onto their market by being edgy with often unfortunate results — see American Apparel’s desperately sexualized advertising, or Urban Outfitter’s 21 unique “Navajo-inspired” items for sale. The latter prompted a cease-and-desist letter from the Navajo Nation. [Racked]

88 percent

In Ferguson, Missouri, 88 percent of documented incidents of police use of force between 2012 and 2014 were against African-Americans, according to a report from the Justice Department. [The New York Times]

100 people

Approximate number of people who knew former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email address. The presumed 2016 Democratic frontrunner is taking heat for not using her federal government email account when she worked at the State Department. In fairness, nothing really says “vestigial form of communication” quite like “federal government email account.” [Associated Press]

271 paintings

Nine people were arrested in Spain after allegedly participating in a forgery ring that produced faux Picassos and more. Some 271 frauds were seized, but the sad clown painting I found in a thrift store is still legit as far as I can tell. [Artnet]

700 koalas

Stop reading this and skip to the next one. Australia killed 700 koalas to deal with overpopulation issues. I’m so sorry. I really didn’t want to be the one who broke this to you. But Elon Musk didn’t give any absurd valuation prediction this week so I am short on news. Are you happy, Elon Musk? You could have stopped this just by saying something ludicrous about the hyperloop. I will never not write about Elon Musk saying something ludicrous about the hyperloop. [Australian Broadcasting Company]


The owner of a revenge-porn website — where intimate photographs were posted without consent and their subjects extorted for money in order to secure their removal — was ordered to pay $450,000 to a plaintiff who is a minor. [Ars Technica]

$1.5 million

Sum of political donations from the Pizza Industrial Complex in the 2012 and 2014 election cycles. The vast majority went to the GOP. Let’s be real, this strategy seems off: If Big Pizza really wants to position itself for growth it’ll start throwing big bucks behind marijuana legalization. [Bloomberg Business]

$94 million

Sweet Briar College, a women’s liberal arts school in Virginia, will stop instruction at the end of the semester due to financial difficulties. It will use the remainder of its $94 million endowment to ease the transition process, getting employees severance and remaining technically open so enrolled students can complete their degrees with credit from other colleges. [Business Insider]

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And, as always, if you see a significant digit in the wild, tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

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In 2012, the Affordable Care Act survived a full-scale constitutional assault in the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, it faces a potentially devastating surgical strike. Obamacare’s new challenge is scheduled for oral argument before the court Wednesday. In this edition of “Priors and Precedent,” we’ll take a quantified look at the case of King v. Burwell, including some predictions of how it might play out. First, some background.

The Case

This challenge to the monumental ACA hinges on a “glitch.” Or at least that’s how it was characterized in The Wall Street Journal by two of the law’s challengers in 2011.

The glitch? Four words: “Established by the State.”

The ACA says insurance subsidies — vital to ensuring that health plans offered under the law are affordable — are calculated based on enrollment in an “Exchange established by the State.” But only 16 states established their own exchanges, or marketplaces. The rest fell under another provision of the nearly 1,000-page document, which allows that the federal government “shall … establish and operate such Exchange within the State” if the state does not create its own. And 34 states fall into this category — making ACA enrollees in those states vulnerable to having their subsidies stripped away.


The question is whether these federally created exchanges are state exchanges as far as the ACA is concerned. If they’re ruled not to be, it could gut the law in most of the country.

It’s no accident that this short phrase has become the centerpiece of a Supreme Court case.

“This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene,” Michael Greve said at a 2010 conference held at the American Enterprise Institute. (The “bastard” there is the ACA.) Greve is a board member and former chairman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which is funding the lawsuit. “I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it,” he said. “I don’t care who does it, whether it’s some court someplace, or the United States Congress.”

Lawyers hired by CEI pored over the text of the law, eventually alighting on the suspect phrase. Their argument to the court, then, is that the subsidies being given to those living in states with federally facilitated marketplaces are invalid and should be revoked.

