The puzzles for pollsters

first_imgSince a little-known senator from Illinois named Barack Obama marched to the presidency in 2008 thanks in part to cutting-edge number crunching, the use of data to identify and target specific voters with specific information has become an essential campaign tool, as fundamental as traditional polling and focus groups.But even as the emerging analytics field becomes more mainstream, the bizarre twists and turns of the 2016 primary season, particularly on the Republican side with front-runner Donald Trump, has made predicting the next president more difficult than ever.Because the U.S. primary system embraces a fraction of the electorate, “anyone who can drive extreme messages that stimulate turnout can game the system,” said Mark Penn, a former pollster and strategist who has consulted for Bill and Hillary Clinton, during a conference on politics and data analytics Friday organized by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies.“If there are 130,000,000 people who we expect to vote and there are 50,000,000 in the primary process, the 70,000,000 who really decide the presidential election are not in the primary process, and that’s driving the media to observe a country that doesn’t exist,” he said. “Until we fix the system, Donald Trump will not be the exception, Donald Trump will be the rule.”In explaining the rise of Trump, statistician Nate Silver, the founder and editor in chief of, said the 2016 race has shown how small sample sizes often yield volatile predictions. Even so, it’s unlikely that Trump’s broad demographic and geographic appeal would have been accurately pinpointed earlier on because no one has built a model for predicting outcomes of the primary nomination process because of its complexity.“The groups that Trump appeals to are groups that we would have had trouble identifying certainly before the election,” Silver said, because they are “not the typical combination of the red-blue map we’re used to.”A packed lecture hall listens as moderator Anthony Salvanto (from left) leads panelists Silver,  Cohn, Rothschild, and Clare Malone. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerWhile professional sports has embraced data metrics for years to better evaluate player and team performance and predict wins and losses, conference organizers Ryan Enos, an associate professor in Harvard’s government department, and Kirk Goldsberry, a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis, say political analytics doesn’t have anything like the well-known MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.So they brought together many of the top minds in data analytics, high-level political professionals from both parties, and political journalists such as Silver, opinion research consultant Kristen Soltis Anderson, retired U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, MSNBC reporter Steve Kornacki, and CBS News director of elections Anthony Salvanto, to evaluate the analytics field’s strengths and weaknesses, assess the nomination races on both sides, and, naturally, talk about how to use numbers to determine who wins and loses.“We can read anything online now, but it’s about getting people in the same room where they can have a conversation where we think that the field can be pushed forward,” said Enos. They plan to host the conference again next year.“One thing that amazes me is that you would think after all the lessons of Obama in ’08 and Obama in 2012, where Republicans supposedly learned the importance of having a turnout operation … these campaigns don’t really have turnout operations,” said Nate Cohn, who writes The New York Times column The Upshot. “[Ted] Cruz has one that’s maybe one-quarter as good as a Democratic turnout operation, whereas everyone else has nothing, [just] a few kids working in an office somewhere.”Perhaps surprisingly, betting markets are one area where predictions on political winners and losers remain solid, said David Rothschild, an economist for Microsoft Research who studies how users engage with online data and polling. Soon the field of polling will be entirely Internet-based and done on mobile devices, he said. “We’re not that far away from the point of the idea of a telephone poll is going to be ridiculous,” he said. That evolution will raise new methodological challenges for the industry, since the data will include more variables and so will demand more skillful analysis.Despite the abundance of data from which analysts today can draw, like voter files, polling results, voter lists, and consumer data, such information can be both expensive and hard to get at because companies like Google and Twitter keep proprietary data such as searches close to the vest, Cohn said.“I’m not sure that there’s a way for all this new data to end up integrated into a coherent framework for thinking about how elections might evolve from where they are now.”last_img read more

