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Most of the 2016 presidential candidates have at least one super PAC supporting them. And while almost all of those super PACs have raised the majority of their money from a small group of big contributors, there are still some differences among the donor bases.

bycoffee-datalab-superpacs

The 5 percent of donors who gave the most money to these super PACs account for more than 50 percent of the money raised to support each candidate.1 In most cases, the number of donors in the top 5 percent is exceedingly small.2

The super PACs backing Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, for example, raised $38 million in the first half of the year, from 45 donors. More than 80 percent of that total came from just four donors. The super PACs backing former Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised nearly $13 million from 41 donors, and 91 percent of that was from just five donors.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, on the other hand, saw the super PAC that’s supporting him, Right to Rise, raise $103 million, from nearly 4,000 donors. By relying on a bigger donor pool, Right to Rise, in addition to having more money, may be in a better position if some of its large donors don’t continue to send in checks.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^

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You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.

34 seconds

Ronda Rousey KO’d Bethe Correia in 34 seconds in a UFC match Saturday. I think my colleague Andrew Flowers had the right of it when he said she fights like an outlier. [Deadspin]


35 percent

A new study out of the London School of Economics found that kids in the U.K. with low cognitive ability from high-income households were 35 percent more likely to grow up to be high-income earners than high-ability kids from poor families. [Gov.uk]


36 original shows

Netflix has made a massive investment in developing original content, and it appears to finally be paying off. It’s got a roster of 36 original shows in 2015 and beyond, more than perennial juggernaut HBO with 23. [Vulture]


49.7 percent

Spam accounted for 49.7 percent of email in June, which is actually the lowest it’s been since before 2003. Hear that, Gmail? Chill out. Stop putting our awesome Significant Digits newsletter in readers’ spam folder; we’re already winning this war. [Quartz]


100 percent

The trial of a Merck and NewLink Genetics vaccine for Ebola saw a 100 percent protection rate after 10 days for more than 4,000 people immunized. That’s awesome, for one, but also a handy little stat to keep in your pocket for when your anti-vaxxer friend gets into it on Facebook somewhere down the line. [CNBC]


5,700 stores

Rite Aid, which has about 4,600 drug stores, and Food Lion, which has about 1,100 locations, are each going to begin putting Cosmopolitan magazine behind blinders to reduce children’s exposure to sexuality. Now we may never truly know the exact nature of the “Sex So Hot You’ll Need to Crank the A.C.,” but I’ve narrowed it down to some combination involving a Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Torch, Everclear, welding gloves and Icy Hot. Get at it, people. [The New York Times]


$500,000

One day after it formed, MMWP12 LLC gave half a million dollars to the New Day Independent Media Committee, a group backing Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president. Business must really be booming! Or maybe someone is trying to squirrel some pseudo-anonymous cash through an intermediary to a campaign. Or MMWP12 LLC’s business could be booming too! [The Center for Public Integrity]


$2 million

Tiger Beat, the timeless magazine that distributes photographic hagiographies of pop stars, is headed for a revamp after 17 investors dumped $2 million into rebooting the magazine. [The New York Times]


$56 million

Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” may have a grammatically incoherent title, but it also made a boatload of money in its first weekend at the box office, with $56 million at a little less than 4,000 theaters. Classic Tom. [Variety]

$51 billion

After a funding round led by Microsoft and Bennett Coleman & Co., Uber’s valuation is now nearly $51 billion. That seems like a big, random-ish number that means nothing to the average person — welcome to tech valuations! — but here’s the big thing: for perspective on this, Uber hit a $51 billion valuation about two years faster than Facebook did. [The Wall Street Journal]


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Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^

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This is The Week In Data, our data journalism roundup. Here you’ll find the most-read FiveThirtyEight articles of the past week, as well as gems we spotted elsewhere on the Internet.

MOST READ

  1. How Weird Is Alex Rodriguez’s Resurgence?
  2. Donald Trump Is The Nickelback Of GOP Candidates
  3. The Most Imbalanced Teams In MLB: Trade Deadline Edition
  4. Buster Posey’s Pitch Framing Makes Him A Potential MVP
  5. What’s Wrong With Rand Paul’s Campaign?
  6. Does It Make Sense To Split The Check At A Restaurant?
  7. The United States Is The Biggest Importer Of Trophy Lions Like Cecil
  8. Chris Christie Is Too Late To Stop Pot
  9. Roundtable: All Of Baseball History Should Get An Asterisk
  10. Ronda Rousey Fights Like An Outlier

ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNET

Word wildfire: With a data set of 9 billion words used on Twitter, forensic linguist Jack Grieve was able to identify a new lexicon emerging across the United States. From “on fleek” to “amirite,” Grieve and Quartz mapped the new vocabulary to show where words first emerge and how they spread rapidly across the country. [Quartz]

New words


A second life:
More than 40 million metric tons of electric and electronic waste, or e-waste, is produced annually across the globe, primarily in the U.S. and countries in the European Union. Al Jazeera offers an inside look at the recovery and disposal of e-waste in the Ghanaian town of Agbogbloshie, the largest electronic-waste dump in Africa. [Al Jazeera]

