Monday, February 16, 2015

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