Which States Have the Worst Congressional Gerrymandering in the Country?

This post, inspired in part by a 2014 Washington Post piece by Christopher Ingraham, is my first in a series dedicated to gerrymandering.

With the 2020 Census right around the corner, there’s bound to be a lot of talk in the news over the coming months about redistricting. That’s the process, carried out every 10 years upon completion of the U.S. Census, by which states redraw the boundaries for their voting districts for the U.S. House of Representatives and for state legislatures.

This is notable, in part, because if there’s going to be talk of redistricting, that means there’s inevitably also going to be talk of political gerrymandering, the practice of intentionally manipulating district boundaries to give one party an advantage over the other during upcoming elections. Read more “Which States Have the Worst Congressional Gerrymandering in the Country?”

What’s Twitter’s Opinion of North Carolina Politics?

As a psychologist scientist, data enthusiast, and novice programmer, one of the things I’ve been really interested in lately is applying text-mining tools to social media to learn more about public opinion on important news stories and current events.

I know it’s cliche to say it, but social media is an incredibly powerful tool. Not only does it obviously allow friends, family, and colleagues to easily communicate and share information with one another in near real-time, but it also provides a rich storehouse of communications for researchers and data geeks, such as myself, to comb thorough and mine for interesting patterns in human behavior and human thought.

For instance, I’ve previously written about research demonstrating how Twitter can be used to predict the risk of dying from a heart attack in particular regions of the country. And more recently, I’ve done a bit of text-mining in Twitter to try to learn more about our President’s tweeting habit, such as the time of day he generally prefers to tweet (usually around 8:00 am EST), the most frequent words he uses when he tweets (“thank,” “great,” and “Hillary”),* and whether his tweets include mostly positive or mostly negative words (on average it’s split pretty evenly, actually).

So, with my political and scientific interests being what they are, I figured I would turn to Twitter to try to learn a little more about how people have perceived and reacted to the continuous flood of news stories that has been coming out of North Carolina recently. Read more “What’s Twitter’s Opinion of North Carolina Politics?”