Presidential Elections: 1.1

Sono Shah


Today’s Plan

  • Course Description
  • Course Policies
  • First Lecture


  • Instructor: Sono Shah
  • Teaching Assistant: Stephanie DeMora-Rettberg

Goals for this class

  • Core concepts of presidential elections
  • Introduce you to statistical software
  • Get you working with real data from the 2016 Presidential Election

Course Overview

  • This is an upper-division political science class. I’m assuming you have a general understanding of American Politics, and how Presidential Elections work.
  • If not, it’s ok :), That’s why I assigned the textbook and will post some other general readings to fill in the gaps.
  • The purpose of this class is to take a deep dive into real data and undertand how these concepts work in the real world


  • Campaigns & Elections 2nd Edition
  • Stuff on iLearn
  • Online tutorials as needed


  • Participation 10%
  • Lab Assignmnents: 10 Total (50%)
  • Final Paper 40%

Pro Tips

  • Read the Syllabus
  • Ask us if you have questions

Cooperative Congressional Elections Survey (CCES)

  • Nationally Representative Sample of 64,600 American Adults
  • Half of the questions asked of all respondents are called Common Content


  • 2/3 of survey is aksed pre-election (Late Sept. to end Oct.)
  • topics include: general political attitudes, various demographic factors, assessment of roll call voting choices, and political information
  • The rest of the questions are asked just after the election in November

What the @!$^&! is R?

  • open source programming language for statistical computing and data visualization
  • We are going to use it to investigate the 2016 CCES Data


  • What is a cross-tab?
Donald Trump (R) Hillary Clinton (D) Other
Male 0.210 0.199 0.045
Female 0.207 0.293 0.045

What is a cross-tab? Part II

  • What if I want to see presidential vote by gender?
  • Table below shows row proportions
Donald Trump (R) Hillary Clinton (D) Other
Male 0.462 0.439 0.099
Female 0.380 0.538 0.082

What is a cross-tab? Part III

  • Table below shows column proportions
Donald Trump (R) Hillary Clinton (D) Other
Male 0.503 0.405 0.5
Female 0.497 0.595 0.5

Data Visualization