About my newsletter
Hi, I’m G. Elliott Morris. (But my friends, and my mom, just call me Elliott.)
I’m a data-driven journalist and the author of Strength in Numbers, a book about how public opinion polls work and why we need them to improve our democracy. This blog/newsletter deals with similar themes.
What is this?
I send a free weekly newsletter on what data can teach us about politics, society, and democracy. This usually takes the form of me parsing public opinion polling and social science research on political psychology, electoral politics, and representation and relating it to recent news or important debates.
My goal is to help people cut through the noise of most political commentary and understand the truth about politics and society using data and social science. The weekly newsletter takes the form of one longer column on an important topic and a discussion of new journal articles, reports on polls or news items that I learned from.
I also offer paid subscriptions for more content. Paid subscribers help support the weekly free newsletter for all readers. They do this by allowing me to make the blog a bigger part of my spare time, keep the main weekly posts free, help fund some of the equipment I need to conduct original analyses of polling data, and finance access to academic journals and polling archives so I can offer high-quality and well-researched content.
Paid subscribers to the newsletter also gain access to 1-2 extra posts each week. I always send out one post each Saturday collating my favorite reading from the last week. And when I have something a bit longer to share — usually on a particular study or a narrower political-psychological debate — I send it out mid-week. This typically happens biweekly as I try hard not to pollute your inbox with too many posts.
So in terms of scheduling:
Sunday: weekly column and roundup email for all subscribers
Mid-week biweekly: premium post for paid subscribers
Saturday: subscribers-only thread discussing a few articles about politics, polls, or other data journalism from the last week
I also send occasional Q&A/Ask Me Anything posts to subscribers, and I excerpt parts of longer essays or books I’m working on. So if any of that sounds like something you’re into please consider subscribing!
Click here to subscribe now!
Stuff that gets put below the fold
Here’s some more about me. First, a picture:
My current full-time job is writing data-driven stories for The Economist, where I’ve worked since mid-2018. Before that, I was an undergraduate political science student at the University of Texas at Austin, where I studied government, history, statistics and computer science.
And here’s the full story of this blog.
I have been blogging about data and politics since about 2015, when I started a website for political statistics as a second-year student in college. “The Crosstab” (a very good and funny name, trust me) was a home for all my writing, mostly on what I was learning in my political science courses as well as some early election forecasting models I put together. My first election model was for the 2016 Democratic primary. I made one for the general election that year, too, and made one of the first fully Bayesian election models for the 2018 midterms which also incorporated national polls, special election results, and district polling.
When I got hired by The Economist in 2018, the blog naturally grew mostly dormant — I posted just a few posts a month for the larger part of 2018. But I missed blogging! Not only is the lack of constraints freeing creatively, it’s also key to my process; Writing about social science research is one of the best ways to digest the major themes and findings of the literature, and it helps me develop ideas for more fleshed-out stories. I ramped up posts again in early 2019..
That’s when I moved my blog over to this site on Substack. That was, by the way, before Substack gained a reputation as a home for journalists with large followings to leave their mainstream outlets. To me, Substack is just a really good platform for sending a blog out via email.
So that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. I hope you’ll join me as the site continue to grow in the future!