Colombian President Supports March against FARC

first_img Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos joined civil-society organizations in calling for a march on December 6 against “kidnapping,” “violence,” and “terrorist methods,” following the murder on Saturday of four members of the uniformed services kidnapped by the FARC. “The entire country rejects the FARC, rejects their terrorist methods and their persistence in violence, and for that reason, we’re all going to march on December 6, as one body, as one nation, in order to express that rejection,” Santos said at an event honoring police officers and military personnel in Bogotá. The call for a protest against this communist guerrilla group was issued by civil-society organizations on Sunday, using social networks, following the shooting deaths of four police officers and one member of the military who had been kidnapped and held for more than 12 years by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Rosa Parra, the director of ‘Colombia Soy Yo’ [I Am Colombia] – one of the organizations calling for the march – said on Sunday that the protest’s objective is to carry out a mass mobilization in rejection of the FARC, similar to one held in February 2008. Administration representatives, members of Congress, political parties, and hundreds of citizens immediately added their backing to the initiative. Other organizations, meanwhile, have proposed an alternative march “against war,” and not only against the guerrillas, for December 10, International Human Rights Day. “We demand the release of all those who have been kidnapped. There is nothing that can justify this torture for those who are deprived of liberty,” Santos declared. Santos insisted that this guerrilla group was the only party responsible for the deaths of the four uniformed personnel, after the FARC blamed the president and the military high command for having thwarted a plan for the unilateral release of the hostages, stating that it was a “tragic outcome of an insane rescue attempt,” according to a statement published on the group’s website. The president affirmed that “the country is not stupid and does not let itself be deceived by despicable statements,” and he warned that if the guerrillas do not demobilize, “the only outcome left to them will be a cell or a tomb.” By Dialogo December 05, 2011last_img read more

Gold and Diamond-Encrusted Assault Rifle Found in Honduras Arsenal

first_img An AK-47 assault rifle coated in gold, and encrusted with emerald and diamond inlays, and two silver magazines surprised the authorities that found them on a farm located in the north of Honduras, Chief of Police Leonel Sauceda informed on January 6. “The weapons and eleven vehicles seized are worth $2 million, and just the AK-47 is worth 50,000 dollars,” he added. Sauceda indicated that the arsenal was hidden in fake compartments in five different cargo vehicles, and the operation to find it began on January 5. According to Sauceda, they were able to find them because inhabitants of the Jardín de Choloma City, located 300 km north of Tegucigalpa, had reported suspicious activities. “This is a very important blow against organized crime,” he stated. The arsenal includes 4,736 rounds of ammunition of different caliber, 32 caliber 5.7, 45, 3.80, 5.56 and 9 mm handguns, 15 rifles, four night vision goggles, four fragmentation grenades, 98 magazines, and five bulletproof military vests manufactured in the United States. Identity cards, automobile documentation, fake permits to carry guns, and blank Honduran passports were also found. The weapons were manufactured in the United States, Israel, Belgium, France, Rusia, Brazil and Czech Republic according to Sauceda. The police arrested two private security guards that were protecting the farm, both of whom have been charged with trafficking and weapons storage, prosecuting coordinator Marlen Banegas, told the press. “This case is moving forward, and it will come to an end once the prosecutor’s office identifies the individuals who brought the weapons in to Honduras, as well as the purpose,” he highlighted. Specialized organizations, such as the UN, consider Honduras the most violent country, without armed conflict, in the world, with 92 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants due to organized crime, especially drug trafficking, in 2012. By Dialogo January 08, 2013last_img read more

In February, there was a double-digit increase in tourist arrivals and overnight stays

