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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

OTP: October 2012-THE RACE: As Candidates Prep, Attention in DC split between politics and baseball

While President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney bone up in Nevada and Colorado for Wednesday’s opening debate, back in the nation’s capital attention is split between the hard-fought presidential race and baseball playoffs.

The Nationals won the first division baseball championship for a Washington team since 1933 by clinching the National League East race Monday night.

Washington, D.C., has the only ballpark where so many Cabinet members, politicians and other luminaries routinely gather and where fans now are openly rooting for a particular president — one who served more than a century ago, Theodore Roosevelt.

“Let Teddy Win” banners and buttons are everywhere. Fans like 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona say it’s time for Roosevelt’s 500-plus losing streak to end.

[...]

“Teddy, you are the victim of a vast left-wing conspiracy by the commie pinko libs in this town,” McCain said in a video played in the stadium Monday night. “But you can overcome that.”

The October 2012 “OT: Politics” thread starts ... now.

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM | 6119 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, politics

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   5501. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4287273)
Sure, if Nate gets 30 or so states wrong and a bunch of Senate and House seats wrong he'll take a huge hit in credibility.
If that happens, though, the entire polling industry will take a huge hit to its credibility. That can only happen if the polling has been massively, historically wrong. Polling aggregators will not bear the brunt of the public backlash.
   5502. spike Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4287275)
Rasmussen has Romney +2 in Ohio today. Someone is going to look bad, that's for sure.
   5503. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4287276)
And what happened to me? People made fun of me.


Well, that's not exactly news, now is it?
   5504. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4287280)
Huffington Post's Pollster has Romney at a .2% lead nationally and Obama winning the electoral college
538 has Obama at a 1.7% lead and winning the electoral college
RCP has Romney at a .9% lead and Obama wining the electoral college.


As far as I can tell virtually all aggregator sites say the election is going to be close but Obama is going to win the electoral college. So Nate is not exactly alone out on that "limb"
   5505. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4287281)
So the argument is that as long as Nate isn't calling it 100.0% for Obama, he can't be wrong.

Yeah, that's useful.
   5506. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4287284)
It also isn't useful to argue that he has to be right 100% of the time in order for his word to have any validity.
   5507. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4287285)
So the argument is that as long as Nate isn't calling it 100.0% for Obama, he can't be wrong.[/quote

Ray. Can we start with the assumption that you understand the basics of predictive modelling?
   5508. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4287291)
If it was 95% and Romney won, would people here concede that Silver blew it? What are we talking about here? Silver can't be graded? Then what good is he?
1) His methodology can be graded. That's the big thing - he's not running a black box. He's written extensively about his methodology. If people have critiques of that, they can grade him based on those critiques.

2) If Silver deviates significantly from the national polling averages, then that will be a story. If the state and national polling averages underlying his model diverge significantly from RCP and Pollster, and RCP/Pollster are right and he's wrong, that will be a major blow to the credibility of his model.

3) It could be that Silver is underestimating uncertainty. There is no good way to model that which is unknown. It could be that, given traditional polling methodology, uncertainty is much larger than his model suggests. Maybe a 2 point Obama polling lead should only project to a 60-40 chance of an Obama win rather than 70-30 or 80-20. I don't think that failing to model uncertainty means the end of his credibility, but he has taken the step of modeling uncertainty and can be criticized if he has modeled it poorly.

(This goes back to #1 - it's not a criticism of his results, but of his method. That's where the most valuable critiques will come from.)

4) Say Nate's model projects a 95%+ chance of a Romney win, and then Obama wins, or vice versa. If this happens, and it isn't because Nate's model deviated from Pollster or RCP in its state and national averages, then there will have been a massive breakdown in public opinion polling. This will be a problem for polling aggregators and political scientists who have argued for the relative reliability of public opinion polling, but it will be a much bigger problem for the polling industry.

One important note here is that I don't believe Nate Silver's model adds that much value beyond what Pollster does. Nate does another step of aggregation, which is reasonably useful for readers, but doesn't actually produce anything that wasn't in the Pollster numbers to begin with. It's not "going out on a limb" to add up the state and national numbers into one aggregate total.

What value 538 provides, for the most part, comes from his writing and analysis. He's really good at explaining some complex methodological and statistical questions. I assume he'll retain those capacities even in the event of a polling disaster.
   5509. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4287294)
What value 538 provides, for the most part, comes from his writing and analysis. He's really good at explaining some complex methodological and statistical questions. I assume he'll retain those capacities even in the event of a polling disaster.


Yes, as I said above, I agree with this.
   5510. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4287300)
Nate does another step of aggregation, which is reasonably useful for readers, but doesn't actually produce anything that wasn't in the Pollster numbers to begin with.
I should say, for precision's sake, that he does a few things to the numbers that Pollster doesn't - weighting by sample and pollster methodology and record, adjusting for house effects of polling firms. But so far, these additional tweaks haven't produced numbers that differ much from Pollster's simpler aggregation model.
   5511. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4287319)
If it was 95% and Romney won, would people here concede that Silver blew it?


How about 91% (or 98%)? I'm pretty sure if Romney wins the EC, this guy is gonna get creamed.
   5512. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4287322)
So the argument is that as long as Nate isn't calling it 100.0% for Obama, he can't be wrong.

If you're grading based on one projection, it *is* downright difficult to be wrong in any kind of relevant manner.
   5513. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4287325)
One Of Us.


