[gov3009-l] Applied Statistics Workshop: Michael Weissman on October 12

Konstantin Kashin kkashin at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Oct 10 01:29:52 EDT 2011

Dear all,

Please join us for the Applied Statistics Workshop (Gov 3009) this
Wednesday, October 12 from 12.00 - 1.30 pm in CGIS Knafel Room 354. Michael
Weissman, a Professor Emeritus from the Physics Department at the University
of Illinois, will give a presentation entitled "From Fourier to Forensics".
As always, a light lunch will be provided.

The abstract for the presentation is:

*Although the statistical and systematic problems of public opinion polls
are fairly widely recognized, we tend to assume that published polling
results reflect some sort of actual poll. In 2009 a prominent blog suggested
that the pollster Strategic Vision might be fabricating data, based in part
on surprising deviations from uniformity of the distribution of trailing
digits of the results.(
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/search/label/strategic%20vision) Objections
were raised to the assumed uniform distribution, but we were able to use
Fourier analysis together with known polling statistics to show that the
results were weird even if that assumption were dropped.
*In 2010 we were contacted by a political consultant who had noticed
anomalies in Research2000 poll reports. Using a variety of elementary
statistical techniques, we showed that those results could not have
accurately represented real polls. (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_2000) Unfortunately, we do not know if
there are other bogus pollsters, disguising results via a random binary
generator (cost $0.01).*

An up-to-date schedule for the workshop is available at


Konstantin Kashin
Ph.D. Student in Government
Harvard University

Mobile: 978-844-0538
E-mail: kkashin at fas.harvard.edu
Site: http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~kkashin/
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