first_imgDomestic tourists realized 94 thousand arrivals and 193 thousand overnight stays, which is an increase of arrivals by 14,7% and an increase of overnight stays by 10,0% compared to February 2018. Foreign tourists realized more than 170 thousand arrivals and 357 thousand overnight stays, which is 24,3% more arrivals and 15,1% more overnight stays compared to February 2018. Foreign tourists realized the most overnight stays in the City of Zagreb, 83 thousand overnight stays, which is an increase of 11,7% overnight stays compared to February 2018. Foreign tourists, except in the City of Zagreb, realized the most overnight stays in Dubrovnik, Rovinj – Rovigno, Podgora , Split and Opatija, which is 55,7% of the total overnight stays of foreign tourists. In February 2019, domestic tourists spent the most nights in the City of Zagreb, 33 thousand overnight stays, which is an increase of 20,1% overnight stays compared to February 2018. This is followed by overnight stays of domestic tourists in Opatija, Split, Dubrovnik, Rovinj – Rovigno and Rijeka, which is 39,3% of the total overnight stays of domestic tourists. Tourists in the age group 35-44 realized the most overnight stays The highest number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in February 2019 was realized by the City of Zagreb, 60 thousand arrivals, which is 22,6% of the total arrivals and 116 thousand overnight stays, which is 21,1% of the total tourist overnight stays. Compared to February 2018, there were 12,4% more tourist arrivals and 14,0% more tourist nights in the City of Zagreb. This is followed by overnight stays of tourists from Austria (10,1%), Germany (8,0%), Italy (6,0%), the Republic of Korea (5,9%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (5,7%), USA (4,3%) and Serbia (4,2%). In the group Hotels and similar accommodation, more than 26 thousand rooms and suites were available to tourists (which is 50,9% of the total number of available rooms and suites) with a total of 51 thousand permanent beds (which is 43,2% of the total number of available permanent beds). The average occupancy of rooms was 33,4%, and permanent beds 28,6%. The City of Zagreb also has the highest number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in February In February 2019, the highest number of tourist nights was realized in hotels, 370 thousand overnight stays, which is 67,4% of the total number of overnight stays. Compared to February 2018, the number of tourist arrivals in hotels increased by 19,8% and the number of overnight stays by 12,9%. In February 2019, more than 264 thousand tourist arrivals and 550 thousand tourist nights were realized in commercial accommodation facilities. Compared to February 2018, there were 20,7% more arrivals and 13,3% more overnight stays, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Most rooms and permanent beds available in the group Hotels and similar accommodation In February 2019, tourists from Slovenia realized the most arrivals and overnight stays of foreign tourists, 31 thousand arrivals and 72 thousand overnight stays (18,3% of the total number of foreign tourist arrivals and 20,2% of the total overnight stays of foreign tourists). Compared to February 2018, tourists from Slovenia increased their arrivals by 22,0% and the number of overnight stays by 18,1%. In February 2019, tourists in the age group 35-44 realized the highest number of overnight stays, 106 thousand overnight stays, which is 19,2% of the total number of overnight stays. They are followed by tourists in the age group 25-34, 97 thousand nights spent, which is 17,7% of the total number of nights. Slovenian tourists with by far the most arrivals and overnight stays Most nights spent in hotels The city of Zagreb is a favorite tourist destination for both domestic and foreign tourists In February 2019, 52 thousand rooms, apartments and camping places with a total of 118 thousand permanent beds were available to tourists.last_img read more

COVID-19: Man quarantined in N. Sulawesi after returning from Malaysia

first_imgA 46-year-old man has been put under observation for possible COVID-19 infection at the Prof. Kandou General Hospital in Manado, North Sulawesi, after returning from Malaysia.The patient, a Bitung resident who works in Malaysia, arrived in Manado from Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 19 via Singapore.”He complained of cough and shivering. However, his temperature was normal at 36.1 degrees Celsius,” the hospital’s medical services head Handry Takasenseran told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. “We have categorized him as a suspected COVID-19 patient because he has a travel history to countries affected by the outbreak.”  Handry said the patient had begun to feel ill ten days after arrived in Bitung and had decided to report his illness to the Bitung Health Agency when he saw that his condition was not improving.”We’ve confirmed the case with the Bitung Health Agency; we’ve also coordinated with the North Sulawesi Health Agency,” Handry said. “Last night at around 6 p.m. he was isolated and his samples were taken.”He said the samples had been sent to the Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) laboratory in Jakarta and the patient would remain in isolation until the test result came out.Indonesia has confirmed COVID-19 in two people, both of whom are currently being treated at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital in Jakarta. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

American fugitive captured in Bali allegedly made porn to survive while in hiding

first_imgA recently captured Interpol fugitive, 50-year-old American Marcus Beam, who is wanted for alleged investment fraud in the United States, allegedly produced and sold pornographic videos to make money while hiding out in Bali, police have said.Investigators of the Bali Police’s general crimes division and the Counter Transnational and Organized Crime (CTOC) task force arrested Beam and his female friend, a 48-year-old identified as WPC on Thursday.“He made pornographic movies to make money on the internet. That was one of his activities to survive in Bali. He made a lot of contacts with local people,” Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Petrus Reinhard Golose said at Bali Police’s headquarters in Denpasar on Friday as reported by He explained that Beam had been living in Bali since January. During his stay, until he was captured, he and his female friend allegedly uploaded their personal adult videos onto a website to make money to cover his living costs.Deputy director of the Bali Police’s general crimes division Adj. Sr. Comr. Suratno added that the authorities had only managed to find one adult video of the identified “dozens”. The police also named WPC as a witness.Beam and WPC, both American nationals, were arrested at a villa in Badung regency, Bali. Authorities also confiscated a passport, five mobile phones, one folding knife, 14 sex toys and 13 other electronic devices as evidence.Beam has been accused of embezzling around US$500,000 from investors in Chicago, US. He reportedly used the money for his personal expenses instead of placing it in investment funds. After previously being detained by US authorities in September, he allegedly escaped the US in January using a passport that listed a different name.Despite there being no extradition treaty between Indonesia and the US, Petrus said that Beam would be sent back to his home country under an agreement between the two countries’ police forces. (mfp)Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf Discusses the Impact of Funding Increases in Monroe County during “Schools that Teach” Roundtable and Tour

