Midterm2012

Complete the following problems in fully self-documenting manner. Your solutions should not be bare bones answers to a math problem, but articulate responses to a policy problem. Use narrative to show that you know what you are doing in the solution to the problem (imagine you are explaining it to someone) and that you understand how the formal problem IS a policy problem.

Per class discussion, it is expected that the work you submit will be your own.

Q183. In the election between candidate A and candidate B, for voter X it comes down to what the candidate will do for the elderly. The election is a toss-up and it may well come down to X's vote. Research indicates that candidate A is quite likely (75% chance) to do 4 things for the elderly but may only end up doing one thing (25% chance). Candidate B, on the other hand, is very unlikely to do 4 things (10%) but is 90% likely to do 2 things. For whom should X vote if this is the deciding issue.

Q184. A campaign director is flying blind. Two tossup states both have 20 electoral votes. All current information is that the chances of winning in each is 50:50.

Draw the event tree that describes the possible election outcomes.

Our campaign director has the opportunity to do one last ad buy of \$1 million. Research and experience have shown that an ad buy in a right state where a significant portion of the electorate is still open minded could shift the odds of winning to 60/40. How do we know? We've done lots of audience research that shows how particular electorates respond to this ad's approach. But doing the ad buy in the wrong state (one where folks have really made up their minds) will have no effect on the outcome. What we don't know is which, if either, of these states is the best fit for this type of campaigning.

Draw this decision tree.

Now suppose there is a poll she could do to find out whether state A or state B is the more promising state for the new ad. There is a 50% chance the poll says state A and a 50% chance it says state B. If it says state A then you do the ad buy there and you are certain to increase your chances while things in B stay the same. And vice versa.

What is the value of the information the poll can provide, in electoral votes?

Q186. Our neighborhood Obama for America committee is an active one. It's so active that it wears people out. Over the course of the campaign it tends to recruit 4 new people every week but it also loses about 10% of its membership due to fatigue each week. The committee began in June with 6 members. Write the difference equations that describe the size of the committee (S) each week. What's the long term prognosis?

Q187. The diagram below represents a candidate's shifting weekly position on abortion. Treating this as a Markov model (where each transition is independent of previous sequence of states), show us what the transition matrix would look like. What do we call the state that would represent a candidate's final position on an issue? Using this diagram, what prediction can you make about what this candidate's position would be if he were to be elected?

Q189. Our campaign wants to hold a giant rally the Sunday before the election. Many voters are fired up, many are tired. Some think we can win, others not so sure. Suppose the ready-to-jump-on-the-bandwagon threshold distribution is shown below. The numbers here mean how many people are willing to come to the rally given different levels of expected participation.

Analyze this information and describe the direction our organizing strategy should go. What should we expect? How much intervention could produce how much of a desired result. Assume that our current research suggests about 40 people are currently planning on going to next week's event.

Threshold Count
0 12
10 3
20 4
30 5
40 6
50 9
60 13
70 17
80 19
90 6
100 0

Q190. An eager campaign volunteer wants to think rationally about where to put her time. She does her research about phone-banking and canvassing and discovers the following.

A full shift (calling hundreds!) at phone banking has a 10% chance of producing 20 votes and a 60% chance of producing 2 votes, 10% chance of producing no votes and a 20% chance of losing 2 votes. Canvassing, by comparison, has a 20% chance of producing 8 votes, 30% chance of producing 4 votes, and a 50% chance of producing no votes. Other things being equal, which would be a better use of her time?

Q169. Consider the 12 block neighborhood bounded by parks on the north and south and major thoroughfares on the east and west. Green houses are supporting Obama, purple houses Romney.

Using the facing blocks delineated by the red dashed lines as units (it yields 15 of them), calculate the index of dissimilarity.

page revision: 4, last edited: 02 Nov 2012 20:10