Posts tagged politics
NFL Players Taking a Knee is More Complex and Polarizing than We Think

If a topic is worth quantifying - it’s also worth understanding the 'Why’s' behind it I think I’ve seen at least 10 polls on the NFL Protest issue in the last week. As usual, these polls are simple structured questions, sadly usually not much more than a simple agree or disagree option. For example, the CNN poll released this weekend showing 49% Against 43% Supporting, (I’m not quite sure what happened to the remaining 8%). A PBS/Marist Poll had 48% of Americans saying protests were respectful and 46% disrespectful. Yet another, Seaton Hall Poll, had 84% supporting the players right to protest!

Which of these is correct??? It seems with structured questions, you really do Receive what you Ask for

It’s different when you allow people to answer whatever they want. As we have done here on the blog several times before, in order to challenge structured/forced-answer polling and explore the results we get when people are allowed to say anything they want about a topic. This weekend we asked 1,500 Americans 1 single question:

“Q. What are your thoughts about NFL Players 'Taking a Knee' during the national anthem? [Please elaborate why you are for or against what these players are doing]”

We utilized our text analytics software platform OdinText to classify responses into 3 groups. Those clearly against the players protesting (46%), those supporting the players taking a knee (33%), and those who did not take a clear position either way, i.e. they either did not care, understand, or had more mixed emotions on the topic (21%). We then weighted these groups based on location, age, and gender to as accurately as possible project onto the general US population. Post weighting comments fell out slightly more even, though still with a majority Against the protests (43%), over a third Supporting player protests (37%) and one in five not taking a side explicitly (21%).

NFL OdinText Chart 1

In past text analytics polls, we have seen differences from other mainstream structured polls which seem to indicate text polls can provide slightly different, more accurate proportions as they relate to actual behavior (our pre-election TextPoll indicated the Trump-Clinton upset ahead of time).

We believe this may partly be due to the fact that when you ask someone why they feel a certain way, there is additional cognition when answering. Of course the true beauty of text analytics lies in better understanding and quantifying the relative importance of the various Why’s.

The WHY's Behind The Opinions

Visualizing the comment data about WHY Americans actually feel the way they do about the protests quickly paints a picture of the sentiment and the reasons behind them.

OdinText nfl vizualization 2

Along the X axis from left (those against the protests in red) to right (those supporting the protests in green), with Y axis representing frequency of mentions, we see that “disrespectfulness” is the most frequently occurring theme, and it is indeed more frequently mentioned than the primary reason for supporting the protests on the right in green “freedom of speech”.

In the chart below we can see the most important reasons WHY fans agree or disagree with player protests even more clearly (sorted by difference gap).

NFL OdinText chart 3

Beyond looking at sentiment and what was answered, with text analytics we may even consider the mechanics of how questions were answered. Those who were not clearly for one side or the other, while answering fastest (49 seconds on average) and having shorter answers on average tended to use slightly longer/complex words. Those Against, while taking longest to answer (1.5 min on average) tended to have responses of more similar sentence and word length as those Supporting the player protests (though the latter group answered somewhat faster, in about 1 minute). This longer response time might give some indication on the relative importance of the issue to the group, i.e. those Against the protesters may take the issue more seriously/personally.

The most interesting thing here, though of course, are the specific topics mentioned by the two groups. Among those Against the players taking a knee, Disrespect for flag, Country and Armed service members was the most frequent issue mentioned. Several mentioned that they would be choosing not to watch Football/NFL. Among respondents who self identified as Veterans in their response, somewhat more were in the Against camp.

Freedom of Speech, and the Right to Peaceful Protest were the two most mentioned topics related to Support for player protests.

The two sides seem to differ most on the appropriateness of venue, with many of those disagreeing with the players, pointing out that they are well paid (over paid in fact), and that the work place/NFL/Entertainment is not the place for politics. The idea of appropriateness not just of venue, but respect for flag and country was also brought up frequently by those with more Mixed opinions.

