Ultimately, the “fiscal cliff” negotiations underscore the fact that quantitative social science and journalism are complements, not substitutes. From the invisible primary to abuses of copyright law, many of the most interesting and important developments in American politics are difficult to publicly observe or quantify. The need for good reporting isn’t going away any time soon.

Follow me on Twitter @BrendanNyhan.

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Brendan Nyhan is an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College. He blogs at brendan-nyhan.com and tweets @BrendanNyhan.