Q-Step Podcast - How to Win Arguments with Numbers

'How to Win Arguments with Numbers' is a podcast about how statistics can inform our understanding of the human world. In this new season we talk to researchers who study elections and their consequences. Are our democracies changing? And how can we use data to measure this? Each episode focuses on a key issue in the study of voting. In the final episode we look at the results of the US mid-term elections and how we can interpret the outcome.

Series 2 of 'How to Win Arguments with Numbers' is now available.

#7: Campaigning with Josh Townsley

In the seventh episode we talk to Joshua Townsley from the University of Kent about campaigning. There is lots of research about campaigning in politics, but what do we actually know about its effectiveness. We talk about how parties aim to mobilise their supporters and the impact of the internet and social media. Soundcloud

#6: Opinion Polling with Dr Erik Gahner Larsen

In the sixth episode we talk to Dr. Erik Gahner Larsen from the University of Kent about opinion polling. How do opinion polls work and how do they benefit our understanding of human behaviour. We discuss in particular how the media can improve at reporting polls around election time. Soundcloud

#5: US Midterms 2018 preview with Professor Robert S Erikson

In the fifth episode we talk to Professor Robert S. Erikson from Columbia University about the upcoming US Midterm Elections. With all 435 seats in the house of representatives and 35 seats in the senate being contested, there are a range of possible outcomes, all of which would have a lasting effect on the country and the current government. How will both parties do? And will Donald Trump's popularity ratings have an effect? Soundcloud

#4: Party Leaders with Professor Amanda Bittner

In the fourth episode we talk to Professor Amanda Bittner from Memorial University about leaders of political parties. From an outsider perspective it seem obvious that who leads a party would matter to voters. However the research on this does not always show that this is the case. We discuss party leaders' role in democracies and whether that role is changing. Soundcloud

#3: Compulsory Voting With Professor Shane Singh

In this season we look at different issues surrounding elections. In the third episode we talk to Professor Shane Singh from the University of Georgia about compulsory voting. It has been implemented in many democracies, from Australia to Brazil, but what exactly is it, what forms can it take, and how does it affect voters and political parties? Soundcloud

#2: The Changing Relationship Between Voters and Parties with Dr Ruth Dassonneville

In the second episode we talk to Dr Ruth Dassonneville from Université de Montréal about the changing relationship between voters and parties. We look into how voting behaviour has changed over the last few decades. Election results are more unpredictable now, with parties having less of an influence over voters than they used to. We talk about the consequences of this for democracy. Soundcloud

#1: Populism with Professor Matthew Goodwin

In this season we look at different issues surrounding elections. In the first episode we talk to Professor Matthew Goodwin from the University of Kent about Populism. We look into how he came to study this topic and what current research can tell us about Brexit, Trump, the rise of the far-right in Europe, and other related phenomena. Soundcloud


Series 1 of 'How to Win Arguments with Numbers' is available on Itunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and a range of other platforms (search for us on your favourite podcast client or app).

Series 1: 2017 General Election

#9: GE2017 in Context. What does it mean for Europe?

Dr. Ben Leruth

Can we compare the results in the UK general election to the recent French election, and what does this tell us about the direction of politics in Europe? What implications does the election have for the future of the European Union? And can it tell us anything about the upcoming elections in Germany?

We discuss all this and more with Dr. Ben Leruth (Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, Canberra) , expert on European politics, public policy, euro-skepticism and European integration.

#8: What went wrong? A post-mortem of GE2017 polling

Josh Townsley and Jack Bridgewater

What went wrong with the polls at the general election? How did Jeremy Corbyn and labour do so much better than expected? How did Theresa May and the conservatives do so much worse? Can an alliance between the conservatives and the DUP last? Who would win a second general election called later in 2017?

In our general election post-mortem podcast, we discuss all this and more with regular guests Josh Townsley and Jack Birdgewater.

#7: Why are the polls so volatile, and would a Corbyn win mean "back to the drawing board"?

Dr. Laura Sudulich and Jack Bridgewater

Why have the polls been so volatile for this election, and what do they agree on? Would a Corbyn win mean “back to the drawing board” for British political science? What actually is an exit poll, and can we rely on the ones that will be published tomorrow?

In this podcast we discuss all of the above, plus our guests Dr. Laura Sudulich and Jack Bridgewater, give us their predictions for the election result.

#6: The use and misuse of statistics in the general election campaign

Dr. Rob de Vries

Can it really be true that there are high proportions of “normal working class kids” going to grammar schools, as Theresa May claims?

Do Corbyn’s claims that higher tuition fees mean less university applications add up?

And how accurate has the BBC’s portrayal of Labour’s tax plans been?

We investigate the use and misuse of evidence throughout the campaign with Dr Rob de Vries, Lecturer in Quantitative Sociology.

#5: Why Conservative policy could increase child poverty, and how the UK compares for families.

Dr Tina Haux [Recorded - 01/06/2017]

Could the Conservatives’ policy increase child poverty in the UK? Why does the UK place less emphasis on family policy than other countries? And what would a good family policy look like in the UK?

In the second of a series of podcasts focusing on parties' policies on particular issues, we discuss all this and more with Lecturer in Social Policy and Q-Step Centre Director Dr. Tina Haux.

#4: Could Theresa May really get a hung parliament, and what makes a good poll?


Josh Townsley and Jack Bridgewater [Recorded - 01/06/2017]

Last night YouGov published a controversial study which predicted a hung parliament for the 2017 election (i.e. no party with enough seats for a majority). While Labour have been steadilly improving in the polls, this blows everything else out of the water. We explore how seriously we should take the model.

In a packed episode Josh Townsley and Jack Bridgewater also explain what a poll actually is, and what makes a good poll. On top of all this, we highlight some constituencies to watch on election night,

#3: Brexit Policy Special - The Strategy Behind Parties' Brexit Plans


Josh Townsley and Jack Bridgewater [Recorded 24/05/2017]

Why has Theresa May turned from quiet remainer to hard leaver? Why does Jeremy Corbyn face an uphill battle to unite Labour over Brexit? Has the Liberal Democrat gamble to gain the support of millions of frustrated remainers paid off?

In the first of series of podcasts focusing on parties' policies on particular issues, we discuss all this and more.

#2: Can a liberal alliance work? And a question from Joe's mum...


Josh Townsley and Jack Bridgewater [Recorded 24/05/17]

Can a liberal alliance between Labour and the liberal democrats succeed in keeping out the conservatives? Have the polls swung enough in the last few days to give labour a chance? And why can we trust the experts that say Jeremy Corbyn won't win when they said the same thing about Trump?

In our second polls podcast, we answer all this, as well as taking a question from co-host Joe's mum!

#1: Why listen to polls and what should Jeremy Corbyn do next?

Josh Townsley and Jack Bridgewater [Recorded 17/05/2017]

Why we should still take polls seriously? Are Labour still in with a chance? What should Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May's strategies be in the final few weeks of the race?

In the first episode of How to Win Arguments with Numbers we discuss all this and more with Josh Townsley and Jack Bridgewater, PhD candidates in Politics and International Relations.




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Last Updated: 06/02/2019