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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OTP November 2012 - Moneypoll! The Pundits vs. The Election-Data Nerds

Come next Tuesday night, we’ll get a resolution (let’s hope) to a great ongoing battle of 2012: not just the Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but the one between the pundits trying to analyze that race with their guts and a new breed of statistics gurus trying to forecast it with data.

In Election 2012 as seen by the pundits–political journalists on the trail, commentators in cable-news studios–the campaign is a jump ball. There’s a slight lead for Mitt Romney in national polls and slight leads for Barack Obama in swing-state polls, and no good way of predicting next Tuesday’s outcome beyond flipping a coin. ...

Bonus link: Esquire - The Enemies of Nate Silver

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM | 11298 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mr president, off-topic, politics, sabermetrics, usa

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   1401. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 04, 2012 at 03:01 AM (#4292468)
The religious fervor for these poll analyses demonstrated by otherwise non-religious posters (and I have no idea who those are, specifically) is intriguing.
Well, religious fervor implies things taken on faith. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me there's little in the way of faith involved. A weeklong obsession, sure, but with largely verifiable information. It engages me in the process, gets me following the news; by posting here I get to socialize with some smart guys, I brush up on statistics some, and it does make me feel more involved in an election that, of course, I have very little say in. I can see 'fervor'; I'm missing the religious aspect of that fervor, though. YMMV.

Btw, I give Silver the most credence of any pollster or aggregator, but that's because of his method. I hardly take him on faith, any more than I did advanced fielding stats, or win shares, the black box nature of which left me essentially indifferent to them, despite their imprimatur.

The interesting thing about NH according to RCP is that Obama is close to an all time high in % of voters for this election.
Interesting point, and contrary to Granite State's (the preferred name of the NH polling outfit cited, according to them) claim that Independents are suddenly breaking violently to McCai..., I mean Romney. If they were, Obama's numbers would be plunging, since there weren't nearly enough undecideds to account for the shift. It would have had to have been Independents in NH previously announcing for Obama who were doing a lot of the shifting.


The "512 Paths to the White House" is a great little tool.
Isn't it terrific? Those 'fill in the map' webpages are handy, but the 512 trees are a cut above.

some pundit on Twitter today claimed THIS Ohio poll was the one the insiders were watching closest, based on track record:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/11/04/dispatch-poll-shows-ohio-a-toss-up.html

has it Obama 50, Romney 48, not sure I make anyone completely happy with that info but I guess the Romneyiacs will like it better...
No offense, Howie, but I couldn't find any info telling us why the Dispatch poll, which is very similar to most other polls, is something we should pay special attention to. Any other leads wrt it?

A Newspaper poll by Susquehanna Polling & Research has Pennsylvania tied 47-47. If Pennsylvania is anywhere near that close, Obama would be in big trouble.
Agreed. If PA was a genuine coin-toss, Obama would be losing OH, NC, FL, and VA. PA is an elderly state. Obama would be down by 4 in FL if PA was a tie. It's hugely unlikely the poll is correct, though. It's inconsistent with everything else, including every poll taken recently in PA. [edit: as several people have pointed out by now]

***

It's the HuffnPuff Post, so grain of salt, but it's only fifteen hours old, the most recent update I've found.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama heads toward Election Day with an apparent lead over Republican Mitt Romney among early voters in key states that could decide the election.

Obama's advantage, however, isn't as big as the one he had over John McCain four years ago, giving Romney's campaign hope that the former Massachusetts governor can erase the gap when people vote on Tuesday.

More than 27 million people already have voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia. No votes will be counted until Election Day but several battleground states are releasing the party affiliation of people who have voted early.

So far, Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio – five states that could decide the election, if they voted the same way. Republicans have the edge in Colorado, which Obama won in 2008.


Nothing new except for the total figure.

***

Regarding setting up generators for gas stations, I'm not an electrician and don't have any experience with generators but I don't think gasoline pumps are simply things you could switch plugs with. If electrical work is needed I would t want something done hastily especially around flammable liquids.
That's the main problem. It's very doable, but there's a learning curve, one long enough that by the time people safely have it figured power will be back on. You can't cut corners when one end of the pump is in a ten thousand gallon tank of gasoline.
   1402. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 04, 2012 at 04:05 AM (#4292472)
Interesting news in Virginia. If you discount the Roanoke College Poll, Obama is ahead in the last week's average of a half dozen polls. Roanoke doesn't poll often, it's a small poll, and for this presidential election has gotten nothing but extreme results, including a big swing for Obama (+8 when +3 was routine), and wild numbers for Romney (+5 when Obama was routinely around +7).

Discounting Roanoke leaves Obama better than +1 if you total LVs across the last half dozen polls. Include the next most recent half dozen, and all 12 get the total right down to Obama +0.1 (though, interestingly, Obama keeps winning the largest polls). It's a dead heat using average going back 16 polls, but after (before) that, it's all Obama.

I keep thinking Romney has an edge in Virginia. He doesn't.
   1403. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 04, 2012 at 04:55 AM (#4292475)
I keep thinking Romney has an edge in Virginia. He doesn't.

He does if you look at those polls' internals, which show samples of, among others, D+8, D+8, and D+5, despite Virginia only being D+6 in 2008. It's possible Virginia is more Dem in 2012 than it was in 2008, but it doesn't seem likely.
   1404. Austin Posted: November 04, 2012 at 06:51 AM (#4292477)
One thing I haven't seen specifically discussed in this thread, but which seems important: Nate pointed out a few days ago that one reason to trust state polls over national ones is that the effect of herding is reduced. In other words, it isn't too difficult to imagine that the national pollsters would all make rather similar assumptions about demographics and turnout. In contrast, while pollsters in Ohio may herd with each other, and pollsters in New Hampshire may herd with each other, there's far less reason to believe that Ohio pollsters will herd with New Hampshire pollsters. Plus, in theory, pollsters' intimate knowledge of their states' idiosyncrasies should give them a leg up in figuring out just who the likely voters really are. I suppose the counterargument is that the quality of the polling companies is more erratic - the polling companies conducting national surveys are generally a well-respected and well-financed group, whereas some pretty shitty firms are active on the state level. On balance, though, I think there is reason to believe that an aggregation of state-by-state numbers should do better than a national average, even beyond the benefits of the sheer volume of data.

Also, Joe, to keep hammering on a point that others have made: why do you think you know better than a vast majority of polling firms, who have every incentive to get the numbers right, in predicting the partisan makeup of likely voters? Could you really say with a straight face that you'd be doing exactly the same thing if the situation were flipped, and you thought pollsters were vastly overestimating Republican turnout? I'll have to give you a ton of credit if you turn out to be right come Tuesday - but I'd be quite shocked if you were.
   1405. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: November 04, 2012 at 07:05 AM (#4292478)
Anyone see the poll of MN published by some tea party outfit showing R +1? LoL.

Jack Carter is correct that the Virginia polling has swung backtk Obama and I expdct him to win. The state. Florida looks much better than it had. Ohio is gone. Iowa is gone. Joe still hasnt figured out how polling works.