Don't Forget to Drill Down Some

I would be remiss if I told you three simple charts were sufficient in order to understand the American Psyche on an emotionally charged issue such as this one. One of our users pointed this out quite elegantly in a guest post recently here.

While many times a good visualization or two are enough to communicate everything you need to know in a text analysis, other times, we do need to remind ourselves to give a few actual example quotes.

While obviously not in our data for this study, I believe Obama may have said things well on the NFL Protests before leaving office “I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation. But I also always try to remind folks that part of what makes this country special is that we respect people's rights to have a different opinion…it is important for everybody to listen to each other. I want (the protesters) to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing… But I also want people to think about the pain he may be expressing about somebody who's lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot."

I’m leaving you below with about a dozen sample quotes (more than I usually would recommend) for each of the three groups we identified above [sic]. These days, perhaps more so than ever before, I think we really do need to take the time to listen to each other. I welcome your thoughts to this post below, and am curious if any of the specific example quotes below resonate with you and if so which one?

AGAINST

“stupid disrespectful to our soldiers these are paid men just do your job what if doctors and nurses stated their political views when you where going into surgery a person wouldn't care for that either”

“I'm completely against it as an immigrant i have always been in awe of america's patriotism in this political climate we need to stand strong together and love our country otherwise this country will not last”

“i think it disrespects the u.s the national anthem an the american flag and is an inappropriate expression of private political views in the workplace during the player's performance of his duties and disrespects the fact that the fans in the stands have paid their hard earned money to watch a football game not to be subjected to the political views of the players the fans aren't paying for their tickets so that players can express themselves at work”

“im all for free speech but not during our national anthem i find it completely disrespectful for the true heroes that chose not to sit down and fought for our country there is no debate it's classless and demeaning and a distraction to sports”

“I am not allowed to make political statements at my job they shouldn't at theirs either the NFL wouldn't let the cowboys wear a patch in support of police yet it will allow this madness I am done with the NFL for life”

“Just play football I don't tune in to have politics pushed in my face if i wanted to hear others political views I'd watch cnn not the NFL”

“wWhy not protest any cause that anyone thinks of, valid or not, have no order at public events everything wrong in the world should be protested not just selected causes not fair to just limit to a few causes”

“As a veteran I am completely against anyone who takes a knee or protests during our national anthem I understand people feeling a need to peacefully protest but during our national anthem is not the time”

“Counterproductive and self indulgent inevitably perceived as a poke in the eye to the USA protest doesn't illuminate the cause hence a failure”

“They have a right to protest I have a right to not watch and cancel my NFL package which I have done”

“iIm against it they need to focus on football and not do something that further puts our president in the spotlight they're only rewarding the very person they're trying to speak out against”

UNCLEAR/NO OPINION/MIXED

“Stupid controversy desperate president grasping for distractions”

“I don't believe I could care any less about NFL nor the national anthem and how to listen to it…”

“I am very mixed on this. Part of me thinks it is wrong and getting out of hand that our flag and national anthem represent the freedom we have from sacrifices of those who have fought and died to protect us and that kneeling represents lack of respect, but like it or not the freedom allowed to live in our democracy gives us the right to do things as long as people are not physically hurt or mentally crushed freedom to protest i cannot give better answer”

“There is a political process...this...and Mr President please stop using twitter and calling names that is not appropriate either it all causes strife... players want to make a statement then use the process”

“I am for their freedom of protest I am against using the NFL as a venue of protest leave politics out of the NFL”

“People have the right to express themselves people fought for the right to peacefully protest no one is against the us army or the flag sports and politics shouldn't mix either have players stop coming out of the locker room for the anthem or stop doing it all together at games”

“They certainly have the right to protest however sports does not need to be mixed with politics sports is an escape from that”

“I'm neither for or against the players what i am against is the president and his endless cruel remarks on any subject”

“As long as they decide what to do as a team who cares. Before the year 2000 players were never on the field for it anyway”

