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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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   6901. Lassus Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM (#4299903)
(much the same way someone uses the phrase "Repugnicants")

I'll thank you not to disparage the canine companion of the first Emperor of China in such a manner.
   6902. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:27 AM (#4299905)
   6903. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:31 AM (#4299908)
Actually, they were the same "ridiculous" comments of why liberal secularists and statists invoke a minority in the self-serving pursuit to redefine human and societal institutions and to enforce their new laws against competing influences of public morality (family, churches).


The "statists" line means that it can't be Joey B. It must be Szymborski!

Well, Dan is truly a man of a thousand handles, but I've never noticed he was any particular fan of public morality.

But you're right, if it were Joey B he would have worked in at least one red diaper baby in there somewhere. And snapper's too straightforward to pull a stunt like that, even though the similarities of targets are there.

If I had to venture a guess, I'd go with SugarBear. After those farces involving "patronization" and how Krauthammer should be fired for using the word "dark" in reference to Obama's TV ads, I can see why he might want to go the Bobby Valentine route. He was really on a roll there for a while, but unfortunately he wound up rolling right off of a cliff.
   6904. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4299910)
Had he been telling me that Romney was in the driver's seat, I would have gone into Tuesday thinking that Romney was probably going to win.


I think a big difference between the campaigns, from what we've heard about the delusion running rampant through Romney's, is that if the polls (and by extension, Silver) were saying that Obama was behind then his campaign would have responded with "What can we do to turn this around and get ahead?" Instead the Romney campaign's response was apparently something like "The polls must be skewed, we need to change them to account for it!"

You are a typical politician who implies something without really saying it, but when gets called on it, says I really didn't say that.


This is by far the most succinct and accurate description of Joe's behavior I've seen, that's precisely what he does. He says things that obviously imply certain negative things but stop short of actually saying them so that when he's called out he can always claim "I didn't say that!" He didn't, it's true, but everyone knows damn well that's what he meant despite him trying to avoid having his name actually attached to it. It's intellectually dishonest and a big part of why he gets so much more crap here than even people like Snapper, Ray, and SBB. They at least generally say what they mean, regardless of how ridiculousness many of us think their views are on some things.
   6905. Steve Treder Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4299915)
This is by far the most succinct and accurate description of Joe's behavior I've seen, that's precisely what he does. He says things that obviously imply certain negative things but stop short of actually saying them so that when he's called out he can always claim "I didn't say that!" He didn't, it's true, but everyone knows damn well that's what he meant despite him trying to avoid having his name actually attached to it. It's intellectually dishonest

I've said it more than once, but it bears repeating: this was exactly RossCW's schtick. It's beyond tiresome.
   6906. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:53 AM (#4299916)
Nate Silver has done a poll recap

Highlights:

Polls overall tended to be biased in favor of Romney! Some of the top performers were internet polls and Gallup, the biggest name in polling, was easily the worst of this election.
   6907. esseff Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:17 AM (#4299923)
Yes, Gallup has some splaining to do. Its daily tracking poll consistently ran Romney 4 to 7 points ahead for a couple of weeks before it shut down after Sandy because, it said, reliable sampling couldn't be done. Then, the day before the election, Gallup resurfaced with Romney by 1 -- suggesting 3 million to 4 million people had quickly changed their minds in the intervening five or six days. And, at that, they still missed by a number exceeding their MoE.
   6908. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:38 AM (#4299927)
is joe biden running for president in 2016 even potentially a real thing?
   6909. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:46 AM (#4299932)
@6907: has ownership of Gallup changed in the last decade? At one point they were the go-to pollster. Now they're just another member of the second-tier pack.

Matthew Iglesias does his usual solid job with The GOPs Hispanic Nightmare:

Pundits are quickly turning to immigration to explain the Republicans’ Latino problem and to offer a possible cure, but the reality is that the rot cuts much deeper. The GOP doesn’t have a problem with Latino voters per se. Rather, it has a problem with a broad spectrum of voters who simply don’t feel that it’s speaking to their economic concerns. The GOP has an economic agenda tilted strongly to the benefit of elites, and it has preserved support for that agenda—even though it disserves the majority of GOP voters—with implicit racial politics.