E-Waste Production

High-speed chases: Tens of thousands of people in the United States are involved in police chases every year, most of which start with minor infractions or traffic violations. New data analysis reveals that bystanders and passengers account for almost half of all chase-related deaths between 1979 and 2013. [USA Today]

Police chase-related deaths

The one that I want: Do you remember what plays or musicals students performed at your high school? They were probably the same as the plays and musicals put on at hundreds of other high schools across the country. A new data set of high school productions provides a popularity index of the shows, and it’s evident that a select few works — most written before the 1990s — continue to dominate the auditorium. [NPR]

High school musicals

Sweaty subway stations: On a 96-degree day in New York City, the hottest subway platform was measured at 106.6 degrees during the evening rush. In a fascinating glimpse into the daily experience of New York City commuters during the summer, WNYC Data News mapped the temperatures of 103 subway stations south of Central Park. [WNYC]

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 1.40.24 PM

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^

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UPDATE (Aug. 2, 11:30 a.m.): The story below was written before Saturday night’s fight in Rio de Janeiro, in which Ronda Rousey knocked out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds. That means Rousey is 12-0, and 6-0 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the biggest promotion company. Rousey has now won nine of her fights by armbar submission and three fights by KO/TKO, and remains the best pound-for-pound female MMA fighter in the world.


Ronda Rousey is the rare athlete who dominates her sport while transcending it. You might recognize her from a cameo in the recent “Entourage” movie, or maybe you read about her in The New Yorker. Or maybe you saw clips of her last fight — all 14 seconds of it.

But in case you’ve been living in a pacifist commune, know this much: Rousey is the best female mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in the world. Top male fighters are wary of facing her. With an 11-0 record going into her much-publicized fight against Bethe Correia on Saturday, she’s arguably the biggest draw — man or woman — in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the biggest MMA promotion league.

Beyond being simply “the best,” the former Olympian in judo — who, in the 2008 games in Beijing, became the first American woman to medal in the sport — is known for winning astonishingly fast. Her previous two fights lasted 30 seconds. Combined.

Plotted below is the winning percentage of 2,135 MMA fighters (men and women) who have won at least three fights.3 On the x-axis is what I’m calling a fighter’s “fight speed score” — a measure of how much time is left in the fights they won versus how much is remaining in the bouts they lost.4 On average, Rousey has won her 11 fights with 90 percent of the scheduled fight time remaining; only three of her fights took more than 66 seconds.5 Combined with her undefeated record, this blazing-fast track record makes her a Lionel Messi-like outlier.

flowers-datalab-ronda-rousey-1-(1)

Rousey’s quick fights are totally counter to the MMA trend overall. In the early 2000s, the average fight in the three-round, five-minute format lasted about 400 seconds for men and less than that for women. But in 2015, the typical fight went nearly two rounds (or about 600 seconds).6

flowers-datalab-ronda-rousey-2-(1)

Longer fights might be a product of the changing nature of MMA. It’s likely that, as MMA has become more popular, the competitive parity has risen too. And so it’s possible that fighters, facing more fearsome and equally matched opponents, are tweaking their tactics to be more risk-averse — to bide their time for an opportunity to strike, rather than coming in with the all-out aggressiveness that characterized the early days of the sport. Whatever the reason, today’s fighters don’t end fights like they used to.

In the MMA of the past, fights were most likely to end when a fighter knocked another unconscious or twisted an opponent’s limb until he said “uncle” — but those days are over. Instead, MMA fights increasingly end with both fighters standing, which forces judges to make the call. There are essentially three ways a fight can end: a decision, a knockout (KO) or technical knockout (TKO), or a submission, which is when a fighter verbally or physically “taps out,” usually by being in a vulnerable position such as a chokehold.

This is what’s happened to those three outcomes over the past 15 years:

flowers-datalab-ronda-rousey-3

Submissions are down from about 45 percent of all fights in 2000 to 25 percent in 2015.7 That more fights end with a decision explains the longer fights, and could be a reflection of improving competitive parity in the sport. There are fewer instances of pros quickly pummeling their opponent.

But Rousey is an exception. She has won all her fights by a submission or KO. Rousey has won nine of her 11 fights with the “armbar” submission — a move where Rousey hyperextends her opponent’s elbow, causing excruciating pain and sometimes gruesome results.

And, interestingly, among fights ending in a submission, fewer are done with an armbar.

flowers-datalab-ronda-rousey-4

Rousey’s favored armbar technique made up more than 35 percent of submissions in 2000. But now the armbar is used in less than 15 percent of submissions. Replacing it are choking moves such as the “guillotine” and “rear naked choke.”

Although Rousey’s ways of winning are increasingly at odds with MMA trends, bettors seem to be confident she will continue winning. The betting odds from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook put Rousey as a -1700 favorite against Correia (as of July 27). So one must bet $1,700 on Rousey to net $100 if she wins. She’s still a huge favorite. But Correia is also undefeated (9-0) and has beaten two of Rousey’s training partners.

