Gender bias is pervasive in our society generally, and in the tech industry and AI research community specifically. So it is no surprise that image labeling systems—tools that use AI to generate text describing pictures—produce both blatantly sexist and more subtly gender biased results. More

You may have come across a debate on statistical significance, most recently in a piece in Nature (Amrhein, Greenland, and McShane 2019). In inferential statistics, it is conventional to say an effect is “statistically significant” if its p-value is less than 5% (or, equivalently, its 95% confidence interval does not include zero), and “not statistically significant” otherwise. While it is convenient, this dichotomous thinking has been prone to misuses and misunderstandings (Gerber and Malhotra 2008; Esarey and Wu 2016; McShane and Gal 2016, 2017; Simonsohn, Nelson, and Simmons 2014). More

While party manifestos have been analysed extensively, only a few studies compare issue and policy salience in coalition agreements, and programmes for government (for a recent exception see Klüver and Bäck 2019). This is surprising, given that these documents often determine which policies will be enacted in government, and what issues the government will give priority to. They are also very important documents for internal debates within parties, and typically shape the decision on whether party members support entering government. More

Most voters do not believe that parties deliver on their campaign promises. Previous studies, however, usually conclude that parties indeed keep a large share of their pledges. The media take a crucial role in mediating between parties, politicians, and voters. If citizens receive more information on broken promises, their assessment of government performance might be overly negative and might not correspond to the relatively high degree of campaign pledge fulfilment. Results from a new paper, published in Political Communication, show that newspapers exert a strong and consistent negativity bias in reports on pledges. Newspapers report at least twice as much on broken than on fulfilled promises. Moreover, the focus on broken promises has increased in recent years. These findings can help us to understand why voters have such a negative perception of parties’ ability to fulfil their pledges. More

As also observed after recent national elections elsewhere, for example in Germany, Israel and Sweden, the recent Dáil election resulted in a very difficult government formation process. More

Over the course of the 2020 General Election a tidal wave of political adverts from parties and candidates have flooded Irish digital media. Over the past four weeks more than more than sixthousand adverts have been published online and as much as €32k was spent on Google and €350kon Facebook. Potentially as much as €410k has been spent by Irish political campaigners online. More

Almost immediately after An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar called the #GE2020 elections on 14 January, campaign posters started to appear on Ireland’s streets. We, as members of the public, knew the campaign was underway, but the issues around which the campaign would revolve were yet to come into clear view. With the manifestos yet to be published, what issues did parties and candidates rally around? And did the official start of the campaign change their issue focus compared to what they were talking about before the campaign started? More

Sinn Feín’s Mary Lou McDonald and People Before Profit leader Richard Boyd Barrett are widely considered to have won Monday’s Claire Byrne debate on the campus of NUI Galway. In a tweet, Harry McGee (@harrymcgee), political editor of the Irish Times, put the performance of both McDonald and Boyd Barrett ahead of the rest. More

The second leaders debate of the election campaign takes place tonight on RTÉ. In contrast to the first debate, it includes all seven major party leaders. The in-studio dynamics are likely to be quite different as a result, but it remains an open question whether or not being included matters in terms of the campaign. In this first Connected_Politics Lab campaign commentary, we explore this question by looking at online engagement with the Twitter accounts of Fine Gael, Fíanna Fail, and Sinn Féin before, during, and after last Wednesday’s debate. More