“I am a veteran part of me accepts that one of the things I left my family and home to do was to protect others freedom of speech on the other hand I think there are ways of protesting that don't show disrespect to the nation via its symbol the flag that gives you those rights and doesn't serve as a slap in the face to everyone who has saluted it fold it to hand to a devastated family member or had one of those folded flags handed to them”

“I fully support their 1st amendment right to do so and think it is absolutely ridiculous that they are expressing their outrage against a country whose unparalleled and unprecedented levels of personal freedom and protection have made it possible for them to become multi millionaires among 1 of the wealthiest people on earth in their 20s for playing a game the right to free speech means the right to say and support ridiculous things including ridiculously myopic grievances they should try living one month in the life of any ordinary citizen from basically anywhere in the southern hemisphere and see if they ever complain again about life in the united states but go ahead kneel sit lay down stand on your head whatever makes you feel”

SUPPORT

“They began protesting the plight in america of African Americans now the president has forced them to protest him it's not illegal to not stand hand on heart for the american anthem and it is their constitutional right to protest ills in our country any way they choose no one mentions but part of every oath for public office including president say you will defend the constitution the president needs to read it”

“We have freedom of speech period not being able to exercise that makes us no different than Russia or North Korea or others exercising our freedoms should be the highest honor to the military why else have they fought and died plus the flag represents America not the military not veterans the national anthem represents America not just the military and veterans the flag flies over government buildings it's carried by olympic teams it's hung on lawns it's a symbol of America and does not solely belong to patriotism or the military or veterans by requiring them to stand would be forced nationalism and the first step to losing our freedoms that veterans have fought for to require them to stand would be spitting in the face of those who died so that we can be truly free”

“I think they are courageous to use their position to express their concern about inequality in America as both the athletes and many veterans have expressed the kneeling is not about disrespect to the flag or the anthem sad that we must disagree about everything these days it seems that people would rather believe it is an act of disrespect than even try to understand the issue”

“I applaud it you don't have to agree with their stance to be glad to see people exercising their rights to free speech”

“It's an effective public protest against a president that solely focuses on public image at the cost of any substantial or meaningful actions”

“I'm for it but it should be for police brutality against all Americans it is not just blacks that are being harmed”

“It is their freedom of speech if we force people to stand we are no better than North Korea, China or Syria all places that force standing to their pledge”

“I think their stance is admirable and courageous taking a stand for those who have no voice”

“Ok they are like it or not role models and seem to be on justice's side and if the pres would shut up more we would all be better off”

“I am for the nflNFL players taking a knee our flag means nothing if your brother is not included or does not feel included is mistreated or feels mistreated we should address the needs of all citizens and not just a few”

“Only black men with a consistent platform to make a statement regarding racial inequality”

“It's their right this country takes everything too seriously the citizens of this country need to relax”

“Taking a knee is what sports players do to show respect when a fellow player is injured it is another way to show respect and courage”

“They are right to use their position in the spotlight to draw attention to social issues within our society the issues at hand are not about respecting our veterans or the flag itself and we should not be distracted by these arguments”

“You can't demand respect”

“It's their right why are public displays of patriotism necessary in the first place”

 

NOTE: This TextPollTM is a quick non client project intended to demonstrate unstructured data analysis using the OdinText analytics software. That said, results have a confidence interval of +/- 2.5% at the 95% confidence level (greater than the 3 outside polls mentioned at beginning of post). If this had been an actual study we would have recommended looking at data by political affiliation as well as NFL viewing.

About Tom H. C. Anderson Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose patented SaaS analytics platform is used by companies like Disney and Coca-Cola to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR and the ARF. He was named one of the “Four under 40” market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson. Click here to request a demo or additional info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text analysis answers: Is the Quran really more violent than the Bible? (3of3)

Text analysis answers: Is the Quran really more violent than the Bible?by Tom H. C. Anderson

Text Analytics Bible Q

Part III: The Verdict

To recap…

President Obama in his State of the Union last week urged Congress and Americans to “reject any politics that target people because of race or religion”—clearly a rebuke of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

This exchange, if you will, reflects a deeper and more controversial debate that has wended its way into not only mainstream politics but the national discourse: Is there something inherently and uniquely violent about Islam as a religion?