All in all, this election is about over for Governor #######.
   1406. Lassus Posted: November 04, 2012 at 07:40 AM (#4292480)
The "512 Paths to the White House" is a great little tool.

While this thread is more like "50 Shades of the Electorate."
   1407. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 04, 2012 at 08:23 AM (#4292481)
Not that I want to discourage the Mitt Romney believers in any way, but by 10 o'clock this Tuesday night, they'll most likely want to know that A&E will be showing "Storage Wars," Animal Planet is airing "Finding Bigfoot," and Cinemax has got the ever-popular "Anchorman: The Story of Ron Burgundy." Also, TNT has a hot new episode of "Rizzoli & Isles": the team investigates the murder of a bride just before her wedding; Jane's unusual new neighbor draws the attention of Angela, Frankie and Frost.
   1408. Spahn Insane Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4292497)
The religious fervor for these poll analyses demonstrated by otherwise non-religious posters (and I have no idea who those are, specifically) is intriguing.

Well, religious fervor implies things taken on faith. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me there's little in the way of faith involved.


If anything, I'd say the "religious fervor" is on the other side (what with the confident predictions of victory that fly in the face of the evidence and all, based on what appears to be a whole lot of wishcasting and unsupported assumptions).
   1409. Spahn Insane Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4292498)
Btw, I give Silver the most credence of any pollster or aggregator, but that's because of his method. I hardly take him on faith, any more than I did advanced fielding stats, or win shares, the black box nature of which left me essentially indifferent to them, despite their imprimatur.

Right--I mean, if I wanted to put the most credence in (sorry--express "religious fervor" for) the guy who's most confident my preferred candidate will win, I'd cast my lot with Sam Wang. (Wang does interesting work, but he *only* relies on state polls** , which I understand the logic of (since state by state results are what determines the winner) but strikes me as a little rigid.)

**and who knows--maybe he should. He was certainly accurate in '04 and '08, missing by a total of one electoral vote in those two elections *combined*.
   1410. Johnny Temporary Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4292499)
Wang's big problem is that in 2004 when he started to get media attention he predicted a Kerry win even though his model said Bush, that pretty much sunk him.Pundits can be wrong a thousand times with no consequences it seems that stat heads get only one strike.
   1411. Spahn Insane Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4292501)
Wang's big problem is that in 2004 when he started to get media attention he predicted a Kerry win even though his model said Bush, that pretty much sunk him.

Really? Thought he predicted the electoral vote count exactly that year.

Pundits can be wrong a thousand times with no consequences it seems that stat heads get only one strike.

Lower bar, naturally. Any blowhard with a laptop can be a pundit; creating a statistical model (however accurate it ends up being) takes some work.
   1412. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4292502)
Gallup is now tentatively planning on conducting interviewing over the last four days of this week, Thursday through Sunday, to provide a final pre-election estimate of the election race. The decisions we make on the validity of the sample and the analysis of the data that results will be carefully informed by the degree of recovery from the storm over the period of the survey.


Let me translate that:

"This is our last poll before the election. We're going to make sure it shows an Obama lead, and we'll use the excuse of "the storm" as to why we suddenly line up with the rest of the polls right at the end, when we've been one of the outliers for all of October."
   1413. Howie Menckel Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4292505)
"Well, religious fervor implies things taken on faith. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me there's little in the way of faith involved."

Silver did extremely well state-by-state in 2008, and reasonably well in key races in 2010 (though hardly overwhelming). The widespread assumption that this must mean that the 2012 Presidential election will break according to Nate's say-so reaches 'religious' levels, imo, for some. I can't say where you stand on that continuum, obviously.

And if Nate does very well again this year, the 'religious' ones will be utterly locked in for 2016, so much so that dissent - heck, even questions - are liable to be found even more offensive than now. All hail The Wizard of Polls, 2-for-2 in Presidential election state-by-state predictions. And don't dare suggest that anything can happen in the next 4 years that could render a previously accurate model - and the underlying polls - any less accurate. #gottahavefaith

.........

"No offense, Howie, but I couldn't find any info telling us why the Dispatch poll, which is very similar to most other polls, is something we should pay special attention to."

Fair question, of course. I think the vibe was that this poll supposedly had proven uncannily accurate in past elections. Wish I could find the tweet and/or recall who posted it. Wasn't laying any great stake in it so much as thinking it would be in the chatter today. Will post more if I get it (again, I'm not endorsing the poll or claiming it means anything; just passing along a data point that apparently some poll-meisters were eager to see).

   1414. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4292507)
Now you are being silly. Democrats aren't taking over the House. They might pick up a few seats, or they might lose a few, but unless everyone looking at it is wrong, Democrats will be in the minority, likely by a larger margin than at any time during the prior GOP control of the House from 1995-2007. The Senate is an even worse example, since only one-third of the seats are up, and again it's uncertain which party is going to gain or lose a couple of seats. How is that at all comparable to 2010 or 2006? It certainly isn't an argument for fewer people identifying with the GOP in 2012.

I never said the Dems were taking the House. I said they were picking up seats. You argued that because in 2010 Republicans gained that somehow that meant a bunch of voters had turned to the GOP and I am saying that in 2012 it appears that a bunch of those voters have now turned back to the Dems.
   1415. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4292513)
And if Nate does very well again this year, the 'religious' ones will be utterly locked in for 2016, so much so that dissent - heck, even questions - are liable to be found even more offensive than now. All hail The Wizard of Polls, 2-for-2 in Presidential election state-by-state predictions. And don't dare suggest that anything can happen in the next 4 years that could render a previously accurate model - and the underlying polls - any less accurate. #gottahavefaith

So apparently you're getting the backlash in ahead of time.

If Nate's model in 2016 says that candidate X is up by 5 when all the polls say he is down by 3 people will question it. If his model say the candidate is up by 6 when other sites say he is up by 4 people will think Nate is an effective modeler of elections will probably believe him. This isn't a biggy. Very few people on this site have blinders on and the people that do aren't pro-Silver.
   1416. Lassus Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4292514)
The widespread assumption that this must mean that the 2012 Presidential election will break according to Nate's say-so reaches 'religious' levels, imo, for some.

You're trying to have it both ways with that qualification that ends your sentence. Some people are a prone to the edges of the bell-curve in their belief. So? This is news? Either too many people are "religious" in the belief of Nate's numbers, in your opinion, or they're not. Pointing out that "some" are means nothing.
   1417. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4292515)
Are there any "religious" Silverites in this thread? Who are they and where have they outed themselves as such? Otherwise this feels like a straw man argument and entirely unfair to primates here and Silver.
   1418. formerly dp Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4292519)
The Sunday morning network news is calling the race an absolute dead heat. No real attention the the individual states' numbers. Other than the lack of cable in my household, I don't know why I'm watching the Sunday morning network news, but anyway, that's what the mainstream story is right now.

