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Public Opinion Of The Mueller Investigation Has Become More Partisan | FiveThirtyEight
It’s rare for Americans to agree on anything these days, particularly when it comes to a politically charged issue like special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. But a CNN poll released last Thursday found that a whopping 87 percent of Americans (including 92 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans) believe that once the Mueller investigation ends, there should be a full public report on the findings, whatever they may be.

There is no guarantee that the findings of the investigation will ever be made public, and in the meantime, Mueller has remained famously silent about what he’s found. But even the dribbles of information that have come out through court filings have slowly driven Democrats and Republicans further apart. As you can see in the chart below, which tracks polls of Mueller’s favorability over the past two years,1 there has been a small increase in how favorably Americans overall view Robert Mueller (the purple line),2 but when you break it down by party, it’s clear that opinions about the special counsel have become more polarized.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  538 
5 days ago by rgl7194
The Rams Really Made A Mess Of Things | FiveThirtyEight
It’s appropriate that the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever saw an interception on the first pass and set a record for the longest punt in a title game. In a season with the second-most points scored per game in NFL history, it was defense, not offense, that ruled the day.
Throughout the 13-3 New England victory, the Patriots frustrated the Rams’ offensive plans, pressuring quarterback Jared Goff into off-target throws, ill-advised scrambles and finally — when it mattered most, with 4:19 left in the fourth quarter — a game-clinching interception. In holding Los Angeles to 3 points — which tied the 1971 Dolphins with the lowest point total in a Super Bowl — the Patriots were relentless in their pass rush. They blitzed an incredible 41 percent of the time, and Goff was pressured on 39 percent of his dropbacks, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. And it wasn’t just the Patriots front six that made life difficult on the Rams; the Patriots secondary blanketed Los Angeles all night long. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Rams receivers had the worst separation when targeted by Goff since Sean McVay was named head coach.
football  rams  superbowl  538 
14 days ago by rgl7194
Even As A Freshman, Pelosi Was A Political Insider | FiveThirtyEight
Her early connections helped make her career. How will she handle Democrats’ new progressive outsiders?
The new class of House freshmen have gotten an awful lot of buzz for their willingness to upend the status quo. Many progressive rabble-rousers and moderate district-flippers have professed some dissatisfaction with the leadership and hierarchies of the House Democratic caucus. Much of their rhetoric centered on what they thought of the speaker of the House or what they wanted her to do. Moderates like Rep. Abigail Spanberger wanted a new speaker, while Rep. Rashida Tlaib wanted the speaker to give her a prime committee spot typically reserved for more seasoned members.
And that speaker in question? Rep. Nancy Pelosi, of course — the first woman speaker of the House, MaxMara poster girl, and polished face of the Democratic establishment for over a decade. Pelosi, a divisive figure in American politics and a near-universally acknowledged master of the legislative process, has served in Congress since 1987, making her freshman term 32 long years ago. These days she has become the object of high-profile dissension from a new generation in her party who want to break staid political conventions, yet when she first came to Washington, her insider party experience was seen as her strength.
As the 116th Congress kicks off, a potential Democratic battle looms not over ideology, but rather over how Democrats should best exert their power. For the newest crop of Democrats, overthrowing some of the old ways of doing things is key. But from the earliest days of her career, Pelosi has leveraged her access to backroom decision-making to exert political change. If the speaker and her caucus have a disagreement, it’s likelier to be about that point than about her policy positions.
pelosi  congress  gov2.0  politics  538 
16 days ago by rgl7194
The Rams Went Shopping For A Super Bowl — And It Worked | FiveThirtyEight
The Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams are a fascinating exercise in modern NFL team-building. While their opponents in Atlanta, the dynastic New England Patriots, seldom break the bank for anybody other than quarterback Tom Brady — who has been under center for a record nine Super Bowls with the Pats — the Rams spent aggressively after the end of last season. They opened the pocketbook for homegrown stars such as Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley, who each signed massive extensions, and also made a handful of outside pickups, including Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib and Dante Fowler Jr.