Consider the GOP’s deeply racialized campaign against Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. What was so surprising about this—and I know I’m not the only fair-skinned English-dominant person with a Spanish surname who was genuinely shocked—was that conservatives could have easily opposed her purely on policy grounds. Sotamayor is a fairly conventional Democrat on constitutional issues, and that would have been ample reason for conservatives to criticize her.

Indeed, Justice Elena Kagan was attacked on precisely those grounds. But rather than tempering opposition with at least some recognition that Sotomayor’s life story might be a great example for immigrant parents trying to raise children in difficult circumstances, the country was treated to a mass racial panic in which Anglo America was about to be stomped by the boot of Sotomayor’s ethnic prejudice. The graduate of Princeton and Yale Law, former prosecutor, and longtime federal judge was somehow not just too liberal for conservatives’ taste but a “lightweight” who’d been coasting her whole life on the enormous privilege of growing up poor in the South Bronx.


The racial slant of the right's attack on Sotomayor is part of why I don't think the GOP will readily change course any time soon on immigration. It's not posturing for gain, but rather is ingrained, and ingrained deeply.



@6908: Doris, I imagine any member of the Biden household that would otherwise have Joe constantly underfoot, not running for or in office for the first time in 40 years, would be vigorously encouraging a run.

He's no dummy, though. I can't imagine any feelers he'd put out would tell him anything other than his support will be extremely limited. He has no real base that I know of. He's well liked, but whose first choice would he be in 2016?

I suppose some of it might depend on things like, does he have a pet issue that a run would help him publicize? The man has an ego, certainly. I can sorta see him knowing he has no shot, but staying in for a while for a variety of reasons before bowing out gracefully after the fifth Iowa poll three months before the caucus showed him running a distant fourth. He has an ego, but he also has pride. I can't see him making any kind of run that would leave him looking foolish. How much having a son in politics affects what he'll do, I have no idea.

   6910. esseff Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:58 AM (#4299934)
I guess I'd be chastised if I referred to Mrs. Clinton as the 500-pound gorilla in the 2016 discussion?
   6911. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:07 AM (#4299935)
is joe biden running for president in 2016 even potentially a real thing?
He ran for President in 2008. I can't see why he wouldn't even try to get the nomination in 2012.
   6912. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:13 AM (#4299936)
@ 6910: She's dropped a few?

Yeah, that was the consensus some hundreds of posts back. There was also an awareness that it's often the case that people come out of relative obscurity to make a run, though those folks sometimes have a signature moment as a highlight, like Obama's speech at the 2004 convention. And didn't Clinton give the Dems opening night speech at the '88 convention (but wasn't it considered long and dull)?

Chris Cilliza lists the usual suspects:
Clinton, Biden, Cuomo, Martin O'Malley (Maryland Gov and prez of the natl dem govs association) Kristen Gillebrand, as Hillary lite, Elizabeth Warren, who can raise money like nobody's business, and Amy Klobuchar, who is the blandest person I've ever seen speak.

Back in 2008 I remember the NYT quoting someone or other to the effect that 'no woman with Obama's resume could have run', that the lack of gravitas many voters impute to women would be all the more difficult to overcome in the absence of a long resume. If true, that might rule out all the women in Cilliza's list except for Clinton.

Damned if I know, though.

@6911: Isn't Dan Quayle an example of a veep who knew the jig was up before the campaign got serious? For different reasons, obviously, but nonetheless he didn't make any kind of real run. Claimed phlebitis or something in '96, and dropped out before Iowa in 2000, never to be heard from again. (I just look up the 2000 race. Quayle polled *8th* in August 1999 for Iowa and skulked away. Pretty sad for a former VP. He should have come back this year--he might have had a shot at it.) Biden never did get more than a couple percent in Iowa. Remember this gem?

"I've had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."
   6913. esseff Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:35 AM (#4299939)
Biden would also have to hope that there aren't still many like me around who remember his recycling of Bobby Kennedy speeches when he was running a quarter-century ago.
   6914. tshipman Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:41 AM (#4299940)
Polls overall tended to be biased in favor of Romney! Some of the top performers were internet polls and Gallup, the biggest name in polling, was easily the worst of this election.