Google Goggle
We Accept You
We Accept You
   5514. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4287332)

How about 91% (or 98%)? I'm pretty sure if Romney wins the EC, this guy is gonna get creamed.


Silver, I'll defend to the wall. Wang, I won't. Nate's never hid the fact that he's a Democrat, but he's never crossed the line into the blatant advocacy that Wang, who mixes analysis with direct fundraising pleas, does. I believe at some level, you have to choose your hat, whether you want to play the advocate or the analyst.
   5515. Danny Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4287340)
I believe Rasmussen does provide the full breakdown for its subscribers, but I'm not sure.

So, to recap, PPP polls are worthless and biased because they provide full demographic crosstabs in their poll PDFs instead of in their press releases, which makes it too hard for you to find. And Rasmussen polls are totally fine and trustworthy because you think they might provide some of this information to subscribers.
   5516. bunyon Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4287343)

I'm pretty sure if Romney wins the EC, this guy is gonna get creamed.


Middle class, is he?


I think the storm will be blamed by anyone who is badly wrong. It'll be believable. From my reading, it looks like the race is too close to call - sure, Obama has a decided advantage in the EC but that is built on lots of narrow leads in states. It isn't as if he is leading by 10% in a bunch of important states. The storm provides room for legitimate havoc and chaos as well as room for the spin-monsters to do their thing withouth much time for rebuttal (from both sides).

   5517. spycake Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4287345)
Have you actually seen the people that are employed? Dick Morris, David Gergen, John Zogby, and that's just the very tip of a gigantic iceberg. Nate's competition for prognostication is a whole lot of people that couldn't predict a coin flip if they got to make two guesses.


Not to mention those wildly inaccurate ESPN baseball projections. ;)
   5518. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4287350)
Not to mention those wildly inaccurate ESPN baseball projections. ;)

I think my bosses cringe anytime I'm doing a radio spot or making a blog comment to the effect that the goal of a projection system is to be slightly less horribly inaccurate than everyone else.
   5519. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4287354)
The storm isn't hitting the entire country. The storm is going to do most of its damage in solid blue or red states. This storm should mean very little in terms of voting.
   5520. GregD Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4287356)
Isn't most of the difference between RCP and Nate on national polls the difference between:
1) excluding Rand entirely and including it with some downgrade?
2) then averaging all equally vs rebalancing them based on past effects?

So RCP takes one extreme act of removal but then doesn't judge anything. Nate assumes all data is useful but needs to be assessed so assesses based upon a method he's using.

If you add Rand into the average at RCP and don't rebalance, you get an exact tie. In which case Nate looks less out on a limb than the comments here indicate.

Since RCP is emphatically not just an averager but is instead a subjective decision about what to include and what not to include, a subjective decision in keeping with the founders' explicit goals of increasing conservative coverage, then will its supporters here renounce it and refuse to visit it if Romney in fact does not win the popular vote?

If someone says that, and then asks if I'll stop visiting Nate, then I can deal with that question. But someone who won't deal with RCP's own subjectivity and then make demands upon other people is just concern trolling.
   5521. spycake Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4287362)
So the argument is that as long as Nate isn't calling it 100.0% for Obama, he can't be wrong.

To me, 70-75% for an incumbent seems almost as close to a coin-flip as most incumbents will get, assuming fairly neutral/plain conditions and candidates (certainly neither candidate this year is doing anything special, and I don't sense economic/foreign policy conditions are really that unique this year either, partisan opinions aside).

It would be interesting to see what Nate's odds would have been for Reagan in '84, or Clinton in '96. Then you might get near 100% territory. Which suggests that Nate's model recognizes that 2012 is different and has downgraded the incumbent accordingly. Has he been downgraded enough? I guess we'll see, but the answer will be a lot more nuanced that your 100%-right-or-wrong assertions make it out to be.
   5522. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4287366)
Isn't most of the difference between RCP and Nate on national polls the difference between:
1) excluding Rand entirely and including it with some downgrade?
2) then averaging all equally vs rebalancing them based on past effects?
RCP excludes more than just Rand - also PPP and Ipsos.

The big difference between Nate and RCP on the projected national vote, however, has little to do with what polls are not included in the RCP average. The 538 model uses the state-by-state polling as evidence of the national race, and the state-by-state polling is consistent with a national race where Obama leads by about three points. So the 538 model aggregates the state and the national polling, creating an average of Obama +2 or so.

RCP uses only national polls in producing its national average, which creates a huge divergence between its popular and electoral vote projections.
   5523. spycake Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4287367)
I think my bosses cringe anytime I'm doing a radio spot or making a blog comment to the effect that the goal of a projection system is to be slightly less horribly inaccurate than everyone else.

I think one of the keys to Nate's rise to stardom in 2008 was the part of his brain that self-edited comments like that.

But who knows, the lack of such a disclaimer might be his undoing yet!
   5524. bunyon Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4287379)
The storm isn't hitting the entire country. The storm is going to do most of its damage in solid blue or red states. This storm should mean very little in terms of voting.

I didn't mean in actual voting - if it is perceived that Obama has reacted badly to the storm, that could hurt him in swing states. Same goes for perception that he did good.

Whether he does good or bad, there is going to be a disaster to react to. If Romney can spin it so that Obama looks bad or Obama so that he looks good, it could be a factor.

