[gov3009-l] Greiner on "Exit Polling and Racial Bloc Voting" (11/18)

Matt Blackwell mblackwell at iq.harvard.edu
Mon Nov 16 09:05:03 EST 2009

Hello all,

Please join us at the Applied Statistics workshop this Wednesday,
November 18th at 12 noon when we will be happy to have Jim Greiner of
the Harvard Law School presenting on "Exit Polling and Racial Bloc
Voting: Combining Individual-Level and R x C Ecological Data." Jim has
provided a companion paper with the following abstract:

Despite its shortcomings, cross-level or ecological inference remains
a necessary part of many areas of quantitative inference, including in
United States voting rights litigation. Ecological inference suffers
from a lack of identification that, most agree, is best addressed by
incorporating individual-level data into the model. In this paper, we
test the limits of such an incorporation by attempting it in the
context of drawing inferences about racial voting patterns using a
combination of an exit poll and precinct-level ecological data;
accurate information about racial voting patterns is needed to trigger
voting rights laws that can determine the composition of United States
legislative bodies. Specifically, we extend and study a hybrid model
that addresses two-way tables of arbitrary dimension. We apply the
hybrid model to an exit poll we administered in the City of Boston in
2008. Using the resulting data as well as simulation, we compare the
performance of a pure ecological estimator, pure survey estimators
using various sampling schemes, and our hybrid. We conclude that the
hybrid estimator offers substantial benefits by enabling substantive
inferences about voting patterns not practicably available without its


You can find a copy of the paper here:

You can find the technical appendix here:

The workshop will be in CGIS Knafel (1737 Cambridge St) room K354 and
we will start at 12 noon with a light lunch. We hope to see you there.


Matthew Blackwell
PhD Candidate
Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Department of Government
Harvard University
email: mblackwell at iq.harvard.edu
url: http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~blackwel/

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