It’s an unpleasant discussion at best; nonetheless, it is occurring in living rooms, coffee shops, places of worship and academic institutions across the country and elsewhere in the world.

Academics of many stripes have interrogated the texts of the great religions and no doubt we’ll see more such endeavors in the service of one side or the other in this debate moving forward.

We thought it would be an interesting exercise to subject the primary books of these religions—arguably the core of their philosophy and tenets—to comparison using the advanced data mining technology that Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies and other institutions routinely use to comb through large sets of unstructured text to identify patterns and uncover insights.

So, we’ve conducted a surface-level comparative analysis of the Quran and the Old and New Testaments using OdinText to uncover with as little bias as possible the extent to which any of these texts is qualitatively and/or quantitatively distinct from the others using metrics associated with violence, love and so on.

Again, some qualifiers…

First, I want to make very clear that we have not set out to prove or disprove that Islam is more violent than other religions.

Moreover, we realize that the Old and New Testaments and the Quran are neither the only literature in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, nor do they constitute the sum of these religions’ teachings and protocols.

I must also reemphasize that this analysis is superficial and the findings are by no means intended to be conclusive. Ours is a 30,000-ft, cursory view of three texts: the Quran and the Old and New Testaments, respectively.

Lastly, we recognize that this is a deeply sensitive topic and hope that no one is offended by this exercise.

 

Analysis Step: Similarities and Dissimilarities

Author’s note: For more details about the data sources and methodology, please see Part I of this series.

In Part II of the series, I shared the results of our initial text analysis for sentiment—positive and negative—and then broke that down further across eight primary human emotion categories: Joy, Anticipation, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Surprise, Fear/Anxiety and Trust.

The analysis determined that of the three texts, the Old Testament was the “angriest,” which obviously does not appear to support an argument that the Quran is an especially violent text relative to the others.

The next step was to, again, staying at a very high level, look at the terms frequently mentioned in the texts to see what if anything these three texts share and where they differ.

Similarity Plot

Text Analytics Similarity Plot 2

This is yet another iterative way to explore the data from a Bottom-Up data-driven approach and identify key areas for more in-depth text analysis.

For instance—and not surprisingly—“Jesus” is the most unique and frequently mentioned term in the New Testament, and when he is mentioned, he is mentioned positively (color coding represents sentiment).

“Jesus” is also mentioned a few times in the Quran, and, for obvious reasons, not mentioned at all in the Old Testament. But when “Jesus” is mentioned in the New Testament, terms that are more common in the Old Testament—such as “God” and “Lord”—often appear with his name; therefore the placement of “Jesus” on the map above, though definitely most closely associated with the New Testament, is still more closely related to the Old Testament than the Quran because these terms appear more often in the former.

Similarly, it may be surprising to some that “Israel” is mentioned more often in the Quran than the New Testament, and so the Quran and the Old Testament are more textually similar in this respect.

So…Is the Quran really more violent than the Old and New Testaments?

Old Testament is Most Violent

A look into the verbatim text suggests that the content in the Quran is not more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts. In fact, of the three texts, the content in the Old Testament appears to be the most violent.

Killing and destruction are referenced slightly more often in the New Testament than in the Quran (2.8% vs. 2.1%), but the Old Testament clearly leads—more than twice that of the Quran—in mentions of destruction and killing (5.3%).

New Testament Highest in ‘Love’, Quran Highest in ‘Mercy’

The concept of ‘Love’ is more often mentioned in the New Testament (3.0%) than either the Old Testament (1.9%) or the Quran (1.26%).

But the concept of ‘Forgiveness/Grace’ actually occurs more often in the Quran (6.3%) than the New Testament (2.9%) or the Old Testament (0.7%). This is partly because references to “Allah” in the Quran are frequently accompanied by “The Merciful.” Some might dismiss this as a tag or title, but we believe it’s meaningful because mercy was chosen above other attributes like “Almighty” that are arguably more closely associated with deities.