The Combatants

In one corner, arguing for the government and the ACA (the “Burwell” of King v. Burwell is Sylvia Burwell, the secretary of health and human services), is Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. Verrilli came under some fire after his performance defending the ACA’s constitutionality the first time around. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker’s legal analyst, told Politico at the time: “He was passive. He was stumbling. He was nervous. I was just shocked.” Nevertheless, he was, of course, ultimately successful. This will be Verrilli’s 40th Supreme Court argument.

In the other corner: Michael A. Carvin, a partner at Jones Day. Carvin also argued against the ACA in the previous Supreme Court challenge. This will be Carvin’s seventh argument before the court. His record thus far: 4-2.

The Implications

More than 11 million people registered for or renewed health insurance in the state and federal ACA marketplaces this year. So the justices’ interpretation of a few words in the law could carry enormous repercussions. The states with federally created marketplaces are now home to a majority of the country.

An Urban Institute report found that a ruling against the government would eliminate $29 billion in tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, affecting 9.3 million people. This would increase insurance premiums, and 8.2 million people would find themselves newly uninsured, according to the January 2015 report.

roeder-feature-king-2 The Kaiser Family Foundation looked at the potential impact in a different way. It estimated that more than 13 million enrollees could be denied financial assistance in 2016 based on the decision. Drew Altman, the foundation’s president, wrote in The Wall Street Journal: “Because most people eligible for tax credits have modest incomes, the vast majority would not be able to afford any coverage without financial help and the ranks of the uninsured would become much larger than they would otherwise be.”

The Predictions

So what’s expected to come of all this? Let’s turn to the wisdom of the crowd at FantasySCOTUS and the case-predicting {Marshall}+ algorithm. Here are their predictions. (A reversal in this case is a blow to the ACA.)


The wisdom of the crowd foresees a 5-4 reversal as of this writing — which would be a decision against the ACA — with Chief Justice John Roberts sitting on the fence and Justice Anthony Kennedy not far away. Roberts was, of course, the surprise savior of the law in 2012. (The crowd predictions may improve after participants have had a chance to digest the oral argument transcript, taking clues from justices’ questions.)

The {Marshall}+ algorithm isn’t quite sure what to make of all this. It sees a similar pattern — the liberal justices more likely to affirm and the conservative justices more likely to reverse — but many of the justices are more or less a coin flip. Josh Blackman, one of the {Marshall}+ creators, told me: “These numbers remind me a lot of the crowd predictions from the first Obamacare case in 2012. The numbers were too close too call, and we were not able to get any statistical significance. This proved to be surprisingly accurate, as the court itself (the chief justice in particular) hadn’t made up its mind of how to rule. This case will be close.”

If the human predictions are to be believed, the liberal bloc — Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — is solidly behind the ACA. A conservative bloc — Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — is solidly against it. So two men — Roberts and Kennedy — hold the fate of the ACA, and millions of Americans’ health coverage, in their hands.

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We liveblogged Sloan, we wrote about what it was like to be a woman at Sloan, and now we have video and audio proof that the 2015 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference happened. Here, in under 3 minutes, is what you missed at the world’s preeminent conference for people who love sports, data and every place they intersect:


And here’s all the audio we recorded from the convention center:

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In a bit of not-very-surprising news, the Denver Nuggets announced Tuesday that they fired head coach Brian Shaw after fewer than two full seasons at the team’s helm and with a winning percentage below .400.

According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Shaw was fired in part because he lost the Nuggets’ locker room. “He really never connected with these guys,” Broussard said in a television interview Tuesday. In an story, Ramona Shelburne reported that Shaw had complained to management about the “maturity and professionalism” of a few of Denver’s players. So certainly Shaw’s relationship with his roster didn’t help his chances of remaining the team’s coach.

But our research has also found that performance relative to expectations is a major determinant of whether an NBA coach can keep his job. And in Shaw’s case, he might have been undone by unrealistic expectations before the start of the season.

Back on Oct. 10, the sportsbook Bovada released its over-under win totals for the 2014-15 NBA season, and Denver was listed with an expectation of 41.5 wins. That wasn’t out of step with other preseason Vegas odds. On Oct. 1, the Westgate casino pegged the Nuggets’ over-under at 40.5 wins. And the online book Bwin listed 44.5 as the team’s over-under in August. The prevailing wisdom of Vegas seemed to call for Denver to finish around .500 this season.

