### Were Chrysler Dealerships Closed Based on Politics?

Two days ago, Dave Burris of

Also left out of these calculations is any reference to a control group. How many car dealers overall donate to Republicans, and how many to Democrats? Without that number, the "heavy correlation" is meaningless.

Nate Silver of

*DelawarePolitics*took note of an alarming statistic:Doug Ross points out that there is a heavy correlation between big Republican donors and which Chrysler dealers got their licenses yanked. Very interesting.Dave came back today with a followup link to this post, which quotes a lawyer for several of the dealers. Dave presents it as blockbuster news:

Doug Ross blows the doors off of any doubt that the Chrysler shutterings were politically-motivated. Welcome to DealerGate.Ross reviews the relative merits of closing several dealers, and concludes that the odds against closing just five particular dealers is "one ten-millionth of one percent." Now I defy any serious student of statistical analysis to find a text that shows how a sample of five cases can yield such a high level of confidence.

Also left out of these calculations is any reference to a control group. How many car dealers overall donate to Republicans, and how many to Democrats? Without that number, the "heavy correlation" is meaningless.

Nate Silver of

*FiveThirtyEight*does the math:So an alarming inference vanishes in the face of a straightforward statistical comparison. Come on guys, do your homework.Overall, 88 percent of the contributions from car dealers went to Republican candidates and just 12 percent to Democratic candidates. By comparison, the list of dealers on Doug Ross's list (which I haven't vetted, but I assume is fine) gave 92 percent of their money to Republicans -- not really a significant difference.

There's no conspiracy here, folks -- just some bad math.

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