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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back to Reality, Back to Nate Silver

Posted by on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 1:43 PM

WaPo says it like it is...

Which brings me to the backlash against Nate Silver.

Before we get too deep in the weeds here, it’s worth being clear about exactly what Silver’s model — and that’s all it is, a model — is showing. As of this writing, Silver thinks Obama has a 75 percent chance of winning the election. That might seem a bit high, but note that the BetFair markets give him a 67.8 percent chance, the InTrade markets give him a 61.7 percent chance and the Iowa Electronic Markets give him a 61.8 percent chance. And we know from past research that political betting markets are biased toward believing elections are more volatile in their final weeks than they actually are. So Silver’s estimate doesn’t sound so off.
Moreover, Silver’s model is currently estimating that Obama will win 295 electoral votes. That’s eight fewer than predicted by Sam Wang’s state polling meta-analysis and 37 fewer than Drew Linzer’s Votamatic.
So before we deal with anything Silver has specifically said, it’s worth taking in the surrounding landscape: Every major political betting market and every major forecasting tool is predicting an Obama victory right now, and for the same reason: Obama remains ahead in enough states that, unless the polls are systematically wrong, or they undergo a change unlike any we’ve yet seen in the race, Obama will win the election.

The heart of the matter...

It’s important to be clear about this: If Silver’s model is hugely wrong — if all the models are hugely wrong, and the betting markets are hugely wrong — it’s because the polls are wrong.

There is no Romentum, and the real money is on Rmoney losing.


Comments (19) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
The force is strong with this one, Mickey.

A lot of the negative impact is most D votes are already banked, and the tweets from Mitt's staff spreading lies plus the defunded FEMA quotes are not helping him.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 30, 2012 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
The really classy part of the anti-Silver brigade is all the meatheads saying Silver can't be right because he's slight of build and has a high voice, like some kind of faggot or something. Yes, they really are making this argument. I'm waiting for Rush Limbaugh to call him "four eyes".
Posted by Fnarf on October 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
Oh, dare we hope? Are we jumping the gun? Obama is the better man, by a long shot, but do the people see that? I have never wanted to believe anything so much in my life.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on October 30, 2012 at 2:26 PM · Report this
Cracker Jack 4
@2: So, they're calling him a nerd and implying that a nerd can't be that smart? Morons are so bad at logic...
Posted by Cracker Jack on October 30, 2012 at 2:31 PM · Report this
Shooting the messenger never changes the message.

At the end of the day, American voters, as long as they do vote, more often vote for the candidate whose character they trust and admire.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) political scientists have not yet been able to qualify or quantify those political "assets".
Posted by Fairhaven on October 30, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
@2 -- Seriously? Because he's small and squeaky, he's wrong? Oy gevalt.

And to the point about the polls being seriously wrong, what's the possibility of the election being bought/subverted in some way (viz., Bush/Gore)? I'm still deeply suspicious on that score.
Posted by Calpete on October 30, 2012 at 2:38 PM · Report this
To be fair, Nate Silver started it by pointing out the hilarious inaccuracy of typical pundit predictions. Veracity is a harsh mistress.
Posted by stating the obvious on October 30, 2012 at 2:48 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
Nate Silver is a man of very small stature, a thin and effeminate man with a soft-sounding voice that sounds almost exactly like the “Mr. New Castrati” voice used by Rush Limbaugh on his program. In fact, Silver could easily be the poster child for the New Castrati in both image and sound.…

If there is any group of people on earth who are more insecure in their masculinity than conservatives, I can't imagine who it would be. Maybe in the last days of the campaign we will be treated to someone holding down and animal so that Paul Ryan can shoot it to show what a tough man he is.
Posted by Fnarf on October 30, 2012 at 3:02 PM · Report this
TVDinner 9
Yeah! And he's also a total poindexter who wears loafers! Nyah!
Posted by TVDinner http:// on October 30, 2012 at 3:24 PM · Report this
@8 "Maybe in the last days of the campaign we will be treated to someone holding down and animal so that Paul Ryan can shoot it to show what a tough man he is. "

Fnarf, you have--uncharactistically--missed it; in the final days of the campaign, we will be treated to Paul Ryan holding down Nate Silver so that Mitt Romney can cut off his hair.
Posted by Clayton on October 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Fnarf 12
My Facebook friend Gabriel, who I know posts here but whose Slog nickname I've forgotten because of stupidity, points out that this is an exact recapitulation of the battle Silver fought against people saying the exact same things about him (and others) in baseball a decade or so ago. "Get yer nose out of yer calculator in yer mom's basement and watch a damn game, faggot". We (I am one of those SDCNs) beat them in baseball, and now Silver will beat them in politics too.
Posted by Fnarf on October 30, 2012 at 3:47 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 13
The thing that a lot of Silver's detractors seem to miss is that by predicting that Obama has a 75% chance of winning the election, he's also predicting that Romney has a 25% chance of winning. That's not exactly a low probability event.

You wouldn't get on a plane if you knew it had a 25% chance of crashing, would you?

They make it sound like he's dismissed the possibility of Romney winning the race entirely. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But, dipshits tend to be bad at math...
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on October 30, 2012 at 4:03 PM · Report this
...unless the polls are systematically wrong, or they undergo a change unlike any we’ve yet seen in the race, Obama will win the election.

There's another possibility: The polls are right, and the vote count given to the public is wrong.
Posted by Proteus on October 30, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 15
@14 Bingo. I remain deeply suspicious that the only reason that wasn't done in 2008 is that the Pukes didn't want to win that one badly enough to risk rigging the voting machines in a year when the Dims losing would look so suspicious (due to Bush's massive unpopularity and incompetence), and the political cost of managing the financial crisis any longer would be so high. Better to take a breather from being in charge, rally the kooks when recovery isn't immediate (2010) and save the outright vote theft for the out years when holding the White House would be more rewarding. Which would be now?
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on October 30, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this
I want to believe this more than I've wanted to believe anything since, well, November 2008. I was terrified then and I'm terrified now. Nothing to do but wait it out and remember how exhilarating it was last time.
Posted by crone on October 30, 2012 at 6:45 PM · Report this
I think Nate Silver is a sexy beast.
Posted by wxPDX on October 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM · Report this
I get a creepy feeling they are just planting the seed so that after the election is stolen they can say "See, we knew the polls were wrong all along. We even talked about it the last couple weeks. Silly liberals."

Check out Hacking Democracy at 1:07:40 to see how easy it is to alter the vote tally on a Diebold machine and leave no trace:

I know it's a little paranoid, but there is good evidence that election fraud took place in 2004 and is going on today.
Posted by rubus on October 30, 2012 at 11:37 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 20
@19: So, uh, Nate Silver was telling lefties what they wanted to hear when he predicted the 2010 House takeover? And just to head off the "anyone could tell that was going to happen," when I say he predicted it, I mean down to the details -- the who, what, where and by how much.

You're getting boring.
Posted by aureolaborealis on October 31, 2012 at 9:54 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 23
@22: Except that the polls are showing the incumbent to be strongly ahead, which completely goes against your historical argument, as this should not happen with the economy the way it is. Your assertion that Romney will take a strong victory is completely batshit crazy, and dismisses all the evidence to the contrary for an idea that because something usually happens one way in the past, it has to happen again.

Stop pretending that everyone is against you because you are a contrarian, or not an "Obama girl." People disagree with you because you often make very stupid statements, are immature, and steal comments made by other people on other sites to pass them off as your own.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on October 31, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this

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