There was a big Gary Johnson pitch here this weekend, hadn't really heard much about him locally before now. As of today, I have seen more Johnson signs than I have Obama or Romney ones.
   1419. bunyon Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4292521)
Third parties don't have much money - they pretty much have to save until right before the election.
   1420. Lassus Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4292522)
BTW, I hate hearing this "dead heat" crap in the press and the "over" stuff here. I'm very, very nervous.
   1421. villageidiom Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4292524)
There was a big Gary Johnson pitch here this weekend, hadn't really heard much about him locally before now. As of today, I have seen more Johnson signs than I have Obama or Romney ones.
Our house got a Johnson robocall a week or so ago. First thing it mentioned in terms of campaign platform was legalization of marijuana.

Whether I support legalization of marijuana or not, I suspect the vast majority of the electorate wouldn't consider that anywhere near the most pressing issue for our federal government. Seemed like an odd way to try to win people over.
   1422. Howie Menckel Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4292527)
"Are there any "religious" Silverites in this thread? Who are they and where have they outed themselves as such?"

I don't really pay attention to who posts what, and I can't read people's minds anyway.

But I haven't found much interest here in setting up some sort of baseline on how to weigh Silver's analysis, before we know how he fared.

Vibe feels like "if his numbers are wrong, blame the polls" yet not accompanied with a lot along the lines of "Nate, like a quarterback, will get too much blame if he's inaccurate and too much credit if he's accurate."

Deciding in advance to dismiss a contradictory point to a narrative, while either accepting or even contributing to a surge of belief when a point winds up fitting the narrative - that sounds vaguely familiar to me.

But I can't argue against anyone who sets up here a fair, pre-election baseline of how much to praise/criticize Nate based on the results.

   1423. bunyon Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4292528)
VI: probably trying to get there percentage in states where they might gain automatic access to the ballot in 2016.


BTW, I hate hearing this "dead heat" crap in the press and the "over" stuff here. I'm very, very nervous.

As you should be. I don't know about religious fervor, but the certainty people have that the polls are accurate surprises me. In any case, it doesn't matter, at all, what people think the state of the race is TODAY. It only matters who gets the votes on Tuesday. If any of a number of assumptions are a tiny bit off, Romney wins...or loses by 100 EV. But I don't think either side should be feeling like they have it won.
   1424. villageidiom Posted: November 04, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4292529)
BTW, I hate hearing this "dead heat" crap in the press and the "over" stuff here. I'm very, very nervous.
Well, they're getting "dead heat" from the overall popular vote. If one looks at the national popular vote numbers, it looks somewhat close. At this point, however, judging the race by those numbers is lazy. State-specific numbers are so readily available, and electoral college math is a grade-school skill level.
   1425. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4292533)
BTW, I hate hearing this "dead heat" crap in the press and the "over" stuff here. I'm very, very nervous.

Concur, from the other direction.

I think my guy is going to win (based on the polls and what I think turnout will likely actually be, vs. what's modeled) but I'm still far from sure, and very nervous.

Anyone who thinks this race is over, is just fooling themselves to soothe their own fears.
   1426. BurlyBuehrle Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4292539)
FWIW (not much), my prediction will follow.

I do think anyone who has confidently declared it, or has been touting the accuracy or inaccuracy of polling -- one way or another -- sort of has to post a prediction for the sake of credibility. Just because for me, a Romney win would be a surprise (not a huge surprise, but roughly, say, a 4-to-1 surprise...), I would like to see which states, specifically, Romney will win, according to those who think Romney will win.

Bottom line: Obama 303, Romney 235. In addition to all the expected wins, Obama wins (west to east) NV, CO, NM, IA, OH, VA, NH. Romney hangs on in FL and NC. Pop vote is ~51.8 (O) to ~48.2 (R); the variation is for 3d parties.

Happy Sunday to all.
   1427. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4292540)
I do think anyone who has confidently declared it, or has been touting the accuracy or inaccuracy of polling -- one way or another -- sort of has to post a prediction for the sake of credibility.

Already did yesterday, but I'll repeat.

R 51, O 48. Romney wins FL, NC, VA, OH, NH, CO and one of WI or IA.
   1428. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4292542)
BTW, I hate hearing this "dead heat" crap in the press and the "over" stuff here. I'm very, very nervous.

Well, even if your head tends to believe that Silver's explanations for his projection make sense, that still leaves a 3 in 20 chance that we'll wake up one morning soon and be faced with Romney / Ryan / a pair of 45 year old Scalias replacing Ginsburg and Kennedy / the regulatory agencies packed with a Club for Growth clones / and the realization that a sizable part of the incoming president's electoral base is certifiably crazy. That's just a partial listing, and that's more than enough to make me a bit nervous, regardless of what my head tells me the odds are of this actually happening.


   1429. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4292543)
   1430. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4292544)
Just to add evidence for the closeness of the race, new polls today have PA and MI tied, and OH, O+2.

This is going to come down to enthusiasm and turnout.
   1431. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4292546)
The Onion weighs in.

Actually the Onion's New York Times link is even funnier, even though I'm in the demographic that's in their bullseye.
   1432. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4292547)
-- sort of has to post a prediction for the sake of credibility.

Still more than 36 hours til the polls open in Dixville Notch - plenty of time. But isn't there going to be a separate prediction thread? It'd be so much easier to follow and recap.
   1433. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4292549)
Just to add evidence for the closeness of the race, new polls today have PA and MI tied,


Dude. PA and MI are not tied.
   1434. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4292551)
If Romney wins Wisconsin, I'll eat my hat.

O 51, R 48. Obama takes NV, IA, WI, OH, PA, VA, NH. Romney NC, CO and FL.

First declaration by right-wing psychos that Romney lost because he's too moderate: about 11.30 PM East Coast time.
   1435. Spahn Insane Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4292556)
snapper, if you're going to trumpet poll results in boldface, it'd be nice of you to at least identify the pollsters, if not link to them.

EDIT: If the PA poll's the Susquehanna/Pittsburgh Scaife Daily poll discussed above, we've already dealt with that one. It's a rightwing fringe outfit for whom the reported tie represents a *backslide* of 4 points for Romney.
   1436. Tilden Katz Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4292559)
The MI poll is similar. Done by a right-wing outlet and the last poll they did had Romney up 4.
   1437. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4292560)
I think the one that snapper refers to as tied in MI is this one.

What makes it a bit odd is that when you look at the numbers, it skews EXTREMELY old (only 2.77% polled were 30-years old and younger, instead of 16% for historical turnouts), and VERY white (86.25% white, 8.05% black, while historical numbers are 74.5% white and 17.5% black).
   1438. Lassus Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4292561)
YC, it isn't like you have to dig through chapters of Phenomenology of Man to get the predictions. IMO, this is the election thread, there's no need for another.
   1439. tshipman Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4292562)
Vibe feels like "if his numbers are wrong, blame the polls" yet not accompanied with a lot along the lines of "Nate, like a quarterback, will get too much blame if he's inaccurate and too much credit if he's accurate."


Again, the relevant process of credit/demerit for the model is not in the projection from the last week of polling. Anyone can use the last week of polling to project a winner. Literally all you have to do is look at the Ohio polls.

Silver should get credit for calling this a 60%+ election for Obama months ago. That's where he stood out from the pack.
   1440. Spahn Insane Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4292563)
RTG: At the risk of getting all poll-truthy, that demographic sample's a joke, particularly the age skew.

