2011 March

Project: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

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Hardly a month goes by without a report that a particular city is the best place to live, work, invest in, or visit. Rankings and ratings make for an easy news story. Reporting in numerical terms that Vancouver provides a quality of life superior to that of Johannesburg, or that Cleveland is a better place to do business than Paris, satisfies a contemporary appetite for cut-and-dried empirically grounded “facts.” And local media coverage of a city’s changing position in rankings has become a regular event that politicians and public officials dare not ignore.

How good are these rankings? How do they work? Are they well designed? How should they be interpreted by policymakers? This project sought to answer all these questions.

Featured in the Atlantic Cities blog.

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Advance voting in the 2010 Toronto election

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Did advance voting benefit any particular candidate?

Much was made in the media about the high volume of voting at advance polls — approximately double compared to previous elections. About 9.4% of all votes were cast in advance.[1] Some have speculated that this was the product of efforts by the major candidates (especially Ford) to lock in support prior to election day. Did advance polls favour any one candidate?

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