First Past the Poll is a blog focused on polling analysis, election forecasting, and political statistics more broadly. Created in August 2018, the site aims to tell data-driven stories in an easy to understand, unbiased manner.
First Past the Poll is run by Bradley Wascher (me). Think of this as a collection of my political science research during the second half of college and beyond — my undergraduate thesis was literally a summary of my experiences with this blog.
I’m currently a Contributing Analyst for Inside Elections, the nonpartisan newsletter based in Washington, D.C. There, I write and edit articles primarily about campaigns and polls, along with assisting to assign race ratings and predict elections for House, Senate, governor, and president. I also make graphics for stories and code R scripts to maintain our quantitative projects on party performance, candidate strength, and congressional redistricting. My company page can be found here.
I graduated from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in politics and statistics, and from Georgetown University with a master’s degree in government. At Western Kentucky I appeared on the university’s political science podcast and analyzed survey data for the school, and at Georgetown my capstone project forecasted the 2020 presidential election using a Bayesian blend of state-level approval ratings and down-ballot election results. While my first true love in political science will always be traditional polling methodology, I also embrace trying innovative new approaches for surveys and models alike.