Mathematics and Political Science

Political scientists want to do three or five things: that concern mathematics. That statement is written in order to illustrate the often fuzzy, variable and incredibly complex issues of dealing with massive numbers of diverse people.

 Political scientists might need to forecast the probability that people will behave a certain way, or to generalize from small samples to the larger population with some accuracy. Political scientists need to gauge the opinions, reactions or feelings of people with some accuracy and to predict budgetary, legal and social program outcomes before money and work is invested.

Additionally, political scientists must keep track of the statistics and demographics of the population as it moves, changes, develops needs and desires, becomes ill or healthy, grows, declines and engages in activity that might be minor on an individual level, but huge when aggregated to national or international levels.

Political scientists are dependent upon monitoring, polling and surveying in order to gauge the will of the people or to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns, programs, ideas and attempts at social engineering.  These surveys must be properly designed with effective quantification of factors and correct implementation to eliminate or disguise bias, depending on the motives of the scientist. Others need to examine the evidence and to find out how the bias was disguised and to return to the facts of the matters.

Since surveys of every last individual cannot be done on a constant basis, there is a lot of math involved with generalizing from smaller samples, using various calculations, tests for validity and error, algorithms and modeling technologies.

Political scientists are dependent on pre and post program studies and surveys in order to determine whether a new law, program or endeavor is working or not. This, when aggregated to national levels, will involve mathematical models, testing for error, surveying, large database management and complex models and algorithms.

Even the computer science and database management aspects fall under the category of mathematics. Large database management requires massive computer firepower, solid analytical tools and good design in order to extract reliable results that political scientists can rely upon when massive amounts of money and effort go into national and international programs  hat affect millions of people.

The mathematics of the field of economics and all of its subfields are important to political scientists as they attempt to prove that one economic  social or political position is superior to another, or is even viable.  When aggregating information so that it applies to the world or to nations, the complexity of applying theory to the real world becomes quite mathematically complex, indeed.

The mathematics of the environment, nutrition, medicine, weather and a host of scientific understandings go into political science of feeding, moving, housing, fighting, treating the illnesses of and everything else involved with human activity in relation to nature. Disaster planning alone, involves the application of mathematical concepts to a huge array of economic, social and political factors.

Virtually every major political science topic involves some form of mathematics, from the math required to manage vast and complex budgets to the math required to forecast what it is that will be required a decade from now to maintain sound social systems and environments. For political scientists the crunching of numbers will never end.