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Edgy Interview: Strategic
Political Consultant Jason Roe

Jason Roe, Toasting, 5pm, Tanzania
Jason Roe isn't a man afraid to speak his mind. CERC and Jason go back many years, having partnered on quite a few tough local campaigns, and through hard work, and smart work, we've won more of those than we've lost.

We interviewed Jason, to get the dope on how a kid with a paper problem ( gotta read about it) from Michigan discovered hip-hop, went to Washington and traveled the world on his way toward becoming a strategic thought leader in San Diego, California and national politics.

Read the Interview

Great Insights Come From Great Data: CERC Clients Benefit From PDI's Upgraded Data

At CERC we are simply obsessive about the raw data samples we use - that's because we are committed to our maxim that great insights come from great data. We're happy to report that Political Data's voter samples -- the California voter samples we will be using in 2018 -- have been updated. For example, all data moving forward will include actual home value for all homeowners in California, and no data we use comes from sources that pre-date 2010.

If you'd like to learn more about the kinds of data we use at CERC, just contact Research Analyst Jenny Holland, PhD at


Book Review: Everything Is Obvious (Especially to John Nienstedt)

One of the most pressing issues for any research firm is that of bias. CERC is always on guard to identify, isolate and correct for bias. Bias can creep into survey research many different ways, and one of the most pernicious is the researcher's own prejudices. This can appear in the form of leading questions, to inadvertently loading a survey with "priming" words and, especially, in the cognitive bias that informs the interpretation of results.

Duncan Watts has assembled a stunningly clear and through-provoking examination of cognitive bias - and we heartily recommend this classic of modern sociology. Really, everyone should read this book. Part of its allure stems from having heard "of course that's the way it is" after an election, as if winning were a forgone conclusion and therefore no big achievement. Watt's key point is that everyone is a genius once the answer is known and we (all of us) rarely stop to consider how poor our powers of prediction are. The book lays out the supreme danger of relying on "common sense" to inform strategic decisions. That can make for tough reading, as some it is a "bitter pill to swallow."  But the payoff is that, by identifying our biases and accepting the implications of "20/20 hindsight," we won't fake ourselves out into thinking we're better than we are. And that is a big step forward.

Give it a read! It's available here - Everything Is Obvious: How Common Sense Fails Us.
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Ask the Guru
What’s wrong with
the term “margin of error?”
A. As I told Johnny when he was a toddler, “use your words,” grasshopper. In this case, you’re missing the word “sampling.” The correct term is “margin of sampling error” and that’s important in survey research. Leaving “sampling” out of the phrase suggests to the poll’s consumers that the margin (whatever the percentages are) applies to all types of error, and that’s not the case at all.

The margins you see -- e.g. +/- 3.5% -- only apply to the probabilistic error that come with sampling from a larger universe of cases. The MoSE is just math, and therefore doesn’t take into account other errors that can stem from question wording, question order, response choice order, non-response, lying or misremembering on the part of respondents, poor interviewing techniques, non-random samples or weighting effects.These errors can be much more problematic than the known error stemming from probability sampling.

In short, when you see “margin of error” in a report or news article, it may be a tip-off that the pollster or author doesn’t know what he or she is talking about!

Brewers Win Adult
Baseball League Fall Championship!

The Brewers Baseball Team
The San Diego Brewers took care of business, winning the San Diego Adult Baseball League’s 45 & Up Fall Championship. The team cruised into the play-offs having won nine in a row, and then run-ruled their competition in the post-season’s 1st round. John Nienstedt went 1 for 3 in the game with a single, RBI and 2 runs scored, but pulled his hamstring in the process. He avoided the disabled list thanks to care from Mrs. Nienstedt, and was able to play all nine innings of the Championship game.

The hard-fought 4-1 win over the Bulldogs culminated the most enjoyable season of Nienstedt’s 7-season career. Nienstedt said, “I’ve been fortunate to play on three Championship teams, but this was by far was the most fun I’ve had playing baseball. The guys on the team are great and we played well together in all facets of the game.” Nienstedt hit .444 on the season with an OPS of 1.043. He mostly played 3rd base, posting a .914 fielding percentage.
Notice: CERC offices will be closed from
Christmas Day through January 1.

Enjoy your Holidays!
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