Rousey’s dominance has been a boon for MMA — and for female athletes more broadly. There’s no use resisting it. Just submit.

Hank Gargiulo and Andrew Davis from ESPN’s Stats and Information Group contributed data analysis. Data is provided by FightMetric LLC.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^
  3. Fights from several promotion companies, such as Bellator and Strikeforce, are included in addition to UFC. ^
  4. The weighted average works like this: Take a fighter who has six wins and four losses. In her six wins, on average, 50 percent of the scheduled fight time was remaining; but in her losses, on average, 80 percent of the time was remaining. So her fight speed score is (6*0.5) – (4*0.8) = -0.2. This fighter tends to lose faster than she wins, even though she has a winning record. ^
  5. The typical MMA fight is three scheduled five-minute rounds, except for championship bouts, which are five scheduled five-minute rounds. Other round and minute variations exist and were accounted for in the time-remaining calculation, which is a percentage. ^
  6. The trend lines in this chart represent the three-round, five-minute format. Rousey’s data points include fights in both formats. ^
  7. Each year, about 1 percent of fights have an “other” ending — usually a disqualification or a “no contest” (such as when a fighter does an illegal move that ends the fight). Those have been removed from this chart. ^

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Welcome back to Hollywood Taxonomy, my continuing effort to categorize the filmography of movie stars (see previous attempts to identify the four types of Will Ferrell movies and three types of Adam Sandler movies). Today’s star: Tom Cruise, who stars in “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,” out in theaters on Friday. I pulled the data on every film that Cruise was in from Rotten Tomatoes and OpusData. I looked at films where Cruise was in a lead role or lead ensemble, which — let’s be real — was pretty much all of them.

Unlike Ferrell and Sandler movies, there are not clusters of Cruise movies, there are merely strata. His movies don’t break into easy groups because there is a direct relationship between how good a Cruise movie is — as rated on the Tomatometer — and how much money the movie makes. He is exactly what people want to believe exists in the motion picture industry: a person who gets out exactly what he puts in, which appears to be everything. Cruise does not do niche. He elevates everything he is in.

The other folks I’ve looked at normally trade wide appeal for critical success. Their movies are either considered good or popular, a pattern only overcome by an animated feature or two. But what makes Tom Cruise into Tom-Freaking-Cruise is that he defies this paradigm. His movies are better-reviewed (81 percent have ratings of 50 or higher on Rotten Tomatoes) and make more money than anyone else’s.

hickey-datalab-tomcruise-1

Eyes Normally Shut

“I’m willing to start at the bottom.”

— Brian Flanagan in “Cocktail”

Films: “Losin’ It” (1983); “Cocktail” (1988); “Lions For Lambs” (2007); “Rock of Ages” (2012).

Everyone gets a few mulligans, OK? All of theses movies made less than $200 million and had lower than a 50 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. Is “Cocktail” a dumpster fire of a movie? Yes. [Editor’s note: No. Unlike Walt, I liked “Cocktail.”] But doesn’t every performer need to be in a few of those to keep them humble? That sounds like something a Hollywood reporter would say. The thing is, even in these movies you can tell he is emptying the tank. “Rock of Ages” really sucks, for instance, but it still looks like the then-50-years-old Cruise was really going for it.

Think about it this way: I had to come up with a list of movies Cruise made that weren’t good and didn’t make much money, and I could only safely pick four. Here’s an actor who has been around since the Reagan administration and has only four movies that are unambiguously crappy. That’s nearly unheard of.


Anyone Else’s Best

“Look them in the eye. They’ll remember you.”

— Oberst Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg in “Valkyrie”

Films: “The Outsiders” (1983); “All The Right Moves” (1983); “Legend” (1986); “Days of Thunder” (1990); “Far and Away” (1992); “Interview with the Vampire” (1994); “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999); “Vanilla Sky″ (2001); “Valkyrie” (2008); “Knight and Day” (2010); “Jack Reacher” (2012); “Oblivion″ (2013).

For any other performer this set of movies would be their finest work. These are movies that made a bunch of money — some of them safely nestled in the $200 million to $300 million ballpark — and still got not-horrible to decent reviews, ranging from a 33 through 74 on the Tomatometer. They’re a diverse group, but the gist is that they’re the kind of movies that can pay the rent and keep a performer working for a very long time.

What is interesting about these movies — and these aren’t the films that immediately come to mind when you think “Tom Cruise, Actor” — is that for other actors, this batch of films is the brass ring: A Stanley Kubrick movie before he’s 40 years old, lead in a World War II biopic, a well-regarded role as a sexy vampire protagonist two decades before people realized that’s secretly America’s fetish. This batch alone is a solid career.

But these are only Cruise’s pretty good movies. Here’s what I mean. This is that chart from up top, only I’ve also added the career of Adam Sandler, who for all our ribbing is one of the top-grossing leading men of all time.

hickey-datalab-tomcruise-2

Average Cruise is better than most people at their best.