Besides, Virginia is close and there is going to be not just an effect there but an effect in a part of the state that is more Democrat than parts of the state that will be less affected.
   5525. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4287383)
Silver is lucky he doesn't live in Italy, cause if he gets it wrong, he would go to jail.
   5526. spike Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4287388)
If Romney can spin it so that Obama looks bad or Obama so that he looks good, it could be a factor.

Mitt's off to a good start - he doubled down on wanting to dismantle FEMA this morning.
   5527. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4287389)
Silver, I'll defend to the wall. Wang, I won't. Nate's never hid the fact that he's a Democrat, but he's never crossed the line into the blatant advocacy that Wang, who mixes analysis with direct fundraising pleas, does. I believe at some level, you have to choose your hat, whether you want to play the advocate or the analyst.

Rasmussen is also a GOP pollster and consultant. The RCP co-founder is an outspoken "Christian conservative" who complains about "media bias". I don't think that this impugns their ability to put aside their personal wishes in formulating their methodology, and I'm not sure why Wang's ability to put aside his biases should be impugned, either. If his polling shows a systematic Democratic bias, then you adjust for it in the same way you adjust for other pollsters' (and other analysts') biases.
   5528. JL Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4287390)
Robert Samuelson has a good column in the WaPo on the issues that polling in general faces. Pretty even handed and directed toward issues that are potentially effecting accuracy. I will try to find the link.
   5529. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4287396)
Mitt's off to a good start - he doubled down on wanting to dismantle FEMA this morning.


Not this morning. Romney's FEMA comments were during a primary debate.
   5530. spike Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4287400)
   5531. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4287401)
Not this morning. Romney's FEMA comments were during a primary debate.


As such, we know they mean nothing to Mitt or his supporters.
   5532. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4287402)
Here's that Samuelson link.

Polls are controversial today because the presidential race is tight. If either candidate had a 10-point lead, few would care how different polls decide who’s a “likely” voter or how various population segments are weighted. These details usually don’t matter much. But when the margin is a few points, they can determine which candidate is the front-runner and has “momentum.”

More menacing is whether cellphones and shrinking popular participation subvert polls’ accuracy, because samples are less representative. The answer seems to be: “not yet.” Pew did a study comparing responses to basic questions (are you: U.S. citizen, homeowner, married?) from its surveys to larger government surveys. On most questions, responses were identical or close: 37 percent of respondents in both had children in the house; 75 percent in both were registered to vote. There were a few troubling discrepancies — but no fundamental break.

Less reassuring is telephone polling’s steep and rising costs, which could cause cash-strapped media organizations to balk. Contacting cellphones is expensive, because numbers must be dialed by hand. By contrast, computers can automatically dial landline numbers, making it easier to reach live people. (Congress prohibited this for cellphones to protect people from paying for unsolicited incoming calls.) A typical survey costs Pew from $60,000 to $100,000, says Keeter. That would cover renting tens of thousands of landline and cellphone numbers to produce 1,500 interviews of about 20 minutes each.

The solution seems obvious: switch to the Internet. But technically, that’s hard. Internet users may not be a representative sample of the U.S. population. Does the person behind that e-mail live in the United States? Permanent panels of respondents may act differently from randomly contacted people. Experiments are under way. Meanwhile, pollsters are stretched between a past that’s growing untenable and a future that doesn’t yet exist.
   5533. Lassus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4287405)
From watching CNN at lunch for a whopping ten minutes, I'll say that the storm might hurt Romney. Obama will be in the news being the President and presidential (or at least, you know, making the non-"heckuvajob" effort) while Romney will be doing nothing. And really not be able to do anything that slams Obama during a national emergency or he'll seem like a total dick.

By hurt Romney, I mean just barely. But barely in a close election is possibly notable.

   5534. spike Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4287412)
he'll seem like a total dick.

Dicks like Gingrich already took care of that for him on Sunday.
   5535. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4287424)
Well, if Obama doesn't make any major screwup and if a bipartisan group of governors and local officials wind up praising FEMA's reaction to Sandy, that comment of Romney's might wind up inadvertently demonstrating the point that it's not the government per se that's at fault when they don't do their job, it's the fault of the people in charge of the government. Which is exactly the point that sane people have been making for the past 80 years. The response of "Brownie" & Co. to Katrina is hardly an argument for dismantling FEMA, but it might have been a good argument for dismantling Brownie.

I noticed that Obama's 12:45 address was 100% non-political, emphasizing the need to follow the instructions of local officials, and that he deflected the question about the effect of Sandy on the election. I'm sure that this couldn't exactly have pleased the Romney camp.
   5536. zonk Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4287428)
Well, if Obama doesn't make any major screwup and if a bipartisan group of governors and local officials wind up praising FEMA's reaction to Sandy, that comment of Romney's might wind up demonstrating the point that it's not the government per se that's at fault when they don't do their job, it's the fault of the people in charge of the government. Which is exactly the point that sane people have been making for the past 80 years. The response of "Brownie" & Co. to Katrina is hardly an argument for dismantling FEMA, but it might have been a good argument for dismantling Brownie.


Same old song...

Why are so many people surprised that when we elect people who spend their entire lives railing against and hating government -- they turn out not to be very good at governing?
   5537. spike Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4287432)
"The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it." - P.J. O'Rourke
   5538. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4287434)
So, to recap, PPP polls are worthless and biased because they provide full demographic crosstabs in their poll PDFs instead of in their press releases, which makes it too hard for you to find. And Rasmussen polls are totally fine and trustworthy because you think they might provide some of this information to subscribers.