EDIT: "MyFoxDetroit.com." Say no more.
   1441. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4292564)
The FMWB Michigan poll has been way out of step with all other polling of that state throughout this campaign. Looking at their demographics, they seem to be completely at a loss as to how to reach voters who are not white and over fifty.

EDIT: OK, should have refreshed. Carbonated high-fructose corn syrup-containing liquids all around.
   1442. Howie Menckel Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4292565)

"Silver should get credit for calling this a 60%+ election for Obama months ago. That's where he stood out from the pack."

But 'Obama wins' is a binary issue, 100 pct or 0.

I realize you are just giving Nate Magic Odds there and not a prediction pct of vote.

But even if Nate said it would be 54-46 in June (he didn't) and Obama wins 54-46 (he won't) - even then it would be.... a correlation.
Could have been that it really was 50-50 then, but the populace changed its collective minds over time, and wound up getting to the 54-46. Would Nate deserve credit in that scenario?

Let's put it this way: If Romney wins, won't you then tell us that Nate WAS right back then, but the polls screwed up at the end, so it's their fault?

And if not, what DOES Nate have to lose in your view, should Romney win? I almost get the impression that if Obama wins, Nate gets "first to market" magic beans. But if Romney wins, hey, don't look at Nate!

   1443. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4292566)
The FMWB Michigan poll has been way out of step with all other polling of that state throughout this campaign. Looking at their demographics, they seem to be completely at a loss as to how to reach voters who are not white and over fifty.

FMWB: The Leader In Communications Technology....
   1444. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4292568)
303 Electoral votes for Obama and wins by 3 points.
   1445. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4292569)
So if Romney wins where did Nate screw up? Should he have not used polls? Should he have picked a name out of a hat? You keep harping on Nate getting off if he is wrong but stand up tells why he was wrong if Romney wins.
   1446. Johnny Temporary Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4292570)
The problem with much of the Silver criticism isn't that you can't make valid criticisms of his models and results its that much of the actual complaints being hurled in his direction. Are stupid.

For instance when silver has someone with a 70% chance of winning it doesn't mean he's winning in a landslide it means that the candidates he have up 70% are going to win 70% of the time meaning given 10 such elections he's going to be "wrong" 3 times out of 10 yet people act as if he's saying O is up 70 to 30.
Then there's the whole unskewed nonsense about adjusting the partisan composition of the polls you don't do that you are not supposed to do that you poll for partisan identification you adjust for demographics like race and sex... here most of that crap is limited to our troll JoeK.
   1447. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4292572)
FMWB could be right, but this new poll is exactly in line with their Oct 23rd measure of the race, when they also had a tie in Michigan. Since there has been little movement in the race since 10/23, it's not surprising that they found little movement Whether their results of polling the electorate, which diverge widely from the norm in Michigan, are correct is something we won't really know until Tuesday. But I don't think this poll changes the story much.

Michigan polls since Romney's convention bump:

52-46 - PPP 11/3
46-47 - FMWB 11/2
52-47 - Rasmussen 11/1
48-41 - Grove 11/1
52-46 - PPP 11/1
53-45 - PPP 10/31
48-45 - Grengariff 1029
48-42 - EPIC-MRA 10/29
47-47 - FMWB 10/23
52-43 - Angus Reid 10/20
52-46 - EPIC-MRA 10/17
52-45 - Rasmussen 10/11
   1448. Johnny Temporary Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4292575)
Here goes
O 49.5, R 49.
EC O with 288

Senate Dems 53 to 47
house Reps 229 to 206
   1449. Mefisto Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4292578)
But even if Nate said it would be 54-46 in June (he didn't) and Obama wins 54-46 (he won't) - even then it would be.... a correlation.


This seems to reflect a serious misunderstanding of what Nate's percentages mean. He's not giving voting percentage, so there's no reason to "correlate" his odds with the eventual vote. He's giving the percentage of times Obama wins a simulated election assuming the polls are right. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the percentage of the vote Obama gets.

But 'Obama wins' is a binary issue, 100 pct or 0.


A coin flip is a binary event too. We can still state the probability.
   1450. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4292580)
The problem with much of the Silver criticism isn't that you can't make valid criticisms of his models and results its that much of the actual complaints being hurled in his direction. Are stupid.


This. The same thing used to happen constantly -- and still happens sometimes -- with baseball metrics. People flip out when you say, "35-year-old slugger X is unlikely to return to HOF form after having an off season last year," and someone responds with "Are you kidding?!?!?!?!? He could totally hit 40 homers this year!" You both just said the same thing, with different shadings, but people see something like 70% and it seems like an inevitability.
   1451. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4292581)
I've updated my online public predictions spreadsheet with the predictions from ABC's morning show today (George Will, Cokie Roberts, etc).
Not everyone gives a popular vote percentage, or senate picks.

Spreadsheet here.

I don't have any final numbers for Rove or Morris, just their Senate numbers.

If anyone else finds any other online predictions, post the link in bold in this thread and I'll try to add them.
   1452. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4292584)
Let's put it this way: If Romney wins, won't you then tell us that Nate WAS right back then, but the polls screwed up at the end, so it's their fault?

And if not, what DOES Nate have to lose in your view, should Romney win? I almost get the impression that if Obama wins, Nate gets "first to market" magic beans.


If Romney wins, then any national polls that showed Romney winning the popular vote (assuming he wins that, too) are the "winners". And any swing state polls that showed him winning (assuming he wins those states) are also the "winners". And Emperor Joe and snapper are the new BTF Royal Couple, and can ask Susquehanna who gets to wear the pants and who has to wear the dress.

And if that's the case, then the losers are the national and polls that missed, and the aggregating models that relied too much on those polls (like Nate, and like every one of them AFAICT). Every last one of them will have to make (or should be making) adjustments to their models the next time around. That's what smart people do---they adjust.

If Obama wins and Nate's made the right calls, then of course he'll have his "genius" status reinforced, but in fairness, credit should also be given to the state polls that formed the biggest part of his model. And I'm sure that Nate would be the first to say this.

Of COURSE Nate's dependent on those state polls (in aggregate) being right---has anyone ever said otherwise? But RCP is dependent on the accuracy of the national polls, and Pollster is dependent on the accuracy of the polls that they aggregate. And so on. I'm not sure exactly what your point is supposed to be.


   1453. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4292585)
Seriously. I love Snapper. He's awesome in his own wacko sort of way. But that bit about new polls in MI and PA showing a tied race is literally the least intelligent thing I've seen him post in one of these threads.
   1454. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4292587)
Entering this election cycle, did anyone think Silver would turn into one of the biggest non-politician stars?

And that the election would be an acid test for probability modeling, in forecasting voting AND baseball?
   1455. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4292588)
If Romney wins, then any national polls that showed Romney winning the popular vote (assuming he wins that, too) are the "winners". And any swing state polls that showed him winning (assuming he wins those states) are also the "winners". And Emperor Joe and snapper are the new BTF Royal Couple, and can ask Susquehanna who gets to wear the pants and who has to wear the dress.