Cruise Control

“I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game featuring you, while singing your own song in a new commercial, starring you, broadcast during the Super Bowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not sleep until that happens.”

— Jerry Maguire in “Jerry Maguire”

Films: “Risky Business” (1983); “The Color of Money” (1986); “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989); “A Few Good Men” (1992); “The Firm” (1993); “Jerry Maguire” (1996); “Minority Report” (2002); Collateral” (2004); “Mission: Impossible III” (2006); “Edge of Tomorrow” (2014).

Only now do we enter the true Tom Cruise Canon. These are movies that are either unambiguously fantastic or just made oodles of money. All of these movies are fun to watch — every one got higher than a 70 on Rotten Tomatoes, so critics like them, and as a result all of them made at least $100 million (adjusted for inflation) and most made more than $350 million.

Even the worst “Mission: Impossible” movie, included above, is better than a lot of the best movies in other action franchises, and this batch also includes the underrated and abysmally titled “Edge of Tomorrow.” You could make a reference to any of these movies and a person who has been on Earth and even vaguely cognizant of media would pick up on it. These are the movies that show up on those “AFI Top Whatever” lists and they are still not even the best Cruise can do.


The Maverick

I think a man does what he can, until his destiny is revealed.

— Nathan Algren in “The Last Samurai”

Films: “Top Gun” (1986); “Rain Man” (1988); “Mission: Impossible” (1996); “Mission: Impossible 2” (2000); “The Last Samurai” (2003); “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” (2011).

These are the films that make Cruise different from the rest of us — stratospheric blockbusters all. They’re the we-have-to-change-the-axis-on-this-chart movies. That previous category, the movies that are either unambiguously fantastic or just made oodles of money? Well, these movies are fantastic and made oodles of money.

They all made more than a half-billion dollars. They’re all well-regarded, and even the ones that the critics didn’t like — such as “Top Gun” — are essential cultural moments. My only qualm is that “The Last Samurai” sucks, but then again I never made somebody $587 million, so really who am I to judge?


The latest outing, “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” is already getting really good reviews, and I’m going to take a bold gamble and suggest it’s going to make a whole lot of money. Cruise is 53, and he’s hanging out of planes, and he’s still great in almost everything he tries. The couch deserved it. Tom Cruise is impossible.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^
  3. Fights from several promotion companies, such as Bellator and Strikeforce, are included in addition to UFC. ^
  4. The weighted average works like this: Take a fighter who has six wins and four losses. In her six wins, on average, 50 percent of the scheduled fight time was remaining; but in her losses, on average, 80 percent of the time was remaining. So her fight speed score is (6*0.5) – (4*0.8) = -0.2. This fighter tends to lose faster than she wins, even though she has a winning record. ^
  5. The typical MMA fight is three scheduled five-minute rounds, except for championship bouts, which are five scheduled five-minute rounds. Other round and minute variations exist and were accounted for in the time-remaining calculation, which is a percentage. ^
  6. The trend lines in this chart represent the three-round, five-minute format. Rousey’s data points include fights in both formats. ^
  7. Each year, about 1 percent of fights have an “other” ending — usually a disqualification or a “no contest” (such as when a fighter does an illegal move that ends the fight). Those have been removed from this chart. ^

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“There’s always been data greed in trying to understand consumer and political behavior. It’s an ever-hungry beast that wants to understand more about you.”

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Behind the scenes of this FiveThirtyEight article page, a dozen cookies and scripts are tracking you. Where you came from, who you are, where you’re thinking of going next (and how we can get you to stick around). Many of these algorithms are helping us watch our traffic, while others give marketers information about our readers’ (and listeners’) habits. It’s not just our site, of course, it’s most of the sites you visit online. Cookies and scripts have been a staple of web browsing since the first browser, but lately the ability to merge databases means that online surveillance can learn more and more about you and your habits. Here, for instance, is a look at all the cookies present on the FiveThirtyEight homepage.

A look at the various cookies running in the background of the FiveThirtyEight website, using the tool Ghostery.

A look at the various cookies running in the background of the FiveThirtyEight website, using the tool Ghostery.

What does this mean for security and privacy? Do we no longer control our internet experience, and our internet identity? Should Internet journalists make sure the public understands the trade off between consuming media online and sharing your information with marketers?

In this episode of our podcast What’s The Point, Internet security journalist and activist Quinn Norton gives a primer on online tracking and where surveillance is headed next. And she gives us a tour of FiveThirtyEight’s surveillance using the tools Ghostery and NoScript.

Plus, this week’s Significant Digit: The average YouTube viewing session on mobile is up to 40 minutes. FiveThirtyEight’s Stephanie Roos looks at the numbers.

Stream or download the full episode above, and find a video excerpt along with a partial transcript below.

