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Nate Silver: 92% Chance Obama is Re-Elected

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Baba Booey, Nov 5, 2012.

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  1. Baba Booey

    Baba Booey Contributing Member

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  2. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Did you really need another thread for this?
     
  3. gifford1967

    gifford1967 Contributing Member
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    I love Nate Silver as much as the next commie, but we don't need another thread for this.
     
  4. Baba Booey

    Baba Booey Contributing Member

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    I figured the highest percentage that Obama has ever had was new thread worthy, especially the night before the election. sorry.
     
  5. cml750

    cml750 Contributing Member

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    LINK

    Nate Silver is partisan and wrong. The voters will decide Romney v Obama, not The New York Times

    By Tim Stanley US politics Last updated: October 29th, 2012



    Romney v Obama is far closer that Nate Silver's weighted polls suggest

    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. In an interview about his life’s work, he wrote:

    But the other thing too is on the blog I mostly focus on politics. And I think elections are a really interesting thing to study and to try to predict. But I don't particularly like politics. I find some of the people involved in politics, I don't think they're the most well-rounded or pleasant people necessarily, right? So I want to broaden my focus a little bit and say, look, by being data-driven and looking at how predictions go, doing analysis from statistics and everything else, we can look at business or sports or a lot different fields or science. And there's nothing about politics in particular that my interest and skill sets are uniquely suited to. [Italics are mine.]

    That noise you hear is the sound of the cat being let out of the bag. Appreciating that Nate’s system is rather more generic, interpretive and partisan makes sense of its central paradox: that while the rest of us are talking about Romney’s post-debate momentum, Silver still gives the race to the President by a huge margin. Here are some of the problems with his stats.

    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.

    Brooks’ point is really the most powerful of all. Politics is not a science and it doesn’t lend itself well to predictions. Voters lie, natural disasters happen, scandals rock the White House. No one could have predicted – including Silver – that the debates would radically transform Romney’s image in the eyes of the voter. In some cases, that transformation happened in spite of Romney losing one or two of those debates.

    Silver’s stardom tells us two things about the Democratic Party. The first is that its obsession with numbers is part of a cold, mechanical way of looking at politics that divides the electorate up into blocks of voters who can be cobbled together into a winning coalition. Team Obama went out of its way in the 2000s to recruit professors and statisticians who would turn politics into something like baseball: hire the best players, master all the tricks, bet and gamble your way to victory. Grand narrative is gone. In its place are talking points designed to achieve a 51/49 per cent advantage: war on women, 99 per cent etc.

    Second, Nate’s success shows that Democrats are panicking. Losing the war of ideas, they’re resorting to bad maths. Last night a friend posted this on Facebook: “I want Nate Silver's data made into a blanket I can cuddle up with.” Sorry, but weighted polling served up by a partisan analyst is a very false comfort.

    ADDENDUM: Alex Massie over at The Spectator points out that Nate Silver became famous during the 2008 Democratic primaries rather than the general election – and he's right.
     
  6. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    why complain just now? has Nate changed his methodology?
     
  7. cml750

    cml750 Contributing Member

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    Who is complaining. The clown predicts a 92% chance Obama wins?????? LOL I guess he likes egg on his face. He is basing everything on polls that are oversampling Democrats by ridiculous numbers. People can only cling to this false hope for anther 24 hours or less.
     
  8. Raven

    Raven Member

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    Ha ha ha ha ha

    :grin:

    Obama wins, America wins, Wall Street loses, book it.
     
  9. cml750

    cml750 Contributing Member

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    If Democrats show up +7 % over Republicans you are right. The election results will reflect the polls. I see no way in the world that happens. I believe turnout is much closer to dead even or even +1 or +2 % Republican turnout.
     
  10. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    can you list all the polling firms he uses and specify those that are oversampling Democrats by "ridiculous" numbers

    he used the same ones in 2008 and 2010 right?
     
  11. cml750

    cml750 Contributing Member

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    ???? Almost all of them are doing it. They are using the 2008 turnout model for weighting their polls and thus showing much higher Democrat turnout. If you aren't too busy crying about fake voter suppression or crying in your beer Wednesday morning, I am quite sure there will be tons of dialogue questioning why the polls were so wrong. Nate is using a computer model. If you put faulty data in a model you get faulty results. What polls does he use specifically? I don't know but the polls that are using partisan turnout figures close to even lean to Romney. Alas the only poll that really counts starts today. We will know in less than 24 hours. We may know by midnight.
     
  12. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    WRONG

    * The likely voter adjustment. Throughout the course of an election year, polls may be conducted among a variety of population samples. Some survey all American adults, some survey only registered voters, and others are based on responses from respondents deemed to be “likely voters,” as determined based on past voting behavior or present voting intentions. Sometimes, there are predictable differences between likely voter and registered voter polls. In 2010, for instance, polls of likely voters are about 4 points more favorable to the Republican candidate, on average, than those of registered voters, perhaps reflecting enthusiasm among Republican voters. And surveys conducted among likely voters are about 7 points more favorable to the Republican than those conducted among all adults, whether registered to vote or not.

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/methodology/
     
  13. cml750

    cml750 Contributing Member

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    Go ahead and cling to this false hope for another few hours. Besides, the article you copied from was for the Senate races not the Presidential race. Did you even bother reading it? I promise you most of the polls are oversampling Democrats. The election results will prove it.
     
  14. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    WRONG again its not an article its his methodology. did you even click the link or read the link at least?

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/methodology/
     
  15. cml750

    cml750 Contributing Member

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  16. bmb4516

    bmb4516 Member

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    NSIAP - Silver walked himself back over the weekend. I think you all missed that.
     
  17. jopatmc

    jopatmc Contributing Member

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    He has Obama with a 92% chance of winning. He has the electoral college at 314. And then he tweets this:

    Nate Silver ‏@fivethirtyeight
    IMPORTANT: That we have Obama as a ~90% favorite does NOT mean we're predicting a landslide. We expect a close election.
     
  18. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    They aren't "weighting" their polls, they are randomly sampling and people are self-identifying as Democrats more than Republicans. This is partially because so many TEA Partiers stopped calling themselves "Republican" and now say they are "Independent" when asked for party affiliation.
     
  19. Major

    Major Member

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    Yes, what part of this is confusing to you? :confused:
     
  20. SacTown

    SacTown Member

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    That makes perfect sense. The 92% isn't about winning by a huge margin it's just the chance of winning period.
     
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