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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Blumenthal’

HuffPost Hires Data Scientist Ahead of ’14, ’16 Elections

Huffington Post’s Senior Polling Director, Mark Blumenthal, announced today that Marist analyst Natalie Jackson has been hired as HuffPost’s Senior Data Scientist.

“Natalie’s full-time presence on the Pollster team will help us to improve and expand HuffPost’s polling aggregation and modeling,” Blumenthal said.  ”At a time when statistical models used to forecast elections have gained great prominence, she will help Pollster leverage our unique knowledge of and experience with pre-election polls.”

Jackson has a PhD in statistical methods from the University of Oklahoma and, prior to joining Marist, she did post-doctoral work at Duke University. Her first day is May 12.

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Exits Polls: The $#!& of American Politics

Exit Polls are apparently the flakes of dirt under our feet and in the cracks of our toes, the regurgitated fish food not even fish want to eat nearing their last breath of life. HuffPost‘s Senior Polling Editor Mark Blumenthal wrote Tuesday morning, “Hard as it may be, you should try to ignore them, at least until the polls close. And even then, take the underlying vote estimates with big grains of salt.” You getting the picture?

On Tuesday afternoon as exit polls began surfacing, journalists on Twitter had rather graphic metaphorical descriptions for the polls very few respect.

The New Yorker‘s David Grann remarked, “Exit polls are like poisoned mushrooms to a starving man.” And New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait chimed in, “I swear I was going to write drinking seawater in a lifeboat.”

The Takeaway’s congressional radio reporter Todd Zwillich then entered the fray, saying, “It’s not just an exit poll, it’s a PRELIMINARY exit poll. The Double-Stuf Oreo of nothingness.”

And YG Action Fund’s Brad Dayspring, ex-flack to House Maj. Leader Eric Cantor stepped up, saying, “The exits seem way off compared to the activity being seen on the ground and reported from key areas. Again, take exists as a morsel of info.”

Soon Iowahawkblog‘s David Burge had something to say about these loathsome polls. He wrote, “Exit polls: the asbestos-laced leaded paint chips of the political playground.”

And in summation, Washington City Paper Editor Mike Madden seemed to wrap up the collective sentiment, saying, “Am basically treating the early leaked exit polls as if they were imaginary numbers. No point even thinking about them.”

Huffington to Shake up Poll Experiences

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HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington wants to change the way readers experience polls.

In a move that’s surprising to some – considering her longstanding mistrust of polls — HuffPost is acquiring Pollster.com, a national site that extensively analyzes polls. She’s bringing on board Pollster.com’s Editor and Publisher Mark Blumenthal, who will work out of the Washington, D.C. offices.

Huffington spoke to FishbowlDC this morning by phone from a rainy and cold Aspen, Colo., where she’s attending the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival. “We are really excited to work with him and help the public’s understanding of polls,” said Huffington. “Polls dominate our political coverage so much.”

Huffington has long talked about the limitations of polls. “Mark had been a pioneer from inside the profession and demanding more transparency,” she said. “My view of polls is the way they’re being used in political debate has really often made it harder for people to understand what was happening. People don’t fully understand the margins of error, what’s often explained in small print.”

With this new venture, Huffington hopes to change all that and give readers something brand new. “We can take serious work and help the public understand what the polls can do and not do,” she said. “We can now do that ina serious way with someone who fully understands the medium and its limitations.”

Also joining HuffPost as part of the acquisition will be polling analyst Emily Swanson, who will be associate polling editor. Pollster.com co-founder and University of Wisconsin Professor Charles Franklin will continue to contribute blog posts and analysis.