Remember when The Yankee Clapper and Kehoskie referred to Rasmussen as a "respected" pollster and PPP as garbage?

That was a fun exchange.
   6915. thok Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:42 AM (#4299941)
He ran for President in 2008. I can't see why he wouldn't even try to get the nomination in 2012.


Age. He'll be 74 in 2016, as opposed to 66 in 2008. If elected, he'd be the oldest president at election by about 5 years.
   6916. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 11, 2012 at 06:36 AM (#4299948)
Nate Silver:
Our method of evaluating pollsters has typically involved looking at all the polls that a firm conducted over the final three weeks of the campaign, rather than its very last poll alone. The reason for this is that some polling firms may engage in “herding” toward the end of the campaign, changing their methods and assumptions such that their results are more in line with those of other polling firms.

I love the measured and subdued way Silver slides the knife into the ribs. There's another way to say that last sentence, and everybody knows what it is, but he doesn't say it.

I also love that this is the first topic Silver gets to cover under the new, heightened attention being paid to his work. Not that it will ever stop partisans from sifting the polls in search of the most encouraging result for their side, but maybe it'll nudge the media's coverage of the next supposedly "razor-thin race."
   6917. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 11, 2012 at 06:57 AM (#4299949)
i wonder if pollsters are going to try and use social media to connect with voters. reaching folks via phone is becomin far too difficult
   6918. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4299952)
Polls overall tended to be biased in favor of Romney! Some of the top performers were internet polls and Gallup, the biggest name in polling, was easily the worst of this election.

The three worst were Gallup, with an incredible +7.2 Romney bias; American Research Group, +4.2 Romney bias; and Rasmussen, with a +3.7 Romney bias. What makes Gallup's results even worse is that IIRC there were points during the campaign where their numbers showed Obama with a bigger lead than just about every other poll. I guess you might call Gallup the 2012 A-Rod of pollsters: Big name with not much to show for it.
   6919. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 11, 2012 at 08:21 AM (#4299953)

Republican Cecil Ash Proposes "White People" Holiday

I wonder... could this be some small part of the reason the GOP has trouble with those brown folks?

Already known as the state that refused to recognize Martin Luther King Day, drafted the notorious SB 1070 immigration law and banned ethnic studies in its schools, Arizona again finds itself in the news.

State Rep. Cecil Ash, sensing that whites will soon be a minority says he is in favor of creating a day where white people are celebrated, similar to how blacks and Hispanics are recognized on various "heritage" days.

Ash made his feelings known after Democrats in the state proposed a Latino American day.

“I’m supportive of this proposition," he says. "I just want them to assure me that when we do become in the minority you’ll have a day for us.”



Hey, is this that small government thing at work?

Republican-led Bill Bans Use of Welfare Funds at Strip Clubs

Rep. Charles Boustany, (R-LA), who introduced the bill, said the measure would be a way to prevent wasteful spending and reports of “fraudulent misuse of funds” under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF), which provides grants for welfare systems to states, The Hill reported.

Although the same measure was presented before the House before, Republicans would like to attach the ban, also coined as the “strip-club loophole,” to broader payroll tax cut legislation, which has been in negotiations.

"We have an obligation to root out any kind of fraud and abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars," bill sponsor Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) told The Huffington Post. "At a time you want to insure that every federal program we have has proper integrity and the money is actually getting to needy families, to needy children, this is something we need to act upon."
   6920. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2012 at 08:36 AM (#4299954)
There are also rumblings about requiring that recipients of public assistance be tested for illegal drug use.
   6921. thok Posted: November 11, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4299955)
State Rep. Cecil Ash, sensing that whites will soon be a minority says he is in favor of creating a day where white people are celebrated, similar to how blacks and Hispanics are recognized on various "heritage" days.


Isn't this just Columbus Day?
   6922. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 11, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4299969)

The racial slant of the right's attack on Sotomayor is part of why I don't think the GOP will readily change course any time soon on immigration. It's not posturing for gain, but rather is ingrained, and ingrained deeply.