Nonsense. Rasmussen, almost alone, weights poll results based on its survey of party ID, which it releases on a daily or near-daily basis all year, every year.
   5539. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4287439)
Since RCP is emphatically not just an averager but is instead a subjective decision about what to include and what not to include, a subjective decision in keeping with the founders' explicit goals of increasing conservative coverage, then will its supporters here renounce it and refuse to visit it if Romney in fact does not win the popular vote?

If someone says that, and then asks if I'll stop visiting Nate, then I can deal with that question. But someone who won't deal with RCP's own subjectivity and then make demands upon other people is just concern trolling.

I've mentioned this part of RCP's subjectivity a time or two in the past 24 hours, but I don't believe it's as nefarious as you're implying. I don't believe it's unreasonable at all for RCP not to use one poll that didn't exist in 2008, another that didn't exist in 2010, and a third that not only didn't exist 4 months ago but uses a methodology that's never been used before (RAND). If RCP was using some first-year right-leaning polls but not first-year left-leaning polls, I'd be suspicious, too.
   5540. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4287449)
The 538 model uses the state-by-state polling as evidence of the national race, and the state-by-state polling is consistent with a national race where Obama leads by about three points.

This simply isn't true. If Obama was truly ahead in the national race by 3 points, he'd be well over 300 in the Electoral College predictions. Instead, he's basically ahead by Ohio plus New Hampshire at RCP or Ohio plus Colorado at FiveThirtyEight.
   5541. Danny Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4287476)
Nonsense. Rasmussen, almost alone, weights poll results based on its survey of party ID, which it releases on a daily or near-daily basis all year, every year.

So what were the demographic breakdowns of Rasmussen's latest Ohio poll? As a reminder, you said PPP's latest Ohio poll was biased and unreliable because they provided this information in a PDF instead of in their press release:
PPP didn't disclose the sample in the text of the blog post, press release, or tweets it posted in hyping the alleged Obama lead. Instead, people had to dig into the PDF to find this key information. The topline poll results are essentially meaningless without the context provided by the sample breakdown.

So, is Rasmussen's Ohio poll meaningless to you?
   5542. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4287485)
Sandy's biggest effect on the election would be if there are wide-spread power outages preventing people from watching the political ads on TV. But it looks like the most severe part of the storm will be in safely blue states, so that's not going to matter much unless New Hampshire ends up taking a hit. I'm in Northern Virginia, south of Alexandria, and so far it's just rain, steady not that heavy, with winds forecast to only get to 34 MPH, not too bad.

Natural disasters are mostly a State & Local Government responsibility, I'm going to be surprised if anyone credits or blames the President unless something extraordinary happens. There is some suggestion that the BLS Jobs Report may be delayed, which may raise eyebrows since the surveys are complete and one would think enough people could be designated as "essential" to wrap it up, especially given that the immediate DC area seems to be doing OK.
   5543. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4287491)
So what were the demographic breakdowns of Rasmussen's latest Ohio poll? As a reminder, you said PPP's latest Ohio poll was biased and unreliable because they provided this information in a PDF instead of in their press release:

Actually, I said PPP buried its unrealistic sample in the PDF, which was true yesterday and remains true today.

If you believe Ohio will be more Dem in 2012 than it was in 2008, that's certainly your right. And if you have information that Rasmussen has been using samples that are even more GOP than 2010, I'd like to see it.

EDIT: Some of Rasmussen's party ID results over the past month actually have shown a more GOP electorate in 2012 than in 2010, but I'm not a subscriber and can't get the full breakdown of how he weights the state-by-state results.
   5544. spycake Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4287500)
Joe, here's your direct quote about PPP:
PPP didn't disclose the sample in the text of the blog post, press release, or tweets it posted in hyping the alleged Obama lead. Instead, people had to dig into the PDF to find this key information. The topline poll results are essentially meaningless without the context provided by the sample breakdown.

You have frequently referred to Rasmussen's Ohio polling instead. Where is the party ID sample for Rasmussen's latest Ohio poll? Blog post? Press release? Tweet?
   5545. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4287509)
You have frequently referred to Rasmussen's Ohio polling instead.

I have? Until today, Rasmussen had Obama in the lead in Ohio for months, so I kind of doubt I've been pimping Rasmussen's Ohio results here.

Regardless, as I've said several times now, Rasmussen is a subscriber service, and the internals are behind a paywall. According to a discussion at the Battleground site, the Rasmussen sample was D+2 for today's Ohio poll, but I'm not going to subscribe just to confirm that. I don't know why the media doesn't report Rasmussen's internals; maybe it's by agreement because he's a subscriber-based business. But I can guarantee you that if Rasmussen was using crazy R-leaning samples, someone would have broken the embargo by now.
   5546. spycake Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4287523)
I have? Until today, Rasmussen had Obama in the lead in Ohio for months, so I kind of doubt I've been pimping Rasmussen's Ohio results here.

Well, the RCP average then, which includes Rasmussen.

Seems strange to dismiss a poll as "meaningless" because of its party ID results, then repeatedly tout other polls/averages of which you don't even know the party ID results.
   5547. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4287531)
Well, the RCP average then, which includes Rasmussen.

I'm guessing RCP shells out the $35 for Rasmussen's internals. Hell, they might even get comped.

Seems strange to dismiss a poll as "meaningless" because of its party ID results, then repeatedly tout other polls/averages of which you don't even know the party ID results.