And if that's the case, then the losers are the national and polls that missed, and the aggregating models that relied too much on those polls


And the American nation.
   1456. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4292589)
But 'Obama wins' is a binary issue, 100 pct or 0.


And in this election, there are fifty states in which Obama could win. Don't get hung up on the national race; Nate's performance can be broken down much smaller than that.

But even if Nate said it would be 54-46 in June (he didn't) and Obama wins 54-46 (he won't) - even then it would be.... a correlation.
Could have been that it really was 50-50 then, but the populace changed its collective minds over time, and wound up getting to the 54-46. Would Nate deserve credit in that scenario?

Let's put it this way: If Romney wins, won't you then tell us that Nate WAS right back then, but the polls screwed up at the end, so it's their fault?


It's normally considered polite to wait until someone says something hypocritical before you call them a hypocrite.

Can I turn the question around? What would Nate have to do to be successful in your eyes?
   1457. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4292590)
I think the whole Nate brouhaha-celebrity thing is a bit of an insider thing and most voters don't know him or really much about him or his stuff. At this point he is like Bill James in the 1980's or 90's. A bunch of hard-core fans know of him, the establishment knows of him or something about him, and that is about it.
   1458. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4292591)
Can I turn the question around? What would Nate have to do to be successful in your eyes?

Bed Kate Upton.
   1459. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4292592)
what DOES Nate have to lose in your view, should Romney win?


In a sane world, people who aggregate polling data should have essentially nothing to either win or lose on election day. Everybody loves to go on about this or that person's secret sauce, but the reality is that they're all essentially just reporting aggregated data. If the aggregators are right, it means that the data was right and not much more or less than that. If the aggregators are wrong, then it means that the data was wrong. In a sane world, the people who would have something to win or lose would be the people who are ignoring or discounting data-based approaches to election analysis. If Obama wins, their claims to having specific insights that we mere mortals lack would be proven baseless, but if Romney wins, they can plausibly claim that they know things that pollsters don't.

Of course, we do not live in a sane world.
   1460. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4292593)
Can I turn the question around? What would Nate have to do to be successful in your eyes?

For some of his critics, Obama would apparently have to win with 85.1% of the vote.

The irony is that those people ragging on Nate for that 85.1% figure ignore the fact that right under that number he's projecting that Obama will win 50.1% of the popular vote to Romney's 48.3%. You'd think that a reasonably numerate person might mention that, too, but so far I've almost never seen any of his critics make reference to it.
   1461. BDC Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4292595)
I'm wary of predicting anything. Before the World Series, I posted here that on form, LCS winners in seven beat the crap out of LCS sweepers, and so the Giants would probably win in four or five. Then I said "Naah" and opined that I'd actually bet Tigers in six, the smart money having to conclude that Verlander would win two games in an otherwise close series. The smart money is on Barack Obama, but who the heck knows what will happen.

As to meta-Silver thoughts, if he's correctly interpreted the polls but the polls turn out to be drastically wrong, then he's off the hook. If the polls are right but his interpretation was off, then criticize him. If both are right, everybody's happy. This should be an easy enough operation to work through, although my math and patience aren't up to it.
   1462. tshipman Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4292596)
But even if Nate said it would be 54-46 in June (he didn't) and Obama wins 54-46 (he won't) - even then it would be.... a correlation.
Could have been that it really was 50-50 then, but the populace changed its collective minds over time, and wound up getting to the 54-46. Would Nate deserve credit in that scenario?


I think you don't really understand the way the model works.
   1463. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4292597)
Entering this election cycle, did anyone think Silver would turn into one of the biggest non-politician stars?

It is really a surprise? The media cover this thing as a horse race, and here's a smart, articulate fellow with the New York Times writing that "No, no, no. You've been calling the leaders and the trailers in the horse race all wrong." The one thing that wasn't clear to me, but is abundantly clear now is that the media covers it as a horse race because that's what we want.
   1464. Howie Menckel Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4292599)
"In a sane world, people who aggregate polling data should have essentially nothing to either win or lose on election day."

Exactly.

To clarify my 54-46 post: Nate got credit for "winning" almost every state in 2008, even the ones that were squeakers. If his model had McCain winning a state by 0.2 and actually Obama won by 0.2, that's still a pretty darn accurate model imo. But too many people would say he lost that one.

To me, how close his model comes to the actual vote is more important than who won the state. If he had Obama by 4 in Ohio and he only won by 0.5 pct, that doesn't seem impressive to me at all.

I would say that for Nate to be successful, his analysis will come close in nearly all the swing states - or at least come closer than most.

If Romney wins due to winning Ohio and Nate's model does well everywhere else, I would say that supports Nate's model very well even though he had the wrong winner overall. It would just be a matter of a systemic polling problem in that state.

I think there are scenarios where Obama does win the election but Nate's accuracy should be seriously questioned looking ahead. Is that a fair statement?

   1465. spike Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4292600)
Well the GOPundits and off the record campaign aides are already throwing in the towel and blaming it on Sandy.
   1466. BDC Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4292602)
To take a longer view, Nate has been in trouble ever since predicting a Democratic landslide in 1896.
   1467. spike Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4292603)
Entering this election cycle, did anyone think Silver would turn into one of the biggest non-politician stars?

A significant portion of that is due to the right-wing complaint machine firing up when their narrative is attacked, so if you felt like Obama had a pretty good chance this cycle, it was inevitable that he would be attacked regularly and often enough to raise his profile significantly. In that sense, sure, I thought he was going to become a very high profile target, and as such would garner more celebrity regardless, and should he prove as accurate as last time, some (well deserved) enduring national status.
   1468. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4292605)
“If you hadn’t had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the [Mitt] Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy


In other words the storm has halted Romney's ability to lie to and mislead voters, meaning more focus will be on his completely unworkable tax plan and other crappy positions.
   1469. DA Baracus Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4292606)
Ugh, a SuperPAC ad just aired. If you haven't decided who you are voting for by now, you're the biggest idiot ever.
   1470. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4292607)
I'm going to go ahead and be optimistic that people in my state will end up leaning Obama in the end. Obama 332, Romney 206 (Obama winning every swing state except North Carolina). 50.1% - 48.8% in the popular vote.
   1471. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4292611)
“If you hadn’t had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the [Mitt] Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy
IOW, as long as the GOP got to decide the battlefield, it would do OK - but if real life rudely intrudes, not so much. Same as with '08 and the GOP blaming the economic meltdown.
   1472. villageidiom Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4292612)
From the link in 1465:
“Obama has temporarily been a bipartisan figure this week. He has been the comforter-in-chief and that helps,” Rove said. The storm, he told the Post, was “the October surprise. For once, the October surprise was a real surprise.”

