Friday, December 21, 2012

Learn 2 R

I've been using R regularly, for W-NOMINATE and for other things. It's a free, open source programming language created to perform statistical analyses, and it's very popular in some academic circles.

I never got a good introduction to it, though, so I'm excited to see that Coursera is offering a course, Computing for Data Analysis, which is all about using R. I will definitely be taking this, and I recommend it to anyone else who does statistical analyses on a regular basis.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Data is online

I procrastinated a bit, but the W-NOMINATE data for the NH House from 1999 - 2012 is now online at Google Drive, if anyone wants to look through it. I just uploaded the entire file straight from my computer, so it also contains helpful notes that I kept for myself, the programs I wrote to make the process more manageable, and some other things.

Next on the agenda-

1) DW-NOMINATE, a program that allows direct comparisons between legislative sessions. I finally found the program online, but I'm having trouble using it. I'll have to email Keith Poole about it.

2) Party influence comparisons.
Seth Masket's fantastic book No Middle Ground, which inspired my NOMINATE project, includes graphs comparing legislators' ideological positions with the liberalness (or conservative-ness) of their districts. The idea is to see who legislators represent -- their party or their district?

I made a similar graph in 2011 using New Hampshire LDI's, though I didn't post it at the time.

You would expect to see a straight diagonal line if legislators were perfectly representing their districts. If they were perfectly representing their parties instead, you would see two horizontal lines, one for each party. In this graph, it looks like they might be representing their districts more than their parties, though it's hard to tell. They don't seem to be representing anyone very accurately.

It would be nice to compare this through the years, but it'll take some work to get the data.

3) Senate NOMINATE scores. I have the data, so I will get the older state senate W-NOMINATE scores sooner or later.