Instead, the team is on pace for about 28 wins — whether you look at our power ratings or’s season simulator. Our model predicts that such a performance in the face of a 42-win Vegas over-under will get a coach fired about 68 percent of the time. In that light, it seems neither surprising nor unjust that Shaw was given the ax.

But the advanced stats weren’t nearly as high on Denver as Vegas was. Our preseason projections, driven by the same estimates of player talent that fuel our weekly in-season power ratings, looked at the relatively weak supporting cast around Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari (including a poor bench) and called for Denver to win only 34 games this season.

You might think there isn’t much difference between undershooting your projections by six games and missing them by 14, but a coach in the former scenario traditionally gets fired only 46 percent of the time. In other words, had Denver’s preseason expectations been more realistic from the get-go, Shaw’s odds of being fired would conceivably have gone from greater than two-thirds to less than one-half.


That still would have left Shaw with essentially a coin flip’s chance of being Denver’s coach next season, and it’s also worth noting that the aforementioned locker-room drama probably lowered Shaw’s probability of retaining his job at any given level of underperformance. But the difference between a realistic preseason expectation and an overly optimistic one doubtlessly hurt Shaw as well.

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To attend or not attend? That has been the question dogging congressional Democrats in the runup to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on Tuesday. The majority of Democrats attended the address. Official information on who attended is still coming in, but so far I have data for 201 Democratic senators and representatives who also have DW-Nominate idealogical scores. Of those, 30 percent stayed away. So why did some go and others bail?

Interestingly, the variables that were most meaningful in predicting who attended were those attached to the politician, rather than to his or her district or state. The one exception was the percentage of Jewish-Americans in a member’s district or state. We can see this through a logit regression in which we try to predict who attended.3

The most liberal House members and senators were the most likely to stay away. According to DW-Nominate scores, which measure ideology based on a member of Congress’s roll call votes, the average member who attended the speech was only in the 36th percentile for liberalness among congressional Democrats. The average Democrat who did not attend, by contrast, was more liberal that 72 percent of congressional Democrats. While many of the more liberal members of Congress are from more Democratic leaning districts, the explanatory power of how a district voted in the past two presidential elections is muted once we control for a member’s DW-Nominate score. For example, the very liberal Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts did not attend even though his district is actually more Republican leaning than that of the average Democrat who attended.

Interestingly, being a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) or being from a heavily African-American district didn’t have a great effect. Yes, members from districts in which African-Americans make up a large percentage of the population and members of the CBC, one of Obama’s strongest bases of support in Congress, were more likely to boycott the speech, but many of these members are also very liberal. More moderate CBC members from heavily African-American districts, such as Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia and Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama, attended.

Indeed, the fact that those most friendly to Obama sat out the speech can best be seen through Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, who is neither liberal nor black and still did not attend the speech. Kaine was an early backer of Obama, endorsing him over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary. Kaine was nearly Obama’s choice for vice president, and Obama appointed Kaine as Democratic National Committee chairman in 2009.

Senators and representatives were more likely to attend the speech if they were from highly Jewish districts or states — it was the one clear area where the demographics of a district or state affected a senator or representative’s decision on whether to attend. The average Democratic member of Congress who attended the speech was from a state or district that was 4 percent Jewish, compared with only 2 percent for those who stayed away. Jewish-Americans don’t all feel the same way about U.S. relations with Israel, but the Pew Research Center found in 2013 that 69 percent of Jewish-Americans are at least somewhat emotionally attached to Israel. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of New York (a CBC member), Jerry Nadler of New York and Nancy Pelosi of California are all big liberals from districts where at least 8 percent of the population is Jewish-American. They all attended.

While more Jewish representatives and senators attended than not, this effect was nonexistent once we controlled for the aforementioned variables. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois — all liberal and all Jewish — all backed the administration by not attending.

Overall, the Democratic Party is more split on Israel than the Republican Party. Yet, when forced to choose, the majority of Democrats attended the speech.

