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Political Analysis

Political Analysis
A Guide to Data and Statistics

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March 2023 | 504 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Why let other people explain the world to you?

From news reporting on elections or unfolding political crises to everyday advertising, you are confronted with statistics. Rather than being swayed by bad arguments and questionable correlations, this book introduces you to the most common and contemporary statistical methods so that you can better understand the world. It's not about mindless number crunching or flashy techniques but about knowing when to use statistics as the best means to analyse a problem. 

Whether you want to answer:

“Who is most likely to turn out and vote at the next election?”


“What accounts for some political conflicts escalating to war?”


you’ll explore what can and can’t be done with statistics, and how to select the most appropriate statistical techniques and correctly interpret the results.

Perhaps you simply want to understand enough to pass your statistics class and move on. Maybe you want to build your knowledge so that you are not excluded from research and debate. Or it could be the first step towards more advanced study. Whatever your goal, this book guides you through the journey, empowering you to confidently interact with statistics to make you a more formidable student, employee, and democratic citizen.

The Scientific Method And Statistics
Theory And Hypotheses
Data And Variables
Research Design
Statistics And The Scientific Study Of Politics
Descriptive Statistics
Univariate Descriptive Statistics
Measures Of Association I: Nominal- And Ordinal-Level Variables
Measures Of Association II: Means Comparison And Correlation
Measures Of Association III: (Bivariate) Regression
Inferential Statistics
An Introduction To Inference
Inference For Nominal- & Ordinal-level Variables
The Central Limit Theorem
Inference For Interval-Level Variables
Multiple Regression
Multiple Regression
Extensions To Multiple Regression
Issues With Multiple Regression
Binary Logistic Regression
Categorical And Limited Dependent Variables
Current Debates
Big Alternatives
The Ethics Of Data Analysis

Written in clear, engaging and entertaining way, this indispensable book offers students everything they need to master the fundamentals of political analysis, offering an accessible entry-point to what is often an intimidating topic. This will be top of my next syllabus!  


Dr Govinda Clayton
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Explanations are clear, illustrations well chosen, and language simple but precise. Intuition is praised without sacrificing rigour. Equations are kept to the minimum but all essential statistical concepts are covered. This is a very good foundational textbook, best for undergraduate-level beginners in Data Analysis, in Political Science and probably beyond. It would work well as an accompaniment to a class, yet its style is fluid and colourful enough to be just as suitable for independent reading. Piqued by the growing Data Science approach, and by the realisation of its own past excesses, Political Data Analysis teaching is gently but surely moving away from what Loveless rightly names the "heavy hammer" of econometrics. This experienced teacher contributes nicely to that move in this new textbook. 

Philippe Blanchard
University of Warwick, UK

Loveless provides a clear and highly approachable introduction to use of data and statistics for answering social science questions. Political Analysis offers a valuable guide for budding quantitative methodologists on their journey from the foundations of scientific inquiry and research design to descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. It will appeal to newcomers and more advanced students alike, written in a way that alleviates any anxiety about learning statistics. 

Travis Coan
University of Exeter, UK

This book was fundamental for me for a very simple reason: without it, I would not have been able to write the thesis I had in mind. During my study abroad period in Erasmus, I was introduced to statistics for the first time. It was then that I decided to write a thesis on statistical research. However, I soon realized that I lacked essential knowledge and would need to take a crash course in statistics to conduct my research. Luckily, someone recommended Professor Loveless' book, which turned out to be my salvation. The text is written in simple language and explains all concepts in a very clear and comprehensible way, even those that may be less intuitive. At first, I was unsure if I would be able to understand certain analyses and interpret results, given my background in philosophy and upcoming master's degree in international relations. This book has helped me navigate topics that I never thought I could understand. It is written in a way that is easy for students to understand, with practical examples from everyday life. I particularly appreciated that the text made all topics accessible and relatable.

In summary, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in approaching statistics and understanding its fascinating and practical applications, regardless of their academic background. Readers will be amazed by how much they can learn, even if they never thought it possible.

Martina Antico
University of Bologna
Student Review

As someone who has been doing statistics for political science for a few years now, I want to tell you about a textbook that has really helped take my quantitative skills to the next level - Political Analysis by Matthew Loveless. 

Beyond just gaining a deeper understanding of statistical techniques, this book has enabled me to extend and apply my new knowledge in impactful ways. I've been able to use the methods in research projects for other political science classes, adding more sophisticated quantitative analyses that were only possible thanks to Loveless' text.

For instance, I was able to run crosstabs, correlations, and multiple regressions to enrich my research paper for my Data science reports.

That's why I found Loveless' book so helpful. He takes complex topics like regression and makes them feel approachable and intuitive. By using straight-forward language and relevant political science examples, I finally felt like I grasped the intuition behind regression analysis. I remember he walked through an example examining economic voting that made the concept click for me.

Loveless also emphasizes interpreting results and communicating findings effectively. After each technique, he shows you how to comprehensively understand the output and convey your insights to others. Additionally, by learning from Loveless' applied, political science focused approach, my interest was piqued to explore other areas of quantitative political analysis. I found myself curious to learn more about survey methodology, public policy modeling, geospatial analysis, and more.

Overall, this book has taken my statistical skills for political analysis to new heights. Topics that seemed daunting like regression are now firmly in my toolkit thanks to Loveless' clear and intuitive approach. I've even successfully applied these advanced methods in my senior thesis research.

If you're looking to strengthen your quantitative analysis abilities, I highly recommend this text. Loveless' teaching style brings the material to life and builds lasting intuition.

Apolline Tulle
University of Bologna
Student Review

Dr Matt Loveless single handedly taught me the skills I needed to become a quantitative researcher and to make me truly understand political science, data and statistics. As I read this book, I can hear his clear explanations, concise language and entertaining illustrations which allowed me to get my head around all aspects of political science. He draws upon the depth, breadth and wealth of experience as a teacher to make sense of statistics.

I use the book often as a refresher of the basics of quantitative analysis— in particular multiple regression and binary logit regression. The book sits on my bookshelf as a reference for when I need some guidance on how to tackle tricky data science questions. Even though this area (and its research methods) evolves quickly, this book remains a comprehensive guide and allows readers to practice those skills, regardless of how politics changes!

Political Analysis, like Dr Matt Loveless, is approachable and clear. It will alleviate your anxiety around statistics and allow you to develop your data analysis skills to ensure your research is cutting-edge.

Dr Kathryn Simpson
Associate Professor, Keele Business School, Staffordshire
User Review

Not quite correct for reading list but it will be mentioned in new books! - I'm a librarian. I've purchased a copy for the library. I saw a write up that looked good but needed to see inside. We have had interest by our professors and students in this subject.

Ms Sally Murray
Accounting, The American University of Paris
April 12, 2023

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