And by popular request, here’s the full What’s The Point theme music by Hrishikesh Hirway:


Video: The Cookies of FiveThirtyEight


Transcript: Shaping Your Online Experience

NORTON: Once there’s a profile of you, you’re stuck as that person forever.

AVIRGAN: That’s your identity.

NORTON: Right. Facebook is never going to let you change. Google is never going to let you change. The advertisers have no interest in tracking how you grow as a person. If you’re in your Ayn Rand-ian period as a 17-year old, figuring out how to step back from that while your whole identity has been stapled to you by the Internet means that you always end up bombarded by things reinforcing that person, or you have to totally have to flip and reject it outright, which is not how most people change.

AVIRGAN: But Google and Facebook would say, “No, our tracking actually does follow your changes very closely. The second you Google a particular book, we’re going to now start to feed you stuff related to that.” In a way it’s more about the subtle changes you’re making in your life.

NORTON: I would say, no. I would say that these systems reduce the serendipity that is linked to personal growth. The second you Google a book that is not Randian is not going to be the last time you have that pushed toward you by your customized Google feed. It’s not going to be the last time that stuff comes up on Facebook. To some degree I see the data dealers of Facebook, Google and the ads that we see are like having your dealer as your roommate. It’s really hard to give up a drug when your dealer is your actual roommate. They gather an identity on you and they’re always pushing that back on you.

From a business model perspective, Facebook and Google are ad companies first and foremost. They just have a really captive audience. The way those companies make their money is by tracking you and serving you ads. The more they know about you, the more they can alter the content that you see in order to create the state that their customers want you to be in. Sometimes that’s seeing a bunch of positive things about the customer’s product.

AVIRGAN: When you say customers, you mean an advertiser who wants to advertise through Facebook?

NORTON: Yes. The people who give Facebook and Google money are their customers and those are companies looking to advertise with them.

AVIRGAN: So what are we?

NORTON: We’re the product. We’ve always been the product.


If you’re a fan of What’s The Point, subscribe on iTunes, and please leave a rating/review — that helps spread the word to other listeners. And be sure to check out our sports show Hot Takedown as well. Have something to say about this episode or have an idea for a future show? Get in touch by email, on Twitter, or in the comments.

What’s The Point’s music was composed by Hrishikesh Hirway, host of the “Song Exploder” podcast.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^
  3. Fights from several promotion companies, such as Bellator and Strikeforce, are included in addition to UFC. ^
  4. The weighted average works like this: Take a fighter who has six wins and four losses. In her six wins, on average, 50 percent of the scheduled fight time was remaining; but in her losses, on average, 80 percent of the time was remaining. So her fight speed score is (6*0.5) – (4*0.8) = -0.2. This fighter tends to lose faster than she wins, even though she has a winning record. ^
  5. The typical MMA fight is three scheduled five-minute rounds, except for championship bouts, which are five scheduled five-minute rounds. Other round and minute variations exist and were accounted for in the time-remaining calculation, which is a percentage. ^
  6. The trend lines in this chart represent the three-round, five-minute format. Rousey’s data points include fights in both formats. ^
  7. Each year, about 1 percent of fights have an “other” ending — usually a disqualification or a “no contest” (such as when a fighter does an illegal move that ends the fight). Those have been removed from this chart. ^

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At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, a gong will be struck at the Fox News headquarters in New York. At that moment, the five most recent national primary polls, “as recognized by FOX News,”8 will be averaged, and the top 10 Republican presidential candidates9 will get invites to the network’s prime-time debate Thursday, the first of the season. (Full disclosure: I don’t have any actual evidence that a gong will be used.)

So which candidates are likely to make the prime-time debate and which are destined for the “JV” event (if our assumptions about which pollsters Fox News will use for its average are correct)? To get a sense for just how random the results can be depending on where you draw the line, we looked at the current five-poll average — as if the debate were being held Aug. 1 — as well as the previous four times the average was updated as new polls came out. A new poll has been released every few days10 over the past few weeks. These averages reveal that some candidates are basically shoo-ins; others are very unlikely to make the cut. Then there are the “on the bubble” candidates, in one day and out the next. For them, who gets in to the prime-time debate will likely be as much about luck as about where they truly stand with Republican voters.

enten-datalab-debate

The Likely Debaters: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Scott Walker

These candidates represent the top eight in the current polling average, and their numbers have been fairly consistent in the last five iterations of the five-poll average. That is, their percentage of the vote has clearly put them in the top 10 as new polls have been added and old ones taken out. All eight of these candidates have managed to stay at 5 percent or higher in the average.

The Bubble Candidates: Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum

Christie has been in ninth or 10th place in each of the last five polling averages, but he’s currently only 0.6 percentage points ahead of Perry, who wouldn’t make the cut. (3.0 percent vs. 2.4 percent).

Kasich has been climbing in the polls since he announced that he was running for president on July 21, although he could easily fall back. The range of his five poll averages (1.6 percent to 2.8 percent) is the widest for any candidate polling below 5 percent.11

Perry has occupied the 10th spot in three of the last five iterations of the polling average. Now he’s in 11th place. If Perry rises by a few tenths of a percentage point, or if Kasich falls back, Perry has a chance.