I didn't say PPP itself was meaningless; I said the topline poll results are meaningless without the sample providing context. (And before you mention Rasmussen again, remember: Rasmussen might charge for its poll internals, but we know Rasmussen weights its polls in part based on its party affiliation survey, which it publishes on its site for free on a constant basis.)
   5548. tshipman Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4287534)
There is some suggestion that the BLS Jobs Report may be delayed, which may raise eyebrows since the surveys are complete and one would think enough people could be designated as "essential" to wrap it up, especially given that the immediate DC area seems to be doing OK.


I don't think the jobs report matters that much. Everyone's perception of the economy is pretty much baked in at this point.

In addition, the numbers are quite likely to be in a narrow bound between 100 and 200K jobs. Does anyone even notice if the headline unemployment rate drops to 7.7%? I mean, of the likely scenarios, where we have no change in UErate, minor drop in UErate or minor raise in UErate, do any of those matter?

It's not like UE is going over 9 or under 7.
   5549. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4287540)
It's not like UE is going over 9

It already has!

(Just having some fun with Shipman.)
   5550. Gonfalon B. Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4287556)
And Gonfalon Bubble - thanks for the Ohio figures. The whole +2% bit seemed fishy to me, but I was too lazy to actually check. You rule.

Thanks, but I didn't bother checking either, until the fifth or sixth time the stat was cited. Sloth is my go-to deadly sin.
   5551. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4287564)
Thanks, but I didn't bother checking either, until the fifth or sixth time the stat was cited. Sloth is my go-to deadly sin.

Where did you get your numbers? Your findings are at odds with this chart.
   5552. Gonfalon B. Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4287584)
   5553. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4287609)
Ohio General Election Results + Results of presidential elections.

Your list and the chart are comparing two different things. Your list is a comparison of the percentages, while the chart is a comparison of margin of victory. In the latter, the +2.0 claim holds up:

- In 2008, Obama won by 7.2 but only won Ohio by 4.6 (GOP +2.6);
- In 2004, Bush won by 2.4 but only won Ohio by 2.1 (GOP -0.3);
- In 2000, Bush lost the popular vote by -0.5 but won Ohio by 3.5 (GOP +4.0);
- In 1996, Clinton won by 8.5 but only won Ohio by 6.3 (GOP +2.2);
- In 1992, Clinton won by 5.5 but only won Ohio by 1.8 (GOP +3.7);
- In 1988, Bush by 7.7 but won Ohio by 10.8 (GOP +3.1).

This isn't how I'd previously seen it presented around the internet and it's less compelling than the percentage comparison, but it still suggests the GOP tends to outperform in Ohio.
   5554. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4287615)
Here's a question: If Nate is out on a limb, is anyone else? Unskewed, or anyone else who has different projections?
   5555. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4287616)

I'd say Sam Wang is out on a limb that's hanging over thin ice that's about 15 feet from Niagara Falls. He's turning "out on a limb" into performance art.
   5556. Gonfalon B. Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4287625)
Re: Joe K, #5553:
Obviously there are multiple ways to turn and present data. But you were talking about how GOP candidates have traditionally overperformed in Ohio relative to the national popular vote. Addressing that premise, what's more germane than directly comparing how the candidates performed in Ohio to how they performed in the national popular vote?
   5557. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4287632)
Obviously there are multiple ways to turn and present data. But you were talking about how GOP candidates have traditionally overperformed in Ohio relative to the national popular vote. Addressing that premise, what's more germane than directly comparing how the candidates performed in Ohio to how they performed in the national popular vote?

I agree. That's why I said:

This isn't how I'd previously seen it presented around the internet and it's less compelling than the percentage comparison, but it still suggests the GOP tends to outperform in Ohio.

... I.e., the straight comparison of percentages is more compelling than the margin-of-victory comparison in the chart I linked.
   5558. McCoy Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4287636)
Florida according to 538's polls is favoring Romney by .8% and he is predicting that Romney wins the state by a little over a point. That one point difference in Florida gives Romney a 62% chance of winning the state.
   5559. Gonfalon B. Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4287645)
the straight comparison of percentages is more compelling than the margin-of-victory comparison in the chart I linked.

And the very best part is that Ohio's +GOP factor is small but consistent, which gives every partisan out there one adjective to have faith in, and one adjective to totally dismiss. And vice versa!
   5560. BurlyBuehrle Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4287693)
... I.e., the straight comparison of percentages is more compelling than the margin-of-victory comparison in the chart I linked.


As I read the thread (and I keep up with it pretty well), your main criticism of Nate/538 was that it failed to account for the purported 2-point GOP advantage in Ohio, relative to the national vote.

Now that Gonfalon Bubble has debunked that myth, and you yourself have admitted that comparing the Ohio numbers to the national vote are the "more compelling" way to analyze the numbers, do you think that Nate's percentage (a) in Ohio and (b) for the general are accurate?

For the record, in terms of your repeated reliance on the 2-point myth, here is but a sampling:

This was you in 4901:
since Ohio historically goes +2.0 for the Republican relative to the national vote.
Wrong.

Here you were in 4917:
Over every election for which we have data, Ohio has never gone less for the GOP candidate than the GOP candidate secured in the national vote, and the average is +2.0 for the GOP.
Wrong again.

And in 4966:
when we also know that Ohio goes, on average, +2.0 for the GOP candidate relative to the national vote, that's precisely the type of anomaly that Nate's model is supposed to explain rather than expand
Wrong again.

