Do you know what the problem with most political polling podcasts is? They aren't dry enough. Having had my fill of the jocular crew and their occasional obscure sports references over at 538 yesterday, I fished around for other podcasts that aim to suck the punditry and fun out of our current election cycle with cold statistical analysis. Many people recommended Politics & Polls with Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang.
On his endearingly dated website, Wang leverages his background in biophysics and neuroscience to do math-y things and aggregate public polling data. Wang's model is significantly more bullish on a Clinton victory than, say, Nate Silver's, contributing to his popularity among left-leaning individuals. I was curious to give this podcast a listen to learn more about the differences in his methodology that would lead him to this conclusion, because I'm a fucking nerd.
Instead, the two episodes that I listened to turned out to be engaging miniature history lessons with guests that only sometimes veered into polling minutia. On "Gender & Politics," Zelizer and Wang interview Rebecca Traister (author of All the Single Ladies), and she provided an insightful overview of how gender issues and even significant milestones in women's history can be overlooked or poorly covered. One example of this: after Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win a state's presidential party for a major party in 2008, almost no mainstream media outlets picked that up as the main takeaway (with many instead focusing on whether or not it helped that she cried beforehand). In another episode, the recent history of the religious right's role in politics was given a nuanced look, including divisions among different groups as to what actually constitutes a religious political agenda.
If I were to recommend this podcast to any type of person in particular, I guess it would be great for... people who are obsessed with politics, but are also completely burned out by this election, but also continue to have an appetite for more coverage from different perspectives? I can't be the only one.