Nate Silver is partisan and wrong.

Posted in the Columbus Forum

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Since: Sep 12

Hilliard, OH

#1 Oct 29, 2012
In the history of presidential elections, has there ever been such an effort by one side to poll their way to victory? While the Republicans have spoken this season about jobs and debt – willing themselves to a moral victory – the Democrats have talked constantly about how well their guy is polling in one or two states. The goal is to create a sense of inevitability, to convince the public to vote for Obama because he’s a winner and who wouldn’t want to vote for the winner? We’ve witnessed the evolution of polling from an objective gauge of the public mood to a propaganda tool: partisan and inaccurate.

Step forward Nate Silver of the New York Times. Nate has been an open supporter of the President and his newspaper just endorsed Obama (although it also went for Dukakis, so it ain’t that good at picking winners). But context doesn’t matter because maths is maths and maths can’t lie – and Nate says that, according to his model, Obama has a 74.6 per cent chance of winning. You might find that figure a little odd given that on the same page you’ll see that Obama is ahead by less than 3 per cent nationally and his advantage lies in one state, Ohio. It’s even odder when you consider how it conflicts with other polls that emerged this weekend giving a virtual tie in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It’s damn near-surreal when you discover that Gallup puts Romney ahead by four points among (and this distinction is critical) likely voters. Meanwhile, Obama’s job approval rating is heading downwards. Does Nate know something that the rest of the world doesn’t?

A former business and baseball analyst, Nate came to fame in 2008 when he correctly predicted the outcome in 49 of 50 states in the presidential election. Frankly, a headless chicken could have done that. It was a wave election and we all knew Virginia and North Carolina were in play. Plus Nate had access to internal Obama polls that gave him an advantage over his market rivals. Nevertheless, this success turned Nate into a star – despite his own admission that his analysis technique is not modelled exclusively for politics.

Here are some of the problems with his stats:

Since: Sep 12

Hilliard, OH

#2 Oct 29, 2012
1. Nate isn’t very good at calling close elections. In 2010, he correctly predicted the outcome of the senate elections with the greatest leads. But in the 5 genuinely close races, he got it wrong in 3. For the House elections, Nate ran this extraordinary headline:“House Forecast: G.O.P. Plus 54-55 Seats; Significantly Larger or Smaller Gains Possible.” So, this oracle predicted that the results could have been “larger” or “smaller”– how prescient. In fact, they were much larger. The Republicans took 63 seats.

2. People make their minds up at the last minute, which confuses the outcome of close elections. Historically, voters have tended to break towards challengers, and particularly Republican challengers, in the last week.

3. Nate weights polls, meaning that he picks and chooses which data sets to run through his model. He has shown particular affection for Democrat-leaning pollsters like PPP, and this bias is evident in his use of state-wide polls. Silver embraces polling organisations that other writers avoid like the plague. Apparently, the New York Times isn’t as discriminating.

4. Nate ignores polls that contradict him. So PPP is right and Gallup is wrong.

5. Politics is even riskier than baseball and “stuff happens.” As columnist David Brooks put it in a critique of Silver’s polls:“Obama turns in a bad debate performance. Romney makes offensive comments at a fund-raiser. These unquantifiable events change the trajectories of tight campaigns. You can’t tell what’s about to happen. You certainly can’t tell how 100 million people are going to process what’s about to happen. You can’t calculate odds that capture unknown reactions to unknown events.” Nor can we determine turnout – and a lot of the polling in 2012 has presumed that as many Democrats will vote today as they did back in 2008. If that’s wrong, many predictions will be confounded.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/...
Ed Norris

Hudson, MA

#4 Jan 26, 2013
Any further comment, Cleavon, on your pre-election critique? It's rare to see an occasion where all of one set of critiques are demonstrated to be this wrong, and the other one this right. Looks like the best advice is- Don't quit your day job. Unless you want to work for Karl Rove.
Che Reagan Christ

Lodi, OH

#6 Jan 27, 2013
Ed Norris wrote:
Any further comment, Cleavon, on your pre-election critique? It's rare to see an occasion where all of one set of critiques are demonstrated to be this wrong, and the other one this right. Looks like the best advice is- Don't quit your day job. Unless you want to work for Karl Rove.
He doesn't have anything else to say about that. He is too busy calling people stupid and declaring victories in debates where he is as wrong as he was here. Some folks will never learn.
Duke for Mayor

Akron, OH

#7 Jan 27, 2013
How amusing is this?

Oliver Paco George cuts and pastes an article published on October 29th 2012 as proof of Mr. Silver's inabilities.

