Monday, February 16, 2015

Philip Bump's "How closely do members of congress align with the politics of their district? Pretty darn close."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/09/29/
believe-it-or-not-some-members-of-congress-are-accountable-to-voters/
Philip Bump (writing for The Washington Post) illustrates the linear relationship between a U.S. House of Representative Representative's politics and their home district's politics. Yes, this is entirely intuitive. However, it is still a nice example of correlations/linear relationships for the reasons described below.

Points for class discussion:

1) How do they go about calculating this correlation? What are the two quantitative variables that have been selected? Via legislative rankings (from the National Journal) on the y-axis and voting patterns from the House member's home district on the x-axis.

2) Several outliers' (perhaps not mathematical outliers, but instances of Representative vs. District mismatch ) careers are highlighted within the news story in order to explain why they don't align as closely with their districts.

3) Illustrates a linear relationship. Illustrates outliers. Illustrates political data. Accessible example for your students.



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