   5561. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4287711)
Now that Gonfalon Bubble has debunked that myth, and you yourself have admitted that comparing the Ohio numbers to the national vote are the "more compelling" way to analyze the numbers, do you think that Nate's percentage (a) in Ohio and (b) for the general are accurate?

Extend an olive branch to the lefties, and they want the whole tree.

To answer your question: No.

For the record, in terms of your repeated reliance on the 2-point myth, here is but a sampling:

It's not a myth that the GOP overperforms in Ohio relative to the national result. The GOP overperforms by less in a straight percentage-to-percentage comparison, which is how the +2.0 thing has been conflated around the internet recently, but the trend in #5553 is still noteworthy.

Getting back to your question, despite a history of the GOP overperforming in Ohio both in terms of percentage and relative to the margin of victory, Nate is still projecting Obama will win Ohio by a wider margin than he'll win the popular vote. This remains unexplained.

We're told over and over and over again that the genius of Nate's model is that he regresses polling data to the historical mean, but he doesn't seem to be doing that in Ohio, or to the extent he is, he must only be doing so after plugging in a lot of pro-Obama data into the model and/or making a lot of pro-Obama assumptions in his modeling. Nate has Obama as a 3:1 favorite for reelection despite a horrible economy, high unemployment, sub-50 approval ratings, horrendous right-track/wrong-track numbers, Romney leading in the RCP, and the fact that incumbent presidents generally either outperform their first election or lose — all, apparently, on the basis of Obama leading in Ohio by 2 points. The idea that a 2-point Obama lead in Ohio polling not only trumps all of the preceding negatives but makes Obama a 3:1 favorite seems both incredibly optimistic and entirely unexplained.
   5562. BurlyBuehrle Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4287732)
It's not a myth that the GOP overperforms in Ohio relative to the national result. The GOP overperforms by less in a straight percentage-to-percentage comparison, which is how the +2.0 thing has been conflated around the internet recently,


Is that not how you were presenting it in 4901, 4917, and 4966 (and other places)?

So now it is your position that because the GOP outperforms the national *margin,* in Ohio, Nate's model must be wrong? Maybe that is right, but that wasn't your criticism before. Your criticism before was that the GOP outperforms the national vote by 2%. That assertion is incorrect.

Nate has Obama as a 3:1 favorite for reelection despite a horrible economy, high unemployment, sub-50 approval ratings, horrendous right-track/wrong-track numbers, Romney leading in the RCP, and the fact that incumbent presidents generally either outperform their first election or lose — all, apparently, on the basis of Obama leading in Ohio by 2 points. The idea that a 2-point Obama lead in Ohio polling not only trumps all of the preceding negatives but makes Obama a 3:1 favorite seems both incredibly optimistic and entirely unexplained.


Do you think Nate's model doesn't account for all the factors listed above? Do you have any evidence that it does not? Aren't all of those things baked into the polling - Nate's primary data points? If you'd argue that they aren't, how so? As MCoA points out, Nate has written extensively about his methodology, and is hardly running a black box. There are numerous posts in this thread that touch on his methodology. Yet you keep asserting variants of your statement above - that his current projection is "entirely unexplained." This assertion has no basis in fact. His prediction is in line with the other predictions I've seen - a close popular vote with an Obama victory in the EC.
   5563. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4287739)
Is that not how you were presenting it in 4901, 4917, and 4966 (and other places)?

Did you not see my comment, which I'm now posting for the third time, that "[t]his isn't how I'd previously seen it presented around the internet"?

So now it is your position that because the GOP outperforms the national *margin,* in Ohio, Nate's model must be wrong? Maybe that is right, but that wasn't your criticism before. Your criticism before was that the GOP outperforms the national vote by 2%. That assertion is incorrect.

The +2.0 apparently was off, but the GOP still overperforms in Ohio. It simply overperforms less than was thought, at least by that one measure.

Nate's model, meanwhile, is projecting Romney to underperform in Ohio, not only in the face of decades of electoral history, but coming on the heels of a huge 2010 for the GOP in Ohio.

Do you think Nate's model doesn't account for all the factors listed above? Do you have any evidence that it does not? Aren't all of those things baked into the polling - Nate's primary data points? If you'd argue that they aren't, how so? As MCoA points out, Nate has written extensively about his methodology, and is hardly running a black box. There are numerous posts in this thread that touch on his methodology. Yet you keep asserting variants of your statement above - that his current projection is "entirely unexplained." This assertion has no basis in fact. His prediction is in line with the other predictions I've seen - a close popular vote with an Obama victory in the EC.

If you claim to be regressing to the mean, but your model projects something that has never happened before, then you aren't regressing to the mean.
   5564. spike Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4287744)
Nate has Obama as a 3:1 favorite for reelection despite a horrible economy, high unemployment, sub-50 approval ratings, horrendous right-track/wrong-track numbers, Romney leading in the RCP, and the fact that incumbent presidents generally either outperform their first election or lose

He's a favorite because the opposition has proved itself so unpalatable that despite the significant advantages you cite, they are losing anyway.
   5565. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4287748)
If you claim to be regressing to the mean, but your model projects something that has never happened before, then you aren't regressing to the mean.