All told, the spree left L.A. with 34 percent of its 2018 salary-cap dollars committed to returning veteran players on fresh extensions (tops among playoff teams) and an additional 22 percent of the cap spent on incoming veterans (third only to the Bears and Texans among playoff teams), according to data from ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. The result was a star-studded roster that many called the dreaded D-word — “dream team” — a label that has come to symbolize a roster concept that doesn’t always work in the NFL. But unlike previous dream-team iterations, the Rams have made it work, primarily by relying less on the newcomers and more on the talent they’ve developed. And that might provide a blueprint for future champions, if not exactly future dynasties.
football  rams  business  trade  money  superbowl  538 
18 days ago by rgl7194
The Secret To The Rams’ Blocking Success Isn’t The Linemen. It’s Sean McVay. | FiveThirtyEight
Todd Gurley began the 2018 season on fire, accumulating yards and scoring touchdowns at a historic pace. Despite missing the final two games of the season, the second-highest-paid running back in the NFL led the league in rushing touchdowns and finished fourth in yards from scrimmage. And yet, Gurley may start Super Bowl LIII as a backup. Since returning from injury, the Rams star has been outplayed by fill-in journeyman running back C.J. Anderson, who has more or less relegated Gurley to a change-of-pace role.
How is this even possible? How can a player go from being the league’s premier running back to backing up a guy who was cut by the Denver Broncos in May, the Carolina Panthers in November and the Oakland Raiders in December? We’ve seen backup running backs fill in admirably before — when the Chiefs released star RB Kareem Hunt this season, Damien Williams was just as, if not more, productive1 — but it’s hard to remember it happening to a back as seemingly indispensable as Gurley, let alone on a stage as big as the Rams are on now.
football  rams  coach  mcbae  538  statistics  analytics 
18 days ago by rgl7194
FiveThirtyEight: Secret to Rams dominant OL is Sean McVay - Turf Show Times
The Los Angeles Rams have a dominant offensive line and the performance shouldn’t be solely credited to the personnel but the mastermind behind the scheme.
The Los Angeles Rams are in the Super Bowl. Armed with a strong rushing attack led by Todd Gurley for the majority of the season, Gurley led the league in rushing touchdowns while finishing fourth in yards from scrimmage. These gaudy stats were despite Gurley missing the final two games of the season.
With the nagging injury (that no one wants to admit to), Gurley actually doesn’t even lead the Rams in rushing for the postseason. That would go to NFL journeyman, C.J. Anderson. Anderson has been spectacular after being signed off the street.
The secret to the Rams' blocking success isn’t the linemen.
It's Sean McVay. https://t.co/W7crRLo7Lb
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) January 31, 2019
According to FiveThirtyEight, the secret to the Rams continued dominance isn’t solely that the offensive line is just that good, it’s that Sean McVay has schemed an attack that has truly maximized the talents of the team.
football  rams  coach  mcbae  538  statistics  analytics 
18 days ago by rgl7194
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19 days ago by ry4an
The Fight Over The State Of The Union Was About The Future Of Democracy | FiveThirtyEight
It’s hardly news anymore when President Trump breaks with democratic customs. His willingness to violate norms has been well covered throughout his time in office, and these violations can undermine democratic values, damage public trust in the press and potentially compromise the independence of institutions like the FBI.
But now it’s not just Trump who’s violating norms. On Jan. 23, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the unusual step of rescinding Trump’s invitation to deliver the State of the Union address until the government was reopened. And yes, now the government is open and Trump will deliver his address on “a mutually agreeable date.” But what this episode encapsulates is how the Trump presidency has put others in the position of having to decide between adhering to norms and standing up for democratic values (at least as they see them).
To some extent, the subject of the fight is irrelevant. The State of the Union is a cherished democratic tradition, depending on who you ask, but even I’ll argue that it isn’t vital. The address does give both parties1 an opportunity to lay out their priorities before the American people, but it rarely affects policy or public opinion. Rather, it’s the reasons Pelosi threatened to cancel the address that matter. Pelosi’s disinvitation of Trump highlights the extent to which politics has become a clash between the two parties.
gov2.0  politics  trump  congress  speech  538  democracy  pelosi 
20 days ago by rgl7194
How Anthony Davis Would Fit On The Lakers, Celtics, Nets, Sixers And Knicks | FiveThirtyEight
Lakers
Possible deal for Davis: Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and picks.
What the Lakers would look like with AD
Projected full-strength playoff depth chart for the 2018-19 Los Angeles Lakers with Anthony Davis, based on CARMELO plus/minus ratings...
The Lakers’ package3 — likely made up of some combination of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac — isn’t really a secret to anyone at this point. That group is young and talented. It just isn’t clear whether any of the players possess the talent to become stars at some point. (For the sake of this exercise, we left Ingram out of the deal, though the Pelicans could easily demand that he, Kuzma, Ball and others be included. Their preference remains to be seen.)