Paco, Paco, Paco. You're really losing it.

woof

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#8 Jan 27, 2013
When you leftist tools are reduced to spending your time digging up three month old threads out of sheer frustration, I know I'm doing something right ;-)
Carry on!
Che Reagan Christ

Lodi, OH

#9 Jan 27, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
When you leftist tools are reduced to spending your time digging up three month old threads out of sheer frustration, I know I'm doing something right ;-)
Carry on!
That's a classic. Yeah, we are so frustrated by you constantly being wrong.

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#10 Jan 27, 2013
Che Reagan Christ wrote:
<quoted text>
That's a classic. Yeah, we are so frustrated by you constantly being wrong.
No, you're frustrated with me being alive. And the fact that there are tens of millions more who think like I do.:-)
Che Reagan Christ

Lodi, OH

#11 Jan 27, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>No, you're frustrated with me being alive. And the fact that there are tens of millions more who think like I do.:-)
If my side was losing elections, perhaps I would be frustrated. But since you are part of an extremely loud fringe minority, it frustrates me not at all.

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#12 Jan 27, 2013
Che Reagan Christ wrote:
<quoted text>
If my side was losing elections, perhaps I would be frustrated. But since you are part of an extremely loud fringe minority, it frustrates me not at all.
That "fringe minority" controls every aspect of state government in Ohio as well as 29 other governor's offices and the US House.
Your frustration is noted...again and again and again.
Che Reagan Christ

Lodi, OH

#13 Jan 27, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>That "fringe minority" controls every aspect of state government in Ohio as well as 29 other governor's offices and the US House.
Your frustration is noted...again and again and again.
No, it doesn't. You aren't even part of the mainstream GOP. You are a fringe element in your own party.
Walt

Columbus, OH

#14 Jan 27, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>That "fringe minority" controls every aspect of state government in Ohio as well as 29 other governor's offices and the US House.
Your frustration is noted...again and again and again.
So says the clown who had his ass handed to him after predicting Romney would win.
Walt

Columbus, OH

#15 Jan 27, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>No, you're frustrated with me being alive. And the fact that there are tens of millions more who think like I do.:-)
Tens of millions of your alter egos who've been banned from topix. You're like a big ol' turd that won't flush down the toilet... you just keep spinning around in circles.

“Cats rule.”

Since: Dec 09

Chardon Ohio.

#16 Jan 27, 2013
Walt wrote:
<quoted text>
Tens of millions of your alter egos who've been banned from topix. You're like a big ol' turd that won't flush down the toilet... you just keep spinning around in circles.
Hey Walt,molest any children lately?.

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#17 Jan 27, 2013
Walt wrote:
<quoted text>
So says the clown who had his ass handed to him after predicting Romney would win.
Stolen elections have consequences, Johnson.

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#18 Jan 27, 2013
Walt wrote:
<quoted text>
Tens of millions of your alter egos who've been banned from topix. You're like a big ol' turd that won't flush down the toilet... you just keep spinning around in circles.
Look everyone...Johnson likes the idea of banning people he doesn't agree with. What a good little leftist...

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#19 Jan 27, 2013
Che Reagan Christ wrote:
<quoted text>
No, it doesn't. You aren't even part of the mainstream GOP. You are a fringe element in your own party.
For the the tenth time, I am an Independent. The GOP has moved to the left.
Right now the GOP is comparable to the Democrat party of 1965. The Democrat Party today is now a hard left socialist party. You're almost down to the level of the NDP.
Che Reagan Christ

Lodi, OH

#20 Jan 27, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>For the the tenth time, I am an Independent. The GOP has moved to the left.
Right now the GOP is comparable to the Democrat party of 1965. The Democrat Party today is now a hard left socialist party. You're almost down to the level of the NDP.
If you are an independent, then why did you just spend time lecturing me that your people control Ohio's government?

“Tenured Marxist Radical”

Since: Jan 13

Ivy League-ISIS

#21 Jan 27, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>For the the tenth time, I am an Independent. The GOP has moved to the left.
Right now the GOP is comparable to the Democrat party of 1965. The Democrat Party today is now a hard left socialist party. You're almost down to the level of the NDP.
No, Che is further "dipped"

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/hO9kbdQ1si0/0.jpg

More like the person that made this image
Duke for Mayor

Akron, OH

#22 Jan 27, 2013
Hugh Victor Thompson III wrote:
<quoted text>No, you're frustrated with me being alive. And the fact that there are tens of millions more who think like I do.:-)
Well, you do have a point there.

woof

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