Santorum’s chances of making the debate look fleeting if Fox News doesn’t round the averages — for example, from 1.6 percent, where Santorum sits currently, to 2 percent. To make the debate, he would need to tie or better his high-water mark (2.4 percent) over the last five averages and would need Kasich or Christie to fall back.

Doesn’t Look Like They’re Going Make It: Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and George Pataki

Only Jindal is polling above 1 percent, and the other candidates in this group haven’t gotten above 1.6 percent in the past five polling averages. In fact, no one in this group has even gotten more than 2 percent in any of the last seven individual live-interview polls taken.

The Wild Card: Fox News’ Criteria

Fox News continues to be vague about which pollsters will be included in its average and how rounding will be handled. In the current five live-interview poll average, rounding doesn’t make a difference, although it could end up being important. And if we’re wrong about which pollsters will be included, we could be in for even more surprises.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^
  3. Fights from several promotion companies, such as Bellator and Strikeforce, are included in addition to UFC. ^
  4. The weighted average works like this: Take a fighter who has six wins and four losses. In her six wins, on average, 50 percent of the scheduled fight time was remaining; but in her losses, on average, 80 percent of the time was remaining. So her fight speed score is (6*0.5) – (4*0.8) = -0.2. This fighter tends to lose faster than she wins, even though she has a winning record. ^
  5. The typical MMA fight is three scheduled five-minute rounds, except for championship bouts, which are five scheduled five-minute rounds. Other round and minute variations exist and were accounted for in the time-remaining calculation, which is a percentage. ^
  6. The trend lines in this chart represent the three-round, five-minute format. Rousey’s data points include fights in both formats. ^
  7. Each year, about 1 percent of fights have an “other” ending — usually a disqualification or a “no contest” (such as when a fighter does an illegal move that ends the fight). Those have been removed from this chart. ^
  8. Most people (including myself) assume that Fox will use only live-interview polls, but that’s not guaranteed. ^
  9. Fox News has said that if two candidates are tied for the 10th spot, there will be more than 10 debate participants. ^
  10. The latest Monmouth University and Suffolk University polls were conducted during the same period, but the Suffolk poll was released a day after the Monmouth survey. For the purposes of this exercise, we are counting the Suffolk poll as the more recent one. ^
  11. The confidence interval shrinks as the percentage that a candidate receives in the polls gets further from 50 percent. ^

Comments Add Comment

Baseball’s (nonwaiver) trade deadline is today at 4 p.m. EDT, and with it ends the last real chance for contending teams to load up on talent and address their weaknesses before the season’s stretch run. To get a sense of which teams are particularly imbalanced — and therefore need to target either pitchers or position players to shore up a roster deficiency — we plotted the wins above replacement (WAR) generated by position players so far this season against the WAR generated by pitchers.12

paine-datalab-roster-balance-1

Teams farther above the dotted league-average line have received more WAR from pitchers than would be expected from their overall WAR total; they could conceivably use a bat to offset how pitcher-reliant they are. Conversely, teams below the dotted line have more WAR from position players than we’d expect from their overall WAR and would theoretically target pitchers at the deadline.

Some of the moves already made make sense within this context. Each of the top three available pitchers on the trade block — David Price, Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto — went to teams that were hitter-heavy according to WAR this season. Then again, two of the top hitters (Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Zobrist) also went to teams who’ve received more WAR from position players than expected, so it will be interesting to see which types of teams make moves to address their weaknesses — or bolster their strengths — as the deadline looms.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^
  3. Fights from several promotion companies, such as Bellator and Strikeforce, are included in addition to UFC. ^
  4. The weighted average works like this: Take a fighter who has six wins and four losses. In her six wins, on average, 50 percent of the scheduled fight time was remaining; but in her losses, on average, 80 percent of the time was remaining. So her fight speed score is (6*0.5) – (4*0.8) = -0.2. This fighter tends to lose faster than she wins, even though she has a winning record. ^
  5. The typical MMA fight is three scheduled five-minute rounds, except for championship bouts, which are five scheduled five-minute rounds. Other round and minute variations exist and were accounted for in the time-remaining calculation, which is a percentage. ^
  6. The trend lines in this chart represent the three-round, five-minute format. Rousey’s data points include fights in both formats. ^
  7. Each year, about 1 percent of fights have an “other” ending — usually a disqualification or a “no contest” (such as when a fighter does an illegal move that ends the fight). Those have been removed from this chart. ^
  8. Most people (including myself) assume that Fox will use only live-interview polls, but that’s not guaranteed. ^
  9. Fox News has said that if two candidates are tied for the 10th spot, there will be more than 10 debate participants. ^
  10. The latest Monmouth University and Suffolk University polls were conducted during the same period, but the Suffolk poll was released a day after the Monmouth survey. For the purposes of this exercise, we are counting the Suffolk poll as the more recent one. ^
  11. The confidence interval shrinks as the percentage that a candidate receives in the polls gets further from 50 percent. ^
  12. Including WAR produced by pitchers while batting. ^

Comments Add Comment

Recent attempts to reduce the U.S. prison population have focused on reforming mandatory minimum sentencing and reclassifying crimes, but the Obama administration wants to expand reform efforts to prisoner education. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are expected to unveil a program Friday that will offer Pell grants — financial aid for college courses that doesn’t need to be repaid — to some inmates as part of an experimental pilot program.

