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    Our numbers guys can beat up your numbers guys

    Our numbers guys can beat up your numbers guys

    I have received a good reaction to my post, If Nate Silver cannot be wrong, how can he be right?, in which I call non-statistical BS to Nate Silvermania.

    Dan McLaughlin, On Polling Models, Skewed & Unskewed examines Nate Silvermania, and links to me for a non-numbers reason, which is good because I’m not a numbers guy:

    Poll analysis by campaign professionals often involves a large dollop of conscious partisan hackery: spinning the polls to suggest a result the campaigns know is not realistic, in the hopes of avoiding the bottom-drops-out loss of voter confidence that sets in when a campaign is visibly doomed.

    For the record, unlike some of my conservative colleagues, I don’t think Nate is a conscious partisan hack. I have a lot of respect for his intelligence and his thoroughness as a baseball analyst and we have mutual friends in the world of baseball analysis, and I think he undoubtedly recognizes that it will not be good for his credibility to be committed to the last ditch to defending Obama as a prohibitive favorite in an election he ends up losing.

    (It’s true that the 538 model is just probabilities, but as Prof. Jacobson notes, Nate won his reputation as an electoral forecaster with similar probabilistic projections in 2008; if you project a guy to have a 77% chance to win an election he loses, that will inevitably cause people to put less faith in your odds-laying later on).

    Here’s Dan’s conclusion:

    We can’t know until Election Day who is right. I stand by my view that Obama is losing independent voters decisively, because the national and state polls both support that thesis.

    I stand by my view that Republican turnout will be up significantly from recent-historic lows in 2008 in the key swing states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado) and nationally, because the post-2008 elections, the party registration data, the early-voting and absentee-ballot numbers, and the Rasmussen and Gallup national party-ID surveys (both of which have solid track records) all point to this conclusion.

    I stand by my view that no countervailing evidence outside of poll samples shows a similar surge above 2008 levels in Democratic voter turnout, as would be needed to offset Romney’s advantage with independents and increased GOP voter turnout.

    And I stand by the view that a mechanical reading of polling averages is an inadequate basis to project an event unprecedented in American history: the re-election of a sitting president without a clear-cut victory in the national popular vote.

    Perhaps, despite the paucity of evidence to the contrary, these assumptions are wrong. But if they are correct, no mathematical model can provide a convincing explanation of how Obama is going to win re-election. He remains toast.


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    All one needs to know about Nate (the snake) Sliver – he use to be prominently displayed on the Daily Kos. He’d already started down the road to perdition 5 yrs ago. Along with selling his soul to get his NYT gig, like others there, he had to put his objectivity into their lockbox, and sign a prog loyalty oath. Once he’d met these requirements he transformed from “the snake” to the “shill”.

    Easy test. Nate predicts Obama re-election at 76%. Isn’t that 3:1 odds. Ask him to bet on it. Ok, be sporting and offer him 2:1 odds. As shills and snakes are wont to do, he’ll beg off at any odds. Make the bet to his favorite charity. What passionate, caring prog could resist?

    rightatthebeach | November 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    CalMark is a moby, not an Eeyore. I have been watching his comments for a while now and his only purpose is to try and depress Republican turnout. Busted, Cal Mark.

    Rush was fine today, he ripped NBC a new one, that is for sure. Rasmussen is taken seriously by everyone, not just conservatives. Cal Mark lives for polls and delights in pointing out any where Obama is up even a tick but ignores the internals.

    I suspect Creeper is a moby, too. Time will tell.

      CalMark in reply to rightatthebeach. | November 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      “Busted.” ‘Cause you said so?

      This is beginning to feel a whole lot like ’92, when Clinton came roaring back from a tie. It also feels a whole lot like ’08: we’re all parsing polls, trying to find subjective things (rallies, “energy,” “momentum”) to be positive about.

      I hope Romney wins. I really do.

      However I’m seeing a shift to Obama, who’s suddenly doing a whole lot better. Also, I’m trying to be honest with myself: I was happy when Rasmussen had Romney up at 50 for quite a few days, but now he’s back to 48 — very bad, this late in a campaign, especially for a challenger. Remember: that’s a daily tracking poll, meaning it incorporates a polls from several days.

      So, call me whatever names you like. I hope everyone gets out and votes for Romney. I was feeling better, when Gallup and Rasmussen had Romney surging; now he’s moving backward. I’m also tired of all the “Obama is gone!” triumphalism on the conservative web.

      We shall see.

        annoyedbeyond in reply to CalMark. | November 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm

        Funny, Rush sounded fired up to me. And he was playing sound from a Romney event with a huge crowd–many many times the size of the Clinton crowd you’re babbling about. You may not be a moby (I think you are) but you’re definitely a purveyor of ‘fear porn lite’.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to annoyedbeyond. | November 2, 2012 at 11:32 pm

          We recently conducted a psychic exploratory on CalMark and determined that as a conservative living in California, what appears to be mobyism or eeyorism is an understandable reaction to his situation and environment. An extraction team is being formed.

    dhmosquito | November 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I choose to be positive at this point. I have thought, since the first debate, that it will either be a Romney landslide or an obama squeaker. We will not know until Tuesday evening, but I think America is ready to throw this clown out. My wife chose to vote early today at the courthouse in Rapid City, SD. (I’m going to vote on Tuesday at our normal polling place.) She said there were lines to vote at the courthouse, and this is is deep red “West River” territory of South Dakota. I think this is a small (albeit anecdotal) clue that people are inspired to vote and get this incompetent SOB the hell out of the White House. Bill Jacobson is, and continues to be, a candle in the darkness whose encouragement has helped keep me out of despair these past several months. Be positive. Vote!

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