first_imgGovernor Wolf Discusses the Impact of Funding Increases in Monroe County during “Schools that Teach” Roundtable and Tour SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Press Release,  Schools That Teach,  Severance Tax Pocono Summit, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today continued his “Schools That Teach” tour in Monroe County, where he heard from teachers and administrators in the Pocono Mountain School District about their plans to ensure that education funding from his 2015-16 budget goes directly into the classroom.“Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom in the country in state funding for K through 12 education and my proposed budget makes historic investments at all levels – early childhood education through higher education,” said Governor Wolf. “After years of funding cuts that resulted in the loss of educators, increased class sizes, and cuts to valuable programs, I want to ensure that the new funding in my budget reaches the classroom and directly impacts student achievement. Focusing on education will allow us to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth.”Governor Wolf’s budget proposal restores massive cuts made over the last four years, with a commitment to increase school funding by $2 billion over four years by instituting a commonsense severance tax on oil and natural gas. Governor Wolf’s proposal, called the Pennsylvania Education Reinvestment Act, is expected to generate over a billion dollars by 2017 by enacting a reasonable 5% severance tax plus 4.7 cents per thousand feet of volume on natural gas extraction.In a roundtable discussion at Pocono Mountain West Junior High School, Governor Wolf heard from school leaders and stakeholders about their plans to improve the district’s instructional technology training programs to diversify students’ opportunities to learn 21st century skills.“This is an important opportunity for districts to have comprehensive conversations about how to invest this funding on proven resources and programs that will improve student learning,” Governor Wolf said. “What is being proposed here in the Pocono Mountain School District is a prime example of a plan that will ensure this historic education investment reaches the classroom while providing clear benchmarks to measure the results of student achievement.”“If additional state funding is made available, the district plans to add four instructional technology coaches, two to work with students in grades K through 5 and two to work with students in grades 7 through 12, to provide direct instruction to students on the use of technology,” said Pocono Mountain School District Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Robison. “Our district believes that with additional resources and opportunities, we can work toward preparing our diverse population of learners for the 21st Century. It is also important for our district to increase the amount of students who are proficient in reading by third grade. Closing the achievement gap is a continued goal for us each year. This funding opportunity will directly assist with helping to achieve this goal.”In March, Department of Education Acting Secretary Pedro Rivera sent a letter to superintendents in all 500 districts detailing accountability measures to ensure the education funding proposed in Governor Wolf’s 2015-2016 budget is spent directly on students in the classroom to allow them to compete in a modern economy. In the letter, Acting Secretary Rivera called on districts to submit plans to ensure this new investment reaches the classroom and to measure results for Pennsylvania’s students.MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116# # #center_img May 27, 2015last_img read more

It would be quicker to list the features this Bridgeman Downs home doesn’t have

first_imgOne of five bathrooms at 947 Beams Rd, Bridgeman Downs.A study has full wiring which would allow it to be easily converted to use as a media room,There are two fully functional kitchens the main one with a five burner St George Gas Cooktop and a walk-in pantry. 947 Beams Rd, Bridgeman Downs.SIX bedrooms, five bathrooms, a tennis court and swimming pool all on a massive acreage lot close to the city what more could you want?Well there is also the wine cellar, but not just any wine cellar, it also has a wine tasting room attached to it. The home has wrap around verandas. Picture: from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North1 hour agoNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by The ensuite has a sunken bath, marble bench tops, dual basins and separate shower with dual shower heads.There is also a fully self-contained apartment at the southeastern wing of the home with its own walk-in-robe, kitchen, living and dining room, which has a separate entry. There are luxurious touches throughout. Picture: massive home at 947 Beams Rd, Bridgeman Downs will be auctioned on Saturday December 2 at 5pm in rooms at Aspley.The owners are downsizing from the large home which is accessed with entry through a private street. The house has traditional plaster cornicing, high ceilings throughout and airconditioning.center_img One of the two kitchen at 947 Beams Rd, Bridgeman Downs. Picture: there is a study, and the main bedroom has enough space for a separate lounge and dining area. It also has an ensuite and walk in robe.And don’t worry about having to walk all the way to the other end of the house when you want to change the linen the main bedroom has a separate linen press nearby just to service this room. Another kitchen in the home.The home is listed through Tristan Rowland and John Bradley of Place Aspley.last_img read more