Text Analytics Plot 3

‘Belief/ Faith’, ‘Non-Members’ and ‘Enemies’

A key difference emerged immediately among the three texts around the concept of ‘Faith/Belief’.

Here the Quran leads with references to ‘believing’ (7.6%), followed by the New Testament (4.8%) and the Old Testament a distant third (0.2%).

Taken a step further, OdinText uncovered what appears to be a significant difference with regard to the extent to which the texts distinguish between ‘members’ and ‘non-members’.

Both the Old and New Testaments use the term “gentile” to signify those who are not Jewish, but the Quran is somewhat distinct in referencing the concept of the ‘Unbeliever’ (e.g.,“disbelievers,” “disbelieve,” “unbeliever,” “rejectors,” etc.).

And in two instances, the ‘Unbeliever’ is mentioned together with the term “enemy”:

“And when you journey in the earth, there is no blame on you if you shorten the prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve will give you trouble. Surely the disbelievers are an open enemy to you

 An-Nisa 4:101

“If they overcome you, they will be your enemies, and will stretch forth their hands and their tongues towards you with evil, and they desire that you may disbelieve

Al-Mumtahina 60:2

That said, the concept of “Enemies” actually appears most often in the Old Testament (1.8%).

And while the concept of “Enemies” occurs more often in the Quran than in the New Testament (0.7% vs 0.5%, respectively), there is extremely little difference in how they are discussed (i.e., who and how to deal with them) with one exception: the Quran is slightly more likely than the New Testament to mention “the Devil” or “evil” as being an enemy (.2% vs 0.1%).

Conclusion

While A LOT MORE can be done with text analytics than what we’ve accomplished here, it appears safe to conclude that some commonly-held assumptions about and perceptions of these texts may not necessarily hold true.

Those who have not read or are not fairly familiar with the content of all three texts may be surprised to learn that no, the Quran is not really more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts.

Personally, I’ll admit that I was a bit surprised that the concept of ‘Mercy’ was most prevalent in the Quran; I expected that the New Testament would rank highest there, as it did in the concept of ‘Love’.

Overall, the three texts rated similarly in terms of positive and negative sentiment, as well, but from an emotional read, the Quran and the New Testament also appear more similar to one another than either of them is to the significantly “angrier” Old Testament.

Of course, we’ve only scratched the surface here. A deep analysis of unstructured data of this complexity requires contextual knowledge, and, of course, some higher level judgment and interpretation.

That being said, I think this exercise demonstrates how advanced text analytics and data mining technology may be applied to answer questions or make inquiries objectively and consistently outside of the sphere of conventional business intelligence for which our clients rely on OdinText.

I hope you found this project as interesting as I did and I welcome your thoughts.

Yours fondly,

Tom @OdinText

TOM DEC 300X250

 

Brand Analytics Tips – Branding and Politics

Text Analytics Tips - Branding Ford = Donald Trump and Adidas = Bernie Sanders! Text Analysis of 500 Brands by Political Affiliation - by Tom H. C. Anderson (Final part of this week’s Brand Analytics post)

During the last two days we’ve analyzed a very simple open-ended/comment survey question, namely Q. When you think of brand names, what company’s product or service brand names first come to mind?”. While OdinText can handle this question easily right out of the box without any customization, doing the types of analysis we’ve been doing either by human coding method, or any other text analytics software, or scripting in R and Python etc. would have been difficult to impossible.

While we could certainly continue to analyze this brand awareness question, which can be very useful in brand equity tracking or advertising effectiveness , I’m going to end the analysis of this question today by looking at a variable I thought would be interesting, namely political affiliation.

OdinTextAnalyticsPolitics2

Politics of Brands

Are major brand names politically affiliated? There has been some previous research into this question by looking at how corporations tend to make political donations. In fact, there’s even an iPhone app called, you guessed it, BuyPartisan which compiles campaign finance data from the top Fortune 500 companies and matches it with their products. But do Republicans and Democrats have different brand consideration sets?