(note: the numbers I'm quoting are from Nate's 10/28/12 update)

Nate shows Ohio's polling average as Obama +2.8, an adjusted polling average of Obama +2.4, "State fundamentals" as Romney +1.1, and an overall both now-cast and final projection of Obama +2.2. Moving from +2.8 to +2.2 on the basis of Ohio having pro-Romney fundamentals would seem to be a fairly textbook example of regression to the mean.
   5566. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:10 PM (#4287749)
He's a favorite because the opposition has proved itself so unpalatable that despite the significant advantages you cite, they are losing anyway.

It depends on how you define "losing." Last time I checked, Romney was +1.5 at RCP in national polls conducted over the past week, +5 at Gallup, and +2 at Rasmussen. The only place Romney seems to be "losing" is in one state where the polls seem to be out of whack, both due to the samples being used and due to people lying about having voted early.

***
Nate shows Ohio's polling average as Obama +2.8, an adjusted polling average of Obama +2.4, "State fundamentals" as Romney +1.1, and an overall both now-cast and final projection of Obama +2.2. Moving from +2.8 to +2.2 on the basis of Ohio having pro-Romney fundamentals would seem to be a fairly textbook example of regression to the mean.

Perhaps, but even with that adjustment, he's still projecting Romney will underperform in Ohio.
   5567. Steve Treder Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4287753)
He's a favorite because the opposition has proved itself so unpalatable that despite the significant advantages you cite, they are losing anyway.

The general unpalatability of the opposition may be the explanation (or an explanation) for the aggregation of state-by-state poll number being what they are. Or it may not. In any case, Nate Silver doesn't need to offer an explanation, and doesn't pretend to have a compelling explanation. He isn't a pundit pushing a theory about who will win. He's an analyst presenting a model that aggregates state-by-state poll numbers.

He's also, quite clearly, a messenger being shot at.
   5568. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4287766)
Nate has Obama as a 3:1 favorite for reelection despite a horrible economy, high unemployment, sub-50 approval ratings, horrendous right-track/wrong-track numbers, Romney leading in the RCP, and the fact that incumbent presidents generally either outperform their first election or lose — all, apparently, on the basis of Obama leading in Ohio by 2 points.


Most of those (all but "Romney leading in the RCP") are things that Nate's model explicitly does not look at. If poll-aggregating can lead to accurate predictions, it has to be by looking only at the polls. If you want to construct a prediction system that relies on economic trends, feel free. But I don't think it's fair to criticize Nate Silver for not doing that. Things like "incumbent presidents generally either outperform their first election or lose" are outside the scope of the project.
   5569. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:30 PM (#4287771)
Most of those (all but "Romney leading in the RCP") are things that Nate's model explicitly does not look at. If poll-aggregating can lead to accurate predictions, it has to be by looking only at the polls. If you want to construct a prediction system that relies on economic trends, feel free. But I don't think it's fair to criticize Nate Silver for not doing that. Things like "incumbent presidents generally either outperform their first election or lose" are outside the scope of the project.

I don't see any mention of it on his methodology page, but Nate has repeatedly mentioned that economic data is factored into his model.

EDIT: Here we go: Measuring the Effect of the Economy on Elections

The most significant change to our presidential forecast model this year is that it contains an economic index, which is used to guide forecasts along with the polls.

In fact, as you may have seen since we began our short daily summaries of the model’s output, new economic data often has just as much influence over the forecast as the latest poll from Ohio or Florida. ...
   5570. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:33 PM (#4287776)
If you want to construct a prediction system that relies on economic trends, feel free.


Such as the already discussed (read: mocked) the University of Colorado forecaster that does that and against all odds has Romney winning Minnesota and New Mexico.
   5571. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4287779)
Such as the already discussed (read: mocked) the University of Colorado forecaster that does that and against all odds has Romney winning Minnesota and New Mexico.

Or Nate's.
   5572. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4287780)
I don't see any mention of it on his methodology page, but Nate has repeatedly mentioned that economic data is factored into his model.


Huh. Okay, I retract my comment. Well, the first half, anyway; I still think "incumbent presidents generally either outperform their first election or lose" is too vague to plug into a model.
   5573. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:45 PM (#4287787)
Well, the first half, anyway; I still think "incumbent presidents generally either outperform their first election or lose" is too vague to plug into a model.

I'm not sure if or how Nate could plug that into his model, although perhaps it's possible somehow. I was mostly just running off a list of the major things that represent historical headwinds for Obama.
   5574. spike Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4287790)
@5572, Measuring the effect of the economy on elections generally covers the topic.
   5575. greenback likes millwall Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4287796)
In any case, Nate Silver doesn't need to offer an explanation, and doesn't pretend to have a compelling explanation. He isn't a pundit pushing a theory about who will win. He's an analyst presenting a model that aggregates state-by-state poll numbers.

If an analyst lacks an understanding of the 'why', he ends up doing silly things like projecting Matt Wieters to be the best player in baseball after a nice season at AA. People who do nothing more than symbol pushing work at a significant disadvantage to those pundits.

That said, the 'X generally happens in an election' stuff was already satisfactorily smacked down by the xkcd link.

   5576. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4287806)
Or Nate's.


Unlike the University of Colorado's model, Nate Silver's model is neither built on economic trends nor predicts Romney to win NM or MN. But yeah, other than that they are exactly the same.
   5577. Steve Treder Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4287811)
If an analyst lacks an understanding of the 'why', he ends up doing silly things like projecting Matt Wieters to be the best player in baseball after a nice season at AA. People who do nothing more than symbol pushing work at a significant disadvantage to those pundits.