Congress banned the use of Pell grants by prisoners in 1994. But Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced a bill in May to reinstate prisoners’ eligibility for the grants, which can amount to as much as $5,775 for the 2015-16 school year. Anticipating Duncan and Lynch’s announcement, a Republican congressman introduced a bill late Wednesday that would forbid the Education Department from providing higher education funding to prisoners for experimental purposes.

But amid a national discussion on mass incarceration, researchers say correctional education programs can improve the employment rate for offenders after they’re released and reduce the chance they’ll offend again.

The RAND Corp., a nonprofit global policy think tank, has conducted extensive analyses of the available research on prison education programs. According to one RAND study, the elimination of Pell grant funding for prisoners had a profoundly negative effect on prison postsecondary education programs. Within one year of its elimination, participation in these programs dropped 44 percent. About half of all postsecondary correctional education programs closed.13

“Our survey results suggest that reinstatement of the Pell grants for this population may have a substantial effect in expanding postsecondary opportunities for state prisoners,” the authors wrote, noting that “these courses today are primarily paid for by the individual inmate or family finances” and that many inmates can’t afford the cost.

Lois M. Davis, the report’s lead author, said she couldn’t quantify the exact effect that the program’s reinstatement might have on prisoner participation in postsecondary education, but she said it will definitely save taxpayers money.

“We looked at the direct cost of prison education versus the cost of reincarceration, and we were able to show that every dollar spent on prison education saves taxpayers four to five dollars on reincarceration costs,” Davis said in an interview Wednesday. “And that’s a conservative estimate.”

For taxpayers to break even on these programs, Davis said they would have to reduce recidivism (committing another crime or violating probation or parole) by 1 percent to 2 percent. RAND found that prison education programs overall reduce recidivism by 13 percent and that postsecondary programs specifically reduce it by 16 percent. “When you think about the range of programs that are offered in the prison setting, the evidence is very mixed,” Davis said. “But when it comes to education, it’s clear that it really has a dramatic effect in terms of helping individuals gain the kind of knowledge and skills they need to be successful once they get out.”

Even apart from direct financial return on investment, these programs have broader ripple effects. For some inmates, it could start a family tradition of pursuing a college education. The RAND report noted that in 2004, the latest year for which data is available, 37 percent of ex-offenders nationwide had not graduated from high school, and only 14.4 percent had some postsecondary education (compared with 19 percent and 51 percent of the general U.S. adult population, respectively). “For many of these individuals, it may be the first time in their family that someone’s attempting to take college courses,” Davis said.

She added that it’s important to think about these and other broader consequences of improving access to postsecondary education for prisoners.

“When we send people to prison, it doesn’t mean the problem just goes away,” she said. “Ninety-five percent of people who go to prison come back to their community afterward. So the question really is: For your community, how do we ensure that these individuals don’t return and reoffend?”

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^
  3. Fights from several promotion companies, such as Bellator and Strikeforce, are included in addition to UFC. ^
  4. The weighted average works like this: Take a fighter who has six wins and four losses. In her six wins, on average, 50 percent of the scheduled fight time was remaining; but in her losses, on average, 80 percent of the time was remaining. So her fight speed score is (6*0.5) – (4*0.8) = -0.2. This fighter tends to lose faster than she wins, even though she has a winning record. ^
  5. The typical MMA fight is three scheduled five-minute rounds, except for championship bouts, which are five scheduled five-minute rounds. Other round and minute variations exist and were accounted for in the time-remaining calculation, which is a percentage. ^
  6. The trend lines in this chart represent the three-round, five-minute format. Rousey’s data points include fights in both formats. ^
  7. Each year, about 1 percent of fights have an “other” ending — usually a disqualification or a “no contest” (such as when a fighter does an illegal move that ends the fight). Those have been removed from this chart. ^
  8. Most people (including myself) assume that Fox will use only live-interview polls, but that’s not guaranteed. ^
  9. Fox News has said that if two candidates are tied for the 10th spot, there will be more than 10 debate participants. ^
  10. The latest Monmouth University and Suffolk University polls were conducted during the same period, but the Suffolk poll was released a day after the Monmouth survey. For the purposes of this exercise, we are counting the Suffolk poll as the more recent one. ^
  11. The confidence interval shrinks as the percentage that a candidate receives in the polls gets further from 50 percent. ^
  12. Including WAR produced by pitchers while batting. ^
  13. There had been 772 on-site prison postsecondary programs operating in 1,287 correctional institutions in the U.S. ^

Comments Add Comment

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.