The problem with this critique is that the GOP's argument against Sotomayor was true. Sotomayor was given a boost every step along the way because of affirmative action, and was given a job that a white male of equal talents wouldn't have gotten. To call that a racist attack is to say that disagreement with affirmative action is racist. Which is an misleading way to frame an issue in your favor, because I think its entirely reasonable (if arguable) to say that affirmative action is destructive without making a "racist" argument, either of the implicit or explicit variety. In the same way that saying that GWB shouldn't have been President b/c he was trading on his family's name isn't an anti-white argument.
   6923. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 11, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4299970)
I've seen this graphic bouncing around about Gary Johnson and his "scam".


"Okay guys, we have this $900 to spend on one ad. Let's raise a bunch of money to hire consultants and staff and make this one ad as effective as possible!"
   6924. Lassus Posted: November 11, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4299971)
Sotomayor was given a boost every step along the way because of affirmative action, and was given a job that a white male of equal talents wouldn't have gotten.

Every step. You're going with this as an unassailable fact? Every step? Even leaving the "wouldn't have gotten" omniscient narrator alone, counting every last step along Sotomayer's career as due to racial preference and leaving out any bit of merit in there sounds very subjectively ranty, and frankly rather difficult to take seriously.
   6925. spike Posted: November 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4299979)
Remember when The Yankee Clapper and Kehoskie referred to Rasmussen as a "respected" pollster and PPP as garbage?

"Pretty Pathetic Polling", as I seem to recall.

//19 of 23 polling firms had a Republican bias, including PPP. Can't wait to hear about that liberal media and their skewed polling some more.

   6926. Mefisto Posted: November 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4299980)
The problem with this critique is that the GOP's argument against Sotomayor was true. Sotomayor was given a boost every step along the way because of affirmative action, and was given a job that a white male of equal talents wouldn't have gotten. To call that a racist attack is to say that disagreement with affirmative action is racist.


I hate to break this to you, but it is a racist attack. Taking your claim as true for the sake of argument, the mere fact that Sotomayor got a "boost" due to affirmative action does NOT mean she was underqualified. She might have been perfectly qualified, but the school (say) idenified her as AA for its own purposes. The fact that you equate AA with "unqualified" is precisely a racist assumption.

That's leaving aside the fact that (1) formal qualification schemes are mostly crap, so Sotomayor's true merits might have been just as important, if not more so, as the formal requirements; and (2) being a recipient of AA in college isn't particularly relevant to someone 30 years later.
   6927. GregD Posted: November 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4299981)
The strange part about the Sotomayor critique is that it has no connection to the actual Supreme Court composition. Most justices, then and now, are not Holmes or Brandeis or Frankfurter, towering intellectual figures before they get on the court. Let's assume it's too hard to speak clearly about the Clinton/Bush 2/Obama picks and start before them.

No one in the world though Souter or Kennedy were transcendent intellectual figures and they won were perfectly standard Justices. Scalia was thought a big intellectual figure at the time. O'Connor and Stephens were also totally regular picks, good judges and lawyers from the provinces. Rehnquist was a politico. Powell, Blackmon, Berger. Not a one of them had any powerhouse intellectual reputation. All of them were totally within the margins of Justice performance.

The Scalia/Ginsburg model is the rare one (though arguably there are two others in that model in Alito/Breyer, with Roberts being different as an extremely respected lawyer but not an intellectual figure.)

If the standard of comparison is Felix Frankfurter, okay then. But if the standard is Lewis Powell, except when a Latina is nominated, and then that Latina is held up to the standard of Frankfurter, that's ridiculous and stupid. And Sotomayor is pretty easily within the realm of the perfectly average Justices picked in the 70s-90s.

And in many ways, thus it ever was. Maybe that's wrong but I would have more respect for people who raise that point virulently against Kennedy as they do against Sotomayor. Kennedy was a Stanford undergrad/Harvard Law grad who practiced in Sacramento and helped out some state agencies and then was appointed to the appeals court and 12 years later was a Supreme. Sotomayor was a Princeton undergrad Yale Law grad who worked for Morgenthau at the DA's office, worked at a firm became partner and was appointed federal district judge (by Bush 1), then 6 years later appellate, then 10 years later Supreme. There's just not any basis for thinking one is qualified and the other isn't.
   6928. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4299990)
Sotomayor was given a boost every step along the way because of affirmative action, and was given a job that a white male of equal talents wouldn't have gotten.