Siemens restructures in search for profits

first_imgFURTHER rationalisation of rail activities was announced in Wien on March 11 by the President of Siemens Verkehrstechnik Dr Wolfram Martinsen. Although the division’s results improved from a DM120m loss in 1994-95 to a DM19m profit in 1995-96, on constant turnover of around DM4·3bn, he forecast losses of around DM80m for the next two years before a return to profitability by 2000.Orders grew to a record DM6·5bn last year, with exports of DM3·4bn. However, profits have been hit by the Adtranz merger and low prices negotiated by German Railway for its recent orders. Martinsen also highlighted the growing trend towards turnkey contracts, which often involved extensive outlay before any returns.Siemens has consolidated its rolling stock work into ’centres of competence’: aluminium vehicles at Uerdingen, steel-bodied coaches at SGP in Wien, trams and LRVs at Düsseldorf, diesel locos at Kiel, electric locos at Krauss Maffei in München, and bogies at Graz. The VT1 and VT2 signalling and control systems businesses at Braunschweig have been refocussed on the main line and urban markets respectively. Power supply (VT3) is now being trimmed, with non-rail domestic work spun off to a management buy-out on March 1 and exports transferred to another Siemens company from April 1. Austrian air-conditioning supplier Alex Friedmann is one of several subsidiaries to be sold soon.With an eye to growth in southeast Asia and North America, Siemens is strengthening its Berlin-based Global Turnkey Systems & Services division. A joint venture signalling company has been formed in Xian, China, and a 50:50 joint venture with Matra Transport will market metro automation equipment. Martinsen revealed that he had fired the management of the Kiel diesel engine business, after problems with the 18 Class Di6 Co-Cos for Norwegian State Railways. Most have now been delivered following extensive rectification work, which resulted in a DM68m loss on the order. oCAPTION: The prototype Siemens/ Krauss Maffei Class 152 electric freight loco for DBCargo was the first loco to be trialled on Siemens’ newly-completed DM100m test ring at Wildenrath, starting a test programme on March 6 in company with the Class 127 EuroSprinter demonstratorlast_img read more

New Dutch pension system ‘to be delayed until after elections’

first_imgThe SER has been assessing a new pensions contract for three years, and is currently assessing two alternatives, comprising a target contract and individual pensions accrual and both with some degree of collective risk-sharing.Although the Pensions Federation – the trade body for the Netherlands’ pension funds – has concluded that both variants would be potentially viable, it said additional research for improvements was needed.According to the FD’s sources, however, the debate within the SER is still ongoing and many decisions still need to be taken.Among the hurdles is the fact that the unions don’t like the concept of individual pensions accrual. Opinions also differ on the degree of risk-sharing with the varying effects on pensions accrual and workers’ generations.Another tricky issue is the transition to a new pensions system. The costs of replacing the current average pensions accrual with an age-related “degressive” one, as the current cabinet wants, are estimated at up to €100bn.Corien Wortmann-Kool, chair of the €382bn civil service scheme ABP, recently expressed the sense of urgency in the sector by stressing that the discussions should not get bogged down in a tug of war about details.“Rather an [actual] eight out of ten than a theoretical nine, which is unlikely to be scored,” she said.“It is important to come up with a framework now and do the work under the bonnet later,” echoed Kees Goudswaard, chairman of the SER’s pensions committee.Meanwhile, calls have started from within the pensions sector to keep the current system, albeit with improvements.Albert Akkerman, former chief executive of the €19bn pensions provider and asset manager SPF Beheer, noted that “time and time again, we have seen that new alternatives are not really better than the current system”.In an opinion piece in IPE sister publication Pensioen Pro, he argued that a new system wouldn’t increase pensions.Akkerman said that, among other things, participants needed convincing that a pension was no guarantee but a target, and to increase the options for pensions saving for the more than 1m self-employed. The Social and Economic Council (SER) is unlikely to come up with the long-awaited blueprint for a new pensions system ahead of the elections for parliament on 15 March, according to Dutch financial news daily Het Financieele Dagblad (FD).The FD quoted “insiders” as saying that the representatives of employers and workers in the SER aimed to present their plan for a new pensions contract ahead of formation talks for a new cabinet.This way they aimed to prevent a new government from developing plans for a new system that aren’t aligned with the sector’s views, according to the paper.Based on recent polls, a new coalition would need the co-operation of four, and possibly even five, political parties – all of which have different views on pensions.last_img read more