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SSA webinar: It’s Alive! Frankenstein for President

  • 6 Oct 2020
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (AEDT)
  • via Zoom, please check your local time


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The Business Analytics Section of the SSA is pleased to announce the following webinar:

Its Alive! Frankenstein for President

to be presented by James J. Cochran on 6 October 2020 at 12 pm AEDT via Zoom.

About this webinar:
History is littered with egregious failures of political polls to call the winner of an election (President Thomas Dewey?). In each of the four most recent U.S. Presidential elections, national polls have generally agreed on the outcome immediately prior to the casting of the ballots; the general consensus of the polls was wrong in half of those elections (2004 and 2016). There are many possible reasons for these failures, perhaps most notably of which is the unwillingness or inability of respondents to tell pollsters for whom they intend to vote. In this talk, I will describe an approach that addresses this problem for U.S. Presidential elections through i) estimating of the relative value each respondent associates with each possible position on each salient attribute, ii) asking each respondent what position she or he believes each candidate holds on each of these issues, and iii) using these results to estimate the number of votes each candidate will take in the electoral college. Notably, results of this methodology can also be used to find the collection of positions on the salient issues that optimizes one candidate’s expected electoral college votes, determine regions and demographic groups over which a candidate’s support is weak, assess the relative importance of the salient issues, and determine on which important issues the candidate’s position/message is not perceived consistently by the voters. Empirical results of an execution of this methodology for the 2004 U.S. Presidential election will also be discussed.

About the presenter
James J. Cochran Is the Rogers-Spivey Fellow and Associate Dean for Research with the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business. He has been a Visiting Scholar with Stanford University, the University of South Africa, the Universidad de Talca, Pôle Universitaire Léonard De Vinci, the University of Limpopo, and the University of Namibia. He holds honorary faculty appointments with the University of KwaZulu Natal and the University of Limpopo.

Dr. Cochran’s research focuses on problems at the interface of statistics and operations research, and he has taught a wide range of statistics and operations courses from the introductory undergraduate level through PhD seminars. He has published fourteen book chapters and over fifty research articles, and he is coauthor of seven textbooks in statistics, operations research, and analytics. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Wiley Encyclopedia of Operations Research and the Management Sciences, Wiley Series in Operations Research and Management Science, Oxford Anthology of Statistics in Sports series, and INFORMS Analytics Body of Knowledge. He has served as a consultant to a wide variety of corporations, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations around the world.

Dr. Cochran established an international teaching effectiveness colloquium series and organized these events in Uruguay, South Africa, Colombia, India, Tanzania, Argentina, Kenya, Nepal, Cameroon, Croatia, Cuba (twice), Estonia, Fiji, Mongolia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Tunisia, and Grenada. He was a founding co-chair of Statistics without Borders and a founding committee member for INFORMS Pro Bono Analytics initiative. He has delivered keynotes to conferences in twenty-five nations.

Dr. Cochran has received the INFORMS Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice, Mu Sigma Rho Statistical Education Award, Waller Distinguished Teaching Career Award, and Karl E. Peace Award for outstanding statistical contributions for the betterment of society. He is a Fellow of both the American Statistical Association and INFORMS, and he has received both the American Statistical Association’s Founders Award and the INFORMS President’s Award.

This event is free, but you will need to register to be able to participate.

The webinar will be recorded and made available to members of SSA via the members-only pages of the SSA website in due course.

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