Sutherland Institute: Facts are stubborn, statistics are pliable

By Matthew Anderson Statistics are all around us, in many forms. Sports, health care, business, and almost every facet of our society look to numbers to help sort out the world. With so much riding on the line, sound statistical methods and principled research are imperative. Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable. Numbers can be manipulated to support any number of arguments. Such is the case in Colorado College’s 2016 Conservation in the West Poll. Released a few weeks ago, this seven-state survey attempted to gauge public opinion…

Midday Commentary on OMFG ELECTIONS AND PRISON! — Aug. 12, 2015

I know the prison relocation decision should be the big news of the day, but since we all knew it was going to SLC since years ago, I’m just going to leave a few links and move on. • Mayor Becker says they’ll fight the decision, which is just a bit weird since he basically traded a tax increase for the relocation to SLC. • But that can’t possibly have any impact on the fact that he got beaten like a red-headed stepchild in the primary election by former Rep. Jackie…

Utah Medicaid Expansion Polls: The False Dichotomy Problem

Capitol at night

If there’s one thing that the pollsters who have raised their collective fingers to the wind of Utah public opinion in recent months can agree upon, it’s that Utah voters don’t know much about Medicaid expansion.  That’s a problem, not only for making public policy, but for trusting the polls to determine what the public supports.  After a meeting between the Governor and US Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Sylvia Burwell, Utah Political Capital reported that Herbert had speculated that a deal on Medicaid expansion was just a couple weeks…

Say What?! Utah Politicos in Quotes and the Week in Review | Sept 8-14

This week’s collection of interesting quotes from the #UTPOL and beyond, ranging from the thought provoking to the jaw dropping, from the dead serious to the just plain hilarious. Did we miss any? Send them to us at UtahPoliticoHub@gmail.com, and we’ll consider them for next week’s edition. Good luck, but Not Really At the end of the event we each wished each other luck in our respective campaigns…but not too much.–Rep. Jeremy Peterson after a debate with his opponent. Curse You, Partisan Spell Checker Your spell check is an anarchist. “@BjaminWood:…

The Utah Education Landscape Is a War Zone

No one wants to live in a country or a state or a city or neighborhood…or anywhere, with stupid people. It’s why we provide (mostly) free (or, rather, tax funded) public education. We share a common belief that educated people make for better citizens, neighbors, and friends. And yet, public education, at least in Utah, is a bureaucratic warzone. Entrenched interests are at war with each other, scrambling for control, resources, and money. Whether it’s for the votes on the Board of Education, for funding from the Utah Legislature, or in…

Thoughts on Utah Policy’s Common Core Poll

Last week, the Utah Policy poll on Common Core was all over the news.  The tidbit often highlighted was that while 41% of Utahns strongly or somewhat oppose the Common Core, only 21% correctly identified where the Common Core standards originated. While I found this fact interesting, I had a few other thoughts on the poll and related  articles: First, the poll fails to address a number of quite relevant questions about the public’s knowledge on Common Core.  Maybe more data from the poll will be released, but it seems to be missing some…

Of Moderates, “Extremists”, and Winning Elections

Over at Utah Policy, Lavar Webb argues that Republicans have to tone down their rhetoric in order to win elections because governing is harder than just throwing red meat to the base. Webb is a fan of “moderates”, thinking they are the key to broadening our base of support and therefore winning elections. Maybe. But too often we focus solely on winning elections for those with an R next to their name without thinking about what they’ll actually do once in office. It wasn’t that long ago that Republicans did win…