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Reads and Reactions

This is the inaugural edition of a new feature we’ll be running to highlight reactions from around the web (positive, negative, indifferent and otherwise) to posts here at FiveThirtyEight. We’ll also pick out some articles that take quantitative, data-rich approaches to subjects that we care about. If you spot either of these things out there in the online ether, pass the link along. These roundups will run bi-weekly on Fridays or Saturdays.


Nate’s analysis of a Rasmussen poll on the showdown in Wisconsin over public employee unions’ ability to bargain collectively was echoed by Mark Blumenthal at The Huffington Post, who saw many of the same defects in the poll that Nate did.

Steve M., writing at No More Mister Nice Blog, agreed with those criticisms, but he cautioned against completely discounting the level of public antagonism toward unions.

And at the National Journal’s Hotline On Call, Steven Shepard compared the Rasmussen poll to two polls, one released by the AFL-CIO and one by USA Today/Gallup.

Jonathan Bernstein at A Plain Blog About Politics had two quibbles with Nate’s graphical view of the G.O.P.’s presidential bullpen. Mr. Bernstein says, “It’s difficult to predict where candidates will position themselves before they run” and, “It’s a bit misleading to divide [the ideological] space, as Silver does, into equal parts.”

Over at Hot Air, Jazz Shaw used the graphic to consider what position gives a candidate the best chance to win the nomination and the general election.


The Economist maps out a report from the World Health Organization on the drinking habits of different nations. Hint: if you are European or live in a former Soviet state, you probably drink a lot.

The folks at Hoopism plot the history of the N.B.A.’s slam dunk contest by score, complete with video of almost every dunk.

Responding to Sarah Palin’s recent comment that the price of milk is “so high,” Andrew Gelman at The Monkey Cage checks the data.

And finally, Barry Pump, at his eponymous blog, looks at the relationship between unionization levels and taxes.

Micah Cohen is FiveThirtyEight’s former managing editor.