2nd birthday

Right down to the wire, the Best Story Of July finally dropped: A toddler in Louisiana was so obsessed with the commercials for a local personal injury lawyer named Morris Bart that “Morris” and “Bart” were his second and third words. This kid is into Morris Bart. So when he turned 2, rather than a “Spider-Man” theme or whatever, his parents threw him a party with the theme of local personal injury lawyer Morris Bart. The kid loved it. The party made it into the The Wall Street Journal. This story is amazing. [The Acadiana Advocate]


30 percent

That’s the percentage of Republican voters who said they definitely did not support Donald Trump in his bid for the party’s presidential nomination, according to a Quinnipiac poll. [WHOtv]


95 percent

Percentage of New York residents surveyed who said they had never taken some action to prevent a car theft after hearing a car alarm go off. Spurring people to action is ostensibly the point of car alarms. But the alarms have somewhere between a 95 percent and 99 percent false-positive rate, so they’re pretty much pointless. [Priceonomics]


$240 per day

Big government is trying to bring down a hardworking business yet again: Two children (ages 8 and 10) from Cornwall, in England, were threatened with a $240 daily fine after selling worms on their front porch. (I am totally going to assume selling worms is some longstanding entrepreneurial endeavor for children in the United Kingdom.) [CFRA]


1,000 petaflops

While the Flop Race doesn’t have quite the same ring as the Space Race, an executive order from President Obama has begun an initiative to develop the first exaflop computer. “Flops” are a way to measure computing speed using the number of floating point operations — a type of arithmetic problem — a computer can perform per second. Right now, the best supercomputer on the planet is the 33.86 petaflop Tianhe-2 in China. An exaflop is about 1,000 petaflops, so it’s a lofty goal. [Wired]


16,000 graduates

Coding academies unaffiliated with traditional higher-ed computer science departments will see an estimated 16,000 programmers graduate this year. That’s about a third of the number of U.S comp sci grads from universities and may help fuel sky-high demand for software engineers. [The New York Times]

5,066 people

The number of people — about half of them bystanders, half passengers — who have been killed in the course of U.S. police car chases since 1979. [USA Today]


$10 million

James Woods is suing an anonymous Twitter user for $10 million in a defamation suit over a tweet saying the actor was a cocaine addict. Woods disputes this. First rule of Twitter, everyone: Don’t argue with an egg. Nobody looks good after that. [The Hollywood Reporter]


$112 million

Revenue for SoulCycle in 2014. The company behind the glorified spin class filed documents for an IPO. [Business Insider]


$225.8 million

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, who previously hosted “Top Gear” for the BBC, have signed on with Amazon to make a new show about cars. The trio’s previous show made an estimated $225.8 million for the BBC in 2014. [CNN Money]


Have a good weekend! If you see a significant digit in the wild, be sure to tweet it to me @WaltHickey.

If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.

Footnotes

  1. I’ve only included super PACs that either individually or with other super PACs supporting the same candidate raised $1 million or more. ^
  2. To determine which donors were in the top 5 percent for each candidate and how much they donated, I ranked the donors by the amount they gave and then calculated the dollar amount at which 95 percent of donors fell below. Then, for each candidate, I included the donors who gave a total of at least that amount to super PACs supporting the candidate. ^
  3. Fights from several promotion companies, such as Bellator and Strikeforce, are included in addition to UFC. ^
  4. The weighted average works like this: Take a fighter who has six wins and four losses. In her six wins, on average, 50 percent of the scheduled fight time was remaining; but in her losses, on average, 80 percent of the time was remaining. So her fight speed score is (6*0.5) – (4*0.8) = -0.2. This fighter tends to lose faster than she wins, even though she has a winning record. ^
  5. The typical MMA fight is three scheduled five-minute rounds, except for championship bouts, which are five scheduled five-minute rounds. Other round and minute variations exist and were accounted for in the time-remaining calculation, which is a percentage. ^
  6. The trend lines in this chart represent the three-round, five-minute format. Rousey’s data points include fights in both formats. ^
  7. Each year, about 1 percent of fights have an “other” ending — usually a disqualification or a “no contest” (such as when a fighter does an illegal move that ends the fight). Those have been removed from this chart. ^
  8. Most people (including myself) assume that Fox will use only live-interview polls, but that’s not guaranteed. ^
  9. Fox News has said that if two candidates are tied for the 10th spot, there will be more than 10 debate participants. ^
  10. The latest Monmouth University and Suffolk University polls were conducted during the same period, but the Suffolk poll was released a day after the Monmouth survey. For the purposes of this exercise, we are counting the Suffolk poll as the more recent one. ^
  11. The confidence interval shrinks as the percentage that a candidate receives in the polls gets further from 50 percent. ^
  12. Including WAR produced by pitchers while batting. ^
  13. There had been 772 on-site prison postsecondary programs operating in 1,287 correctional institutions in the U.S. ^

Comments Add Comment

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