Ball, Kuzma and Ingram have all struggled to take the next step this season. That shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. It’s a huge adjustment learning to play with LeBron James and then having to go back to playing without him as he recovers from injury. But it does raise a big question for New Orleans: Should the Pelicans really be dealing away a superstar on the hope that one of these young Lakers will ascend into something significant? The answer becomes even more important considering that any picks the Lakers send over would likely be toward the back end of the first round, because a Davis-LeBron duo would peg Los Angeles as one of the top seeds out West.
In the short term, the Lakers’ full-strength postseason version with Davis would improve to a CARMELO rating of 1645,4 up from the 1589 posteason mark we’re estimating with their current roster. That is roughly the same as the Denver Nuggets’ full-strength playoff rating, but it may also be understating the Lakers’ chances. Would YOU want to bet against a team led by James and Davis in the playoffs (at least against anybody except perhaps the Warriors)?5
anthony_davis  basketball  lakers  rumor  trade  538 
20 days ago by rgl7194
Jared Goff Needs To Play Better | FiveThirtyEight
Most quarterbacks drive the bus to the Super Bowl. Their play is so sharp that it’s a major factor in their team’s advance through the postseason. A few, however, are merely passengers on the bus.
Based on his performance so far in the playoffs, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who will face off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday, may be a part of this second group. This is strange considering all that Goff accomplished in the regular season: He was top five in the league in yards per attempt and top 10 in passer rating, threw 32 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, was named to the Pro Bowl for a second straight year and was even a leading MVP candidate. But that Goff was absent from the divisional and championship rounds of the playoffs.
Through the first three rounds of the playoffs, Goff’s overall performance as measured by Total Quarterback Rating is 62.8, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group.1 Among the 26 postseason performances by quarterbacks who have played in the Super Bowl since February 2007 (including Brady’s 2018 postseason to date), Goff’s ranks 20th. That’s more than 10 points worse than the average Super Bowl quarterback over the same span (73.7). And it’s nearly 23 points short of Brady’s current postseason performance, the best of his six seasons in the sample.
football  rams  goff  superbowl  statistics  538 
20 days ago by rgl7194
There’s Really Never Been An NFL Dynasty Like The Patriots | FiveThirtyEight
The New England Patriots are back in yet another Super Bowl — No. 9 since 2001, for those keeping track — and this time they’re the favorite to beat the Los Angeles Rams, according to both Las Vegas and our Elo model. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and friends have been doing this kind of thing for so long that sometimes it’s easy to take their greatness for granted. But with another championship potentially looming, we thought we’d zoom out and take stock of just how incredible New England’s success has actually been. Because, love or hate the Patriots, we’ve never seen anything like what they’ve accomplished over the better part of the past two decades.
New England has enjoyed some of the most dominant seasons of all time.
Let’s start at the single-season level. To grade a team’s Elo dominance, we like to use a blend of its final end-of-season rating, its peak rating and its season-long average rating.1 According to that metric, the Patriots own a number of the greatest teams of the Super Bowl era (since 1966) — including both the greatest team to win a Super Bowl (in 2004) and the greatest team to not win a Super Bowl (in 2007).
football  patriots  538 
21 days ago by rgl7194
5 Scenarios For How Mueller’s Investigation Could End | FiveThirtyEight
We don’t know how or when special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election will end. It could wrap up in a few weeks or many months and could play out in several ways.
There might be a political bombshell, like a revelation that President Trump’s 2016 campaign was involved with election interference. Or it could fizzle out, with no additional major revelations and no evidence of wrongdoing by Trump. With the help of legal experts, I’ve spun out five plausible scenarios for how the special counsel’s investigation might conclude. Each carries different amounts of legal and political risk for Trump. Let’s start with the scenario that would be most harmful to Trump.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  538 
21 days ago by rgl7194
What The Roger Stone Indictment Does (And Doesn’t) Tell Us | FiveThirtyEight
Roger Stone’s indictment wasn’t a surprise. On Friday morning, the Republican strategist and longtime adviser to President Trump was arrested by FBI agents and indicted in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Stone has been predicting for months that he would eventually be criminally implicated in Mueller’s investigation, and sure enough, he was charged with seven counts, including witness tampering, obstruction of an official proceeding, and making false statements.