Swing and a miss.
   5578. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4287823)
Unlike the University of Colorado's model, Nate Silver's model is neither built on economic trends nor predicts Romney to win NM or MN. But yeah, other than that they are exactly the same.

Your mocking reply to the quote in #5570 suggested you were unaware that Nate's model indeed partly "relies on economic trends," and that you had perhaps missed the link in #5569. Either way, not a big deal.
   5579. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4287831)
Your mocking reply to the quote in #5570 suggested you were unaware that Nate's model indeed partly "relies on economic trends," and that you had perhaps missed the link in #5569. Either way, not a big deal.


I apologize for assuming that you understand there is a difference between "includes" and "based on."
   5580. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4287838)
I apologize for assuming that you understand there is a difference between "includes" and "based on."

Since neither the word "includes" nor the phrase "based on" was used in this discussion, your condescending tone is, as usual, quite bizarre.

The quote to which you replied in #5570 said "relies on," and Nate's model indeed relies in part on economic trends. If you had already seen the link in #5569, then I'm sorry for making you read the two words in #5571.
   5581. Tripon Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4287839)
Next Tues. can't come soon enough. I don't care who wins at this point, all this crap about polls needs to end.
   5582. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4287844)
Next Tues. can't come soon enough. I don't care who wins at this point, all this crap about polls needs to end.

Do you really think it will end then? There will be the discussions of why the polls/538/other aggregators did/didn't work.
   5583. tshipman Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:43 PM (#4287851)
Do you really think it will end then? There will be the discussions of why the polls/538/other aggregators did/didn't work.


It's only really a shitstorm if Romney wins. If Obama wins, then everything's pretty normal. A Romney win, in addition to being horrible for the country, would also set back the understanding of statistics.
   5584. RollingWave Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4287877)
Next Tues Spring. can't come soon enough. I don't care who wins at this point, all this crap about pollspolitics needs to end.


That's better
   5585. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:24 PM (#4287888)

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I go on the computer and argue with liberals." — Rogers Hornsby
   5586. just plain joe Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:25 PM (#4287890)
Next Tues. can't come soon enough. I don't care who wins at this point, all this crap about polls needs to end.

Do you really think it will end then? There will be the discussions of why the polls/538/other aggregators did/didn't work.


At least the damned political ads on TV will stop, they are harder to avoid than the polls, IMHO. I would say that 90-95% of the local ads on TV here for the past several weeks have been political. Not so much the presidential election but Indiana governor, U.S. senator and the House. I don't know which are worse, the ads from the candidates themselves or the ones from the PAC's, which of course are completely independent from any of the politicians in the races.
   5587. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4287900)
Just to piss off Sam, earlier this afternoon ABC News moved Pennsylvania and Montana from "safe Obama" to "lean Obama." Counting lean states, they have Obama at 237 and Romney at 206.
   5588. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4287904)
   5589. Lassus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4287908)
Game changer - Obama plastic surgery hides Communist link.

That article is insane.
   5590. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4287919)
Just to piss off Sam, earlier this afternoon ABC News moved Pennsylvania and Montana ...

Those right-wing hacks are just fooling with the narrative.
   5591. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4287923)
That article is insane.


You can't handle the truth.
   5592. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4287931)
Can I say, on first glance, I like WND's site's new look?
   5593. Lassus Posted: October 29, 2012 at 10:15 PM (#4287950)
In the spirit of bipartisan examination, I sent that article to my GF. She dispassionately claims that the fact that the mole on the left side of his nose remains in exactly the same spot means no nose job. Also, just in general, she's not seeing any of the other signs either. She's one of those people who pays attention to the plastic surgery sites.
   5594. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 29, 2012 at 10:15 PM (#4287953)
I received one of thos "Dreams From My Real Father" DVDs in the mail. The description and endorsements on the mailer were good comedy but I didn't watch the movie at all for fear it would make my DVD player dumber
   5595. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4287999)
Just to piss off Sam, earlier this afternoon ABC News moved Pennsylvania and Montana from "safe Obama" to "lean Obama."

Montana? Man, I know those western states all look alike, but still....
   5596. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4288010)
Just to piss off Sam, earlier this afternoon ABC News moved Pennsylvania and Montana from "safe Obama" to "lean Obama."

Montana? Man, I know those western states all look alike, but still....

Correction, Andy: All white states look alike. Yes, it was supposed to say Minnesota.
   5597. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4288023)
Just looking at Pollster, those two states' races seem rather steady.
   5598. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 30, 2012 at 12:02 AM (#4288037)
Gallup is out with a survey indicating that 15% of the voters have already cast ballots with Romney leading 52-46 among those voters. Interesting.
   5599. McCoy Posted: October 30, 2012 at 12:23 AM (#4288049)
According to Gallup the early voting is strongest out west and in the south while the east is pretty weak.. Obama is getting absolutely killed in the polls in the South. According to Gallup last week Obama was trailing Romney by 22 points in the South. Gallup expects that 40% of the south will do early voting. Obama was up in the West but of the three regions he was leading the west was his weakest region. Also more Republicans have voted than Democrats so far, 19 to 15.

Put it all together and I'd say trailing by only 6 points probably isn't really doom and gloom for Obama. It might even be a sign that Obama is doing pretty good all things considered.
   5600. Guapo Posted: October 30, 2012 at 12:45 AM (#4288065)
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