UPDATE (March 3, 5:45 p.m.): I tracked down data for a few more Democrats and updated numbers throughout the article.

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The growing tension between Israel and the United States at the highest levels of government hasn’t extended to the longtime allies’ citizens. Most people in each country view the other favorably, as they have for decades.

That can be hard to remember when some notable exceptions are making headlines. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak to a session of Congress on Tuesday that will be missing several members, who along with President Obama are choosing to skip the address. On Monday, just after Netanyahu arrived in Washington, the White House denied reports by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida that Obama last year threatened to shoot down Israeli war planes if Netanyahu directed them to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities.

But most Americans continue to like Israel. In a Gallup poll last month, 70 percent rated Israel favorably, compared to 72 percent a year earlier. Israel’s net favorability ranking among Americans in Gallup polls has remained above +33 percentage points for the last decade, after occasionally fluctuating below that mark in the two decades beforehand.5

And most Israelis like the U.S. In seven Pew Research Center Global Attitudes surveys from 2003 to 2014, the U.S.’s net favorability rating in Israel was never lower than +44 percentage points. It peaked last year at +68 percentage points, the second straight year that the U.S. rated slightly higher among Israelis than among Americans. (Note to Rudy Giuliani: Plenty of Americans don’t love America.)


Americans have warmer feelings toward some other countries. They rate the U.K., Canada and Germany much higher, and France usually beats Israel in Americans’ hearts. In the other direction, Israelis like the U.S. more than most countries Pew surveys, with the Philippines a notable exception.


Israeli Jews, who make up the majority of the country, fuel its enthusiasm for the U.S.; more Israeli Arabs view the U.S. unfavorably than favorably. Palestinians see the U.S. even more unfavorably, and large majorities of Americans view Palestinians unfavorably.


Harry Enten contributed research.

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1 in 10

The proportion of biology Ph.D.s who will get a job in academia. The demand for people with doctorates just doesn’t come close to the available supply. [The Hechinger Report]


The “Glass Ceiling Index” for companies listed on the S&P 1500, where are four times as many CEOs named James, Robert, John or William as there are women in the top spot. [The Upshot]

5 p.m.

The best time to post something to Instagram (ideally also on a Wednesday) to get hella likes. Another good time is 2 a.m., presumably to grab those late left-coast likes and the night owls of the East. [The Huffington Post]

10 percent

The way we rate hospitals is inconsistent, and makes it harder to determine true quality. A study compared four national hospital-rating systems and found 844 hospitals that were considered “high-performing” on at least one list. The issue? Only 10 percent of those hospitals were deemed high performers on any of the other lists. [Health Affairs, via Adrianna McIntyre]

45 percent

Come, visit beautiful Russia. Compared to last year, the average price of a hotel room in the country fell by $80 for users of the dollar, a 45 percent drop. This is because Russia’s currency is crashing. [Wonkblog]

63 percent lower

The best thing I personally do for my health is to take a regular schvitz at the Russian-Turkish Baths, a new study has found. The risk of cardiovascular death decreased by as much as 63 percent in men who went to the sauna often, compared to men who went only once a week. [The Wall Street Journal]

8,000 years

Earth has a weird rock following it around called 3753 Cruithne. This “quasi-orbital satellite” travels through space like a drunk and will be closest to us in about 2,750 years. Luckily, in 8,000 years or so it’ll get too close to Venus and may finally take the hint that we’re in a pretty serious relationship with the Moon and buzz off. [Discover Magazine]

73 million

Remember when we were all talking about that dress last week? I don’t, I was still pretty obsessed with the llamas. But many people on Tumblr were — the original image post got a whopping 73 million pageviews according to the Tumblr staff. [Tumblr]

$200 million

How much New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman is hoping to sell the paper for. A list of suitors is queuing up, one of whom is former mayoral candidate and the man behind the greatest Christmas card of all time John Catsimatidis. (Make sure to click through the link, because if the Post was put on this earth to do one thing it’s to throw shade at the Daily News.) [New York Post]

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