The charges are related to Stone’s communications with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, when the organization released thousands of emails from Democratic officials that were allegedly hacked by Russian agents. According to the indictment, Trump campaign officials were interested in learning about WikiLeaks’ releases of the stolen information that might be damaging to Hillary Clinton and an unnamed senior campaign figure was even “directed” to reach out to Stone to ask about the timing of future releases and the nature of the information WikiLeaks had about Clinton.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  538 
23 days ago by rgl7194
How The Stigma Against Obesity Harms People’s Health | FiveThirtyEight
If you’re one of the nearly 40 percent of Americans who are obese, you don’t need anyone to explain the associated stigma; you’ve probably experienced it in some form or another — jokes about your weight, teasing, bullying, employment discrimination (which is legal in 49 states), prejudice and unfair treatment. This kind of stigmatization doesn’t just create hurt feelings, it can harm your health. The research suggests that reducing stigma against obesity could give overweight people a health boost — even if they never shed a single pound.
Stigma can harm health in many ways. It can discourage people from taking part in healthy behaviors like exercise, which improves health regardless of whether it leads to weight loss, and it can erode mental health. One large study found that perceived weight discrimination is associated with a host of psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety, and another found that weight discrimination is associated with a shorter life, even after researchers controlled for body mass index in both cases. Even perceiving yourself as overweight when you aren’t is linked to poorer health down the line.
health  diet  psychology  538 
23 days ago by rgl7194
The Young Left’s Anti-Capitalist Manifesto | FiveThirtyEight
Its goal is to remake our economic system — and the Democratic Party.
A few months ago a friend wrote me an email with the subject line, “What is Sean McElwee.”
This is the kind of question that occurs to a person who spends a lot of time on Twitter. In 2018, McElwee’s tweets seemed to abound in liberal cyberspace. He was best known for his jeremiads about abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement — for much of the past year, McElwee’s handle read as “we’re going to abolish ICE.” The online racket attracted attention. MSNBC host Chris Hayes interviewed him, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand showed up to the weekly happy hour he throws, and he was named to the Politico 50 along with the likes of Mick Mulvaney, Alan Dershowitz and one Donald J. Trump. Quite a lot for a 26-year-old whose main gig is at a fledgling think tank he co-founded, Data For Progress.
But still, what is he? McElwee calls himself a “jackass of all trades” but admits that trying to explain his value to those not enmeshed in the online world of politics — potential donors to his think tank, say — is difficult.
gov2.0  politics  Dems  liberal  capitalism  538  activism 
23 days ago by rgl7194
How To Make Sure Your Recycling Gets Recycled | FiveThirtyEight
So now you know: Throwing all your recycling into a single bin ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Single-stream recycling may be more convenient, but, as we reported last week, it’s also to blame for a huge increase in contamination that makes your recycling unrecyclable. You think you’re saving the planet, but you’re actually just adding to the landfill.
Since that story came out, many readers have contacted me asking for tips on how to reduce recycling contamination. I went back and spoke with a couple of my sources, and there are definitely some steps you can take. Remember, though, some contamination is intrinsic to the way single-stream recycling works — you’re unlikely to fix the problem of crushed glass shards mingling with paper and plastic on your own. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help.
recycling  howto  538 
23 days ago by rgl7194
How Kirsten Gillibrand Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary | FiveThirtyEight
On Tuesday, under the hot TV lights of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” New York’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tossed her hat into the presidential ring, declaring that she’s forming an exploratory committee.
Gillibrand is one of several Democratic women expected to run, and her campaign will make its central appeal to women voters. But given the oft-times gendered dynamics of the 2016 presidential campaign, Gillibrand is likely to face challenges because of her gender and her vocal support of the #MeToo movement. A politician who has shifted her politics in tandem with the ever-liberalizing Democratic base, Gillibrand could open herself up to charges that she has changed positions opportunistically. Still, she remains in the top tier of contenders in the primary field because of her fundraising power and active decade in national politics.
politics  Dems  gov2.0  election  gillibrand  538 
23 days ago by rgl7194
How Broken Is The Debate About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? | FiveThirtyEight
sarahf (Sarah Frostenson, politics editor): Conservatives just can’t stop talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But neither can Democrats. She has captured headlines since her surprise primary victory in New York’s 14th Congressional District over 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley. And her continued efforts to push the Democratic Party further to the left has also captured much of the national spotlight.
So what do we make of the coverage of the freshman superstar? What is it about Ocasio-Cortez that has the attention of both Republicans and Democrats?
julia_azari (Julia Azari, political science professor at Marquette University and FiveThirtyEight contributor): I’m of like 47 different minds on this, because there’s so much going on: media coverage, party politics, her race/ethnicity, gender and age.
sarahf: Fair. Let’s talk about her age first. At 29, she is the youngest congresswoman ever. So, criticisms from her colleagues have often focused on her lack of experience.
gov2.0  politics  congress  AOC  debate  538 
23 days ago by rgl7194

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