ROVE: PAST OCTOBER SURPRISES WERE FAKED
   1473. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4292614)
One random discovery I made while looking up the 2010 Nevada Senate race: The Nevada state polls seriously underrated the Latino vote, which is why they were projecting the Tea Party candidate (Angle) as a winner over Harry Reid, who wound up winning by a comfortable margin. I doubt if they'll make that mistake again.
   1474. bunyon Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4292617)
Over/under on posts as of 12am Wednesday:

I'll start at 4242.
   1475. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4292618)
To be taken with a grain of salt, but still worth reading:

Obama Campaign: We've Contacted One Out Of Every 2.5 People In The Country

...."If the Obama campaign spent half the time trying to get people back to work as they do spinning reporters on why they’re going to win this election, the unemployment rate might not have gone up," said Rich Beeson, the Romney campaign's political director. "That said, it doesn’t matter how many offices you have, staff you hire, or ground game plans you have -– you need a candidate who can tell the American people why things will be better, not worse, after four years of their leadership."

That may not be completely true. The apparatus that each campaign uses to bring out voters in the next 72 hours seems likely to determine the election. And the Obama campaign does seem well positioned. In Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Nevada, the president's aides claim to have brought out 1.4 million voters who didn't cast ballots during the midterm elections compared with 840,000 non-midterm Republican voters. These "sporadic" voters are vital to erasing the supposed-enthusiasm gap that Obama has suffered in the polls.

In addition, this weekend, the president's campaign is deploying an army of volunteers to help ensure that as many supporters as possible cast votes. Campaign manager Jim Messina said there would be 5,100 Get Out The Vote stations in battleground states operational on Tuesday. In addition, the campaign has commitments from 700,000 volunteers to do GOTV shifts before the election.

"Unlike campaigns of the past, our volunteers are not driving to some large office miles from their homes and handed a phone and a call sheet," the memo concludes. "Instead, Canvass Captains, Phone Bank Captains and scores of local volunteers will be knocking on the doors of the very voters they registered, have been talking to for months and know personally. And they will be directing them to polling locations in their communities – the schools their kids go to, the places of worship they attend each week and community centers they know well."
   1476. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4292619)
8,000
   1477. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4292620)
Instead, Canvass Captains, Phone Bank Captains and scores of local volunteers will be knocking on the doors of the very voters they registered, have been talking to for months and know personally.


That sounds awful. It's bad enough being bothered by campaigns right around the election, but to be confronted with it for months by people who are trying to fake a personal connection just so they can get you to vote?
   1478. DA Baracus Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4292621)
That sounds awful. It's bad enough being bothered by campaigns right around the election, but to be confronted with it for months by people who are trying to fake a personal connection just so they can get you to vote?


If they are coming to your door it's because you let them take you very step of the way. So to complain about it would be hypocritical.
   1479. Mefisto Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4292622)
RTG, here's Ari Fleischer's "prediction" in case you don't have it:

"Prediction Time: 1) The election won't end Tuesday night. 7 states will b decided by 1 pt or less. (VA, OH, CO, IA, PA, WI, NH)"
   1480. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4292623)
Just noticed Florida isn't on Fleischer's list.
   1481. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4292624)
As I understand it, Nate is essentially saying that there's a 15% chance that the polls are so biased in Obama's favor that Romney will win. Nate is saying that that is basically Romney's only path to victory (given that the time for October Surprises or the like has passed).

The problem is that there's no way to grade Nate, whether the number is 15% or 25% or 35%. You know, it's possible that what Nate is claiming he can do do can't be done to any reasonable degree.
   1482. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4292625)
It's bad enough being bothered by campaigns right around the election, but to be confronted with it for months by people who are trying to fake a personal connection just so they can get you to vote?

If you're talking about saturation contacting via telephone, e-mail and junk mail, which happens even in non-swing states like Maryland, the answer is easy: Screen the calls, delete the e-mails, and throw away the junk mail. And if someone knocks on your door, if you're not interested just tell them you're not interested. Same thing you do to the Girl Scout cookie crew and the roving roof repairmen, and on Wednesday they'll let you alone for another 2 or 4 years.

But if you're one of the truly targeted voters, you may not have voted already. And if you're new to your area you may not even know where the polling place is, or you may not even know about early voting. Not everybody follows the election with equal interest, but everyone still gets one vote, and the more people who vote, the better.
   1483. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4292626)
1479: Argh. That doesn't give me a number. That's pretty wishy-washy on his part.
   1484. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4292627)
The problem is that there's no way to grade Nate, whether the number is 15% or 25% or 35%. You know, it's possible that what Nate is claiming he can do do can't be done to any reasonable degree.
There's obviously a problem with explaining what's in a black box, but Nate has explained his method on this in broad strokes - he has looked at all the polls of presidential elections since 1968, and calculated how often the polls have missed the outcome to various extents. He estimates the chance of polling error based on the known history of polling error.

Obviously the problem here is that the electorate has changed, polling methods have changed, the data set is still pretty limited, etc. And as I said, I don't know what's in the black box, so I don't know if Silver has implemented this method well or poorly. But the criticism should address the method that he's articulated. He has a plausible theory for how to estimate the chance of polling error.
   1485. bobm Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4292628)
If the polls do turn out to be wrong enough for Romney to win, issues like non-response bias due to (a) over-polling or poll saturation in ever-fewer swing states rendering historical data less useful or (b) the role of evangelical voters may come to be seen as having played a big role.

www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/sunday-review/the-vanishing-electoral-battleground.html

IN the razor-thin 1960 presidential election, John F. Kennedy campaigned in 49 states. Richard M. Nixon visited all 50.

The current contest is just as close and intense, but the candidates have campaigned in only 10 states since the political conventions. There are towns in Ohio that have received more attention than the entire West Coast. ...

Some of the people who live in the nation’s spectator states return the favor by staying home from the polls. In 2008, voter turnout in the 15 states that received the bulk of the candidates’ attention was 67 percent. In the remaining 35 states, it was six points lower.

That disparity increases the chances that one candidate will prevail in the Electoral College while another wins the popular vote. Polling experts believe Mitt Romney has a greater chance than President Obama of being on the losing end of that combination, by running up large margins in states dominated by Republican voters while losing most of the competitive ones.

Rob Richie, the executive director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, said the new political landscape would be unrecognizable to a voter a few decades ago. “Back in ’76,” he said, “10 of the 11 biggest states were swing states.”

Indeed, in the extremely close 1960 and 1976 presidential elections, there were more than 30 contested states, including California, Illinois, New York and Texas.

The 2004 election, in which President George W. Bush gained a second term, was about as close as the one in 1976, which Jimmy Carter won. Both candidates prevailed in the overall vote by about two percentage points. In 1976, though, 20 states were won or lost by a margin of less than five percentage points. In 2004, only 11 states were within that margin.

In the current election, the battleground has grown almost comically small. Just three states — Florida, Ohio and Virginia — have accounted for almost two-thirds of the recent campaign appearances by the presidential candidates and their running mates. The three are home to an eighth of the nation’s people.

Four years ago, the presidential candidates and their supporters bought television advertising in about 100 of the 210 media markets, said Elizabeth Wilner of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. This year, she said, “the battlefield has shrunk by one-third to one-half.”


www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/us/politics/in-ohio-2-campaigns-offer-a-study-in-contrasts.html

In Cincinnati, the signs of the showdown are everywhere — not just from the campaigns, but also from a vast array of groups that have descended, knocking on the doors of residents so exhausted by all the knocks that one resident warded off more by posting an announcement on her front door that she had voted early and was, thank you very much, done.