Today we’ll look at our recent random sample of over a thousand Americans to see if there is a significant link between unaided top of mind brand awareness and political affiliation in hopes of understanding which liquid soap if any Donald Trump supporters might be more likely to buy.

Political Polling Democrat Republican Text Analytics Chart

Though there isn’t a statistically significant differences between Democrats and Republicans across the majority of the 500+ brands mentioned in our study, there are a few notable exceptions.

The most Republican brand out there is Dawn. For some reason this liquid soap is TEN times more likely to be mentioned by Republicans as Democrats (3% vs. 0.3%)!

Five other popular brands that skew significantly more Republican than Democrat are Ford (12% vs. 6%), Kellogg’s (4% vs. 1%), Palmolive and Wells Fargo (both 1.4% vs. 0%).

Conversely, brands that are more likely to be Top of mind among Democrats are Air Jordan (2.3% vs. 0%), Target (7% vs. 3%), Adidas (5% vs. 2%), and Bose (1.4% vs. 0%).

Why some of these differences? Your guess is as good as mine. In some cases like Dawn, perhaps it has to do with National distribution channels and more ‘Red States’ getting stocked with this brand? Interestingly though, according to BuyPartisan, “buying Dawn dish soap will support the Republican party”, so perhaps there is more to some of these categories. In other cases like Air Jordan and Adidas (the latter which is German), these two brands at least are perhaps more likely to be seen in larger urban settings and therefore more ‘blue’?

Blogging about brands for the past three days was more fun than I thought. Several people reached out to us with further questions. Of course if anyone would like additional information on OdinText please fill out our simple text analytics demo request.

Please come back next week for more Text Analytics Tips as we plan to explore a very different data set with different insights.

Tom @OdinText

 

[NOTE: Tom H. C. Anderson is Founder of Next Generation Text Analytics software firm OdinText Inc.]

Why I FourSquare – Personal Big Data and Serendipity!

FourSquare I’ve been asked more than once, even by some of my more social media savvy Facebook friends why I use Foursquare. “What’s the point?!” they say.

Well other than the more obvious benefits which include receiving the occasional promotional discounts I also occasionally do it as part of my personal Big Data diligence. At some point, a couple of years from now (probably sooner) I believe we’ll all have tremendous amounts of personal big data, and those of us who have more of it will be able to do more interesting analysis and comparisons. As our software ( thanks to text analytics), can more easily handle this unstructured data and connect it to other relevant information I believe it may well enrich not just my ability to tap into memories, but even help with more advanced analysis related to my health and wellbeing.

But that’s not all, it can also be an integral part of networking and can provide that serendipitous aspect that is missing from most of the mainstream social media networks.

Take this past week for instance when I made an impromptu trip to Toronto Canada. Prior to arriving on Friday I posted a question to my Facebook friends about recommendations for restaurants etc. In a matter of minutes I had several suggestions from Canadian friends and others who had been to the city.

On Saturday my first restaurant choice was totally booked, and so I checked both Yelp and FourSquare for nearby options. After finding a suitable sushi place, and having enjoyed a great meal, I realized I hadn’t checked in and so I did. Within less than 5 minutes I saw familiar face I hadn’t seen in quite some time. The President of the Canadian Marketing Research Association (MRIA) had been walking by the restaurant, saw my check-in and came in to say hello. I invited her to join us and we shared a beer and some Sake, while catching up on everything from research industry gossip to US-Canadian politics. She also gave me some great tips on what to do the next day. I always find travel more rewarding when you can get the local insights into life, including important do’s and don’ts.

Believe it or not, this has happened to me more than once - and that’s why I use FourSquare.

Thanks Sandy! ;)

@TomHCAnderson

 

 

[Full Disclosure: Tom H. C. Anderson is Managing Partner of Anderson Analytics, developers of a patented Next Generation approach to text analytics known as OdinText. For more information and to inquire about software licensing visit OdinText INFO Request.]