The fight is bitter, with reports of yard signs stolen, run over and even set afire, political phone calls so endless that at least one man was answering his home telephone by barking “Romney” rather than hello, and tales of front-door confrontations ending in curse words or worse.

“There’s nothing coming in this house that has the word ‘Obama’ on it,” one man told Liz Ping, an Obama volunteer, when she appeared at a doorstep. After the two disagreed over who ought to be blamed for the nation’s debt, Ms. Ping, who is 61 and retired, was chased from the porch and down the driveway, she recalled.

“We’re the tip of the spear,” she said.

One rejected Romney door knocker said, “I just tell them, ‘You can run me out of here, but somebody will be back next week unless you vote.’ ” ...

It is the most expensive and technically sophisticated campaign in American history. But in the end, after months of work, after hundreds of hours of commercials and hundreds of thousands of front-porch visits and millions of telephone calls — after focus groups, fliers, yard signs and rallies — Shelley and Dennis Russell are unmoved.

Days before the polls open they are still undecideds, targets in the cross hairs of a yearlong political cannonade who somehow, miraculously have yet to be persuaded by either side.

Yet on closer inspection, it is no miracle. To the contrary, they personify the angst that defines the dying days of this especially bitter contest, an emotion that the campaigns have longed to capitalize on, but have never captured.

The Russells live with their three children in a white clapboard house in Blue Ash, in middle-class east Cincinnati. She is a payroll supervisor; he works for a towing company. Their oldest son, 18, heads to boot camp next February because military service will pay for a college education that his family cannot afford.

Their pay is steady, but even low inflation has eaten away their income. They wonder openly whether the system is broken. They say they doubt either candidate can fix it.

Mr. Obama, they say, is honest and has good ideas, but no spine to carry them out. “Obama says he’s going to put more out for education,” said Mr. Russell, who wants to improve his skills but lacks money for more schooling. “But like his medical plan, I highly doubt that what comes out the other end is going to be what went in.

“If you’re willing as a leader to say, I’ll get 100 percent — oh, I’ll take 60 — you’re not accomplishing what you set out to do. Do you really believe he’s going to do it in next four years?”

Mr. Romney might run the country better, they say, but he is clueless about the average person’s needs. Witness, Ms. Russell said, his comments about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no taxes or depend on government handouts. “Me personally, I’ve never been on public assistance,” she said. “But I definitely have friends who are single mothers who could not go to work without it.

“To me, it shows he’s in a different wage bracket than the rest of us,” she said.

Mr. Russell scoffed at Mr. Romney’s suggestion that children should borrow from their parents to pay college tuition instead of seeking government loans. It is a notion, he said, that only someone with wealthy parents would propose.

Then again, Ms. Russell said: “I don’t know that that will make him worse than Obama — that he can do enough good that it will trickle down to us.”

The Russells concede that their indecision is not for lack of information. Like virtually every family in Ohio, they have watched the debates, talked with friends and read the material hung on their doorknobs, although they have drawn the line at listening to robo-calls. In short, they have been drenched by a fire hose of creative persuasion of the quality and volume that only two billion-dollar campaigns could muster.

Still, Ms. Russell mused, it is not altogether clear what this monumental ground game has added up to.

“I think this is one of those races that could go either way,” she said. “They both have enough money backing them.

“If they’d put some of that money to work instead, it’d be amazing.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/us/politics/beck-acts-as-a-bridge-between-romney-and-evangelical-christians.html

Mostly Mr. [Glenn] Beck has helped Mr. Romney by directly addressing his devout Mormon faith, something the candidate himself rarely does. “I believe Mr. Romney prays on his knees every day,” Mr. Beck said recently on his radio program. “I believe he is being guided.” He has also said that a Romney victory would be “a sign from God.”

Mr. Romney already enjoys a commanding lead among white evangelical Protestant voters — 76 percent to 17 percent for President Obama, according to a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey released on Monday, and 54 percent to Mr. Obama’s 39 percent among Protestant voters. Influential Christian leaders including the Rev. Billy Graham and Ralph Reed have endorsed Mr. Romney.

But deep-rooted tensions between Mormons and evangelical Christians persist, and could affect the turnout on Tuesday, several evangelical leaders said.

“Romney has staked out issues that are aligned with evangelicals,” said Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the conservative nonprofit American Family Association. But, he added, Mr. Romney’s faith may ultimately present a problem in the voting booth. “It’s still an issue for some evangelicals and may influence their voting decision on Nov. 6,” he said. “There are a number of evangelicals who will not vote for someone who doesn’t adhere to orthodox Christianity.”


One other opinion piece from the Nov 1 WSJ:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203707604578090962267200892.html

When Mitt Romney's 2012 candidacy was gaining traction in the primaries, the conventional wisdom instantly conveyed that the evangelical vote, skeptical of Mormonism, would sink him.

What if in Ohio next week the opposite is true? There and in other swing states—Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida—the evangelical vote is flying beneath the media's radar. It's a lot of voters not to notice. In the 2008 presidential vote, they were 30% of the vote in Ohio, 31% in Iowa and 26% in Wisconsin.

Back in April, the policy director of the Southern Baptist Convention, Richard Land, predicted that evangelicals in time would coalesce behind Mitt Romney. Yesterday he endorsed Mr. Romney, the first time he has done so for any presidential candidate.

Ralph Reed, the president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, has been spending a lot of time in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the belief that evangelical support for Mr. Romney could be decisive. He notes that when George W. Bush won Ohio in 2004, the Kerry camp thought their dominance of Democratic Cuyahoga County around Cleveland had the state locked up. But Mr. Bush's solid support in evangelical-dominated counties from Cincinnati to the West Virginia border carried Ohio by two percentage points. ...

Mr. Reed notes that in several opinion polls—NBC, Pew and ABC—the percentage of evangelicals claiming to support Mr. Romney has been in the mid-70s. "We estimate that in 2008 there were 350,000 evangelicals who didn't vote in Ohio," Mr. Reed says. "Obama carried the state by 260,000." If that support of 70% or more holds for Mr. Romney in Ohio, and if the share of the evangelical vote increases by a point or two, then the challenger could carry the Buckeye State. ...

Four years ago, evangelicals mainly supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. When John McCain became the nominee, he and the evangelical community never connected, and many evangelicals stayed home. This time they are in motion. ...

[The president of Ohio Christian University, Mark A.] Smith says that if evangelicals in Ohio's rural communities repeat their turnout levels from 2000 and 2004, they will offset the Obama advantage in Cuyahoga County. "Six different faith groups are out there" for Romney in Ohio, he says. "That didn't happen the last time."

Mr. Smith and others I spoke to this week cited one more reason for their enthusiasm: Paul Ryan. Steve Scheffler, a longtime GOP activist in Iowa, says it was "the best possible choice" Mr. Romney could make for the ticket. "It galvanized evangelicals."
   1486. Tilden Katz Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4292630)
Remember how the only Senate candidate Romney cut a commercial for was Richard Mourdock? He now has one for Rick Berg, a man who voted for a bill allowing for women to be jailed for life for getting abortions. North Dakota does not have the death penalty, so we don't get to know if Berg thinks they should be executed.
   1487. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4292631)
The problem with Nate saying after a Romney win that, "Shrug, the polls were biased" is that the proper response to that is "No effing sh^t; maybe the fact that the polls can be biased to this degree should clue you in to the fact that this can't be done."

I look at what Nate's doing as similar to James's Favorite Toy, or whatever James's system was for projecting careers out (Brock2?). A fun tool for sh^ts and giggles. Not something to base any serious argument on, as people are doing here.
   1488. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4292632)
1479: Argh. That doesn't give me a number. That's pretty wishy-washy on his part.
You can extrapolate if you want. These are the Pollster polling averages in each of the states Fleischer predicted:

CO: O 48 - R 48
IA: O 49 - R 46
NH: O 49 - R 47
OH: O 49 - R 46
PA: O 50 - R 45
VA: O 48 - R 47
WI: O 50 - R 46

In the aggregate, Fleischer thinks the swing state polls are overestimating Obama's support by 2.5 points. Or, since he thinks that the polling error is concentrated in a set of demographically similar states, he thinks that Rust Belt polls are overestimating Obama's support by 4 points.

Or, he's just a guy making a possibly correct, highly specific, entirely innumerate prediction in the hopes that he hits the jackpot on Tuesday. There's no downside - if I were a pundit and lacked ethics, I'd predict something broadly plausible and highly specific like that.
   1489. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4292633)
The problem is that there's no way to grade Nate, whether the number is 15% or 25% or 35%. You know, it's possible that what Nate is claiming he can do do can't be done to any reasonable degree.

If you want to "grade" Nate's overall performance you'd have to find a large sampling of his projections that he assigns an 85-15 split to, and see if his "favorite" wins 85% of the time. But obviously within that 85% there'll be cases where the winner overperforms and underperforms his projected percentage of the PV and/or EV, which are the two numbers that don't seem to be often mentioned compared to that gaudy 85% figure.
   1490. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4292634)
The problem with Nate saying after a Romney win that, "Shrug, the polls were biased" is that the proper response to that is "No effing sh^t; maybe the fact that the polls can be biased to this degree should clue you in to the fact that this can't be done."

You mean sort of like "It's over. It's always been over." Let us know the next time you rag on coolstandings.com.
   1491. tshipman Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4292636)
The problem is that there's no way to grade Nate, whether the number is 15% or 25% or 35%. You know, it's possible that what Nate is claiming he can do do can't be done to any reasonable degree.


I think you can grade the Senate/House seats pretty well.

In addition, Nate's really good for primaries.
   1492. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4292639)
The fight is bitter, with reports of yard signs stolen, run over and even set afire,


Sounds like a Dodgers-Giants game in Candlestick I went to in 1971, where souvenir pennants were being set on fire by Dodgers fans in front of groups of Giants fans, and vice versa. And yes, the cops had to be called in to break up several spectator brawls.
   1493. Mefisto Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4292640)
1479: Argh. That doesn't give me a number. That's pretty wishy-washy on his part.


Yeah, hence my scare quotes around the word "prediction". Still, I figured you could make something of it. Remember, you don't fill out a spread sheet with the predictions you wish you had, but with the predictions you actually have. Or something like that.
   1494. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4292643)
Seriously. I love Snapper. He's awesome in his own wacko sort of way. But that bit about new polls in MI and PA showing a tied race is literally the least intelligent thing I've seen him post in one of these threads.

I'm just citing a fact. There are two new polls at RCP showing exactly that; actually R+1 in MI, but that's rounding. I'm not saying those polls are right, but they might be.

Nobody knows who is going to show up on Tues., and nobody knows if the people who answered the polls reflect or don't reflect the actual electorate.

With a race this close, any prediction is literally a guess.
   1495. Shredder Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4292644)
Ugh, a SuperPAC ad just aired. If you haven't decided who you are voting for by now, you're the biggest idiot ever.
Josh Marshall had an interesting take on this. I've been in California for the last 10 days tending to a sick parent, and I can't zip past commercials or change the channel at the hospital, so I've seen a TON of political ads, mostly for different initiatives. But I have seen some anti-Obama ads that made me wonder "why are they spending in California"? A couple theories:

1) They're trying to run up the popular vote so they can claim Obama is illegitimate if he wins the EC and loses the popular. Though I agree with many others who think that Republicans will declare Obama illegitimate either way, just as they've been doing for the last four years.

2) They have a lot of money, and they need to spend it. There's only so much air time in swing states. And when Sheldon Adelson has already cut you a huge check, better to spend that money than it is to go back to Adelson and say "sorry we lost, and oh, we also have $3MM of the cash you gave us sitting in the bank account".

3) But mostly they're just grifters.
The folks who run these PACs and Committees have consultants who place the ads, they have houses who make the ads. It’s all a pretty open secret that these things work very incestuously and by hook or by crook the folks running running these organizations get a big big taste of the action themselves. So you may be wondering if that Romney SuperPAC ad running non-stop in Chicago and Dallas isn’t money going to waste. But I guarantee you that the commissions being made off that spending amount to blindingly large bonanzas for the people actually running these outfits.
   1496. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4292647)
In addition, Nate's really good for primaries.
Yeah, this is where he's seemed to add value - precisely because polls of primaries kind of suck. So Silver can model the primaries using other data, and my recollection is that his record is quite good beating the polls when they disagree with demographic / fundraising / other non-polling data.

In the presidential election, Silver is really just following the polls and spitting out results highly similar to everyone else's. He, like everyone else, is working off the broad consensus in quantitative political science about the relative accuracy of aggregated public opinion polls. The real work, if the polling consensus is off, will be among the actual practitioners of polling and quantitative political science to figure out what went wrong.

This means Silver isn't really all that important. He happens to be the best writer among the various poll aggregators and election modelers, and he happens to have the largest platform, but he isn't doing anything on the quantitative side in this election that should make us more confident in his numbers than others. His value is provided in his writing. I like his writing.
   1497. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4292652)
3) But mostly they're just grifters.
...
It’s all a pretty open secret that these things work very incestuously and by hook or by crook the folks running running these organizations get a big big taste of the action themselves.
This. I like the term "wingnut welfare."

If the SuperPAC people really are interested in seeing if they were getting the biggest bang for their Citizens United buck, they'd hire a guy like Nate to investigate the ROI.
   1498. tshipman Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4292653)
With a race this close, any prediction is literally a guess.


This is not true. And the race really isn't all that close. It's only close if you avoid/discredit large amounts of data.
   1499. McCoy Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4292655)
Fortunately for the Chicago and Tennessee area fox has run out of commercials to air. 28 to 2 and it is still the first quarter. They haven't run a commercial in fifteen minutes
   1500. Steve Treder Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4292656)
With a race this close, any prediction is literally a guess.


This is not true. And the race really isn't all that close. It's only close if you avoid/discredit large amounts of data.

Correct.
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