If this is true, then it is at least equally true of Clarence Thomas. The obvious conclusion being that Republicans have no issues with minorities who benefit from affirmative action as long as they repudiate it once they get theirs.
   6929. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4299996)
There are also rumblings about requiring that recipients of public assistance be tested for illegal drug use.
Fourth Amendment.
   6930. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4299997)
I hate to break this to you, but it is a racist attack. Taking your claim as true for the sake of argument, the mere fact that Sotomayor got a "boost" due to affirmative action does NOT mean she was underqualified. She might have been perfectly qualified, but the school (say) identified her as AA for its own purposes. The fact that you equate AA with "unqualified" is precisely a racist assumption.

And in fact Sotomayor wound up graduating summa cum laude at Princeton, which put her in the top 5% of her graduating class, and later was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. I wonder how that compares to Clarence Thomas's rank at Holy Cross, or how it stacks up against Charles Whittaker, an Eisenhower appointee who got into Kansas City School of Law only after obtaining his previously lacking high school degree. As Greg (not from UK) points out, the idea that only brilliant minds qualify for the Supreme Court is something that seems to be applied selectively, to say the least. By every existing standard, the idea that Sotomayor was unqualified is laughable.
   6931. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4299998)
//19 of 23 polling firms had a Republican bias, including PPP.
Pretty much all the robo-dialers leaned Republican. It looks like it's getting close to impossible to get a fair sample without including cell phones.
   6932. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4299999)
And in fact Sotomayor wound up graduating summa cum laude at Princeton, which put her in the top 5% of her graduating class, and later was an editor at the Yale Law Journal.
Like with Obama, insofar as Sotomayor benefited from AA, she is a classic case of AA working exactly as it should, producing a better class of students than you'd get otherwise.
   6933. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4300000)
Well, Dan is truly a man of a thousand handles, but I've never noticed he was any particular fan of public morality.


So, I hate to get the "defend the nutters" cooties on me this early in the post-win reach around, but why exactly is it that you all think "Jack Carter" is an honest to god new contributor to the thread but assume "Nats Homer In DC" is some regular's sock puppet? Argue against what he says. Argue against how he says it. Argue that he's intellectually dishonest or incapable of basic human reasoning or just insult his mother or something, but aside from the fact that he repeats talking points - gasp! a conservative partisan who repeats talking points! - I see little evidence that he's a sock puppet.

Though, if we're laying bets, I'd say it's Epstein in a giant Teddy Roosevelt head.
   6934. GregD Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4300002)
I would like to see both parties nominate some more elected politicians with reasonable legal backgrounds. It'd be bad perhaps to have all 9 people from that background, but there's no reason to think that a few people who were governors or senators wouldn't make for an interesting mix. Deval Patrick is obviously going to be a candidate for one and Napolitano has been mentioned.
   6935. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4300003)
I would like to see both parties nominate some more elected politicians with reasonable legal backgrounds. It'd be bad perhaps to have all 9 people from that background, but there's no reason to think that a few people who were governors or senators wouldn't make for an interesting mix. Deval Patrick is obviously going to be a candidate for one and Napolitano has been mentioned.


I think they should nominate a guy who's primary legal reasoning history is from Usenet.
   6936. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4300004)
State Rep. Cecil Ash, sensing that whites will soon be a minority says he is in favor of creating a day where white people are celebrated, similar to how blacks and Hispanics are recognized on various "heritage" days.

Isn't this just Columbus Day?


I thought that was for Italians.
   6937. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4300005)
Nats-Homer's nutjobbery is obviously authentic.
   6938. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4300006)
Bill Maher:
"Let's face it, Republicans have the same problem as the Beach Boys: their fans are dying."
   6939. McCoy Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4300010)

Isn't this just Columbus Day?



Isn't it just every day?
   6940. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4300011)
I thought that was for Italians.


Italian-Americans you crypto-fascist bastard.
   6941. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4300012)
Well, point to me where those days are celebrated in racialist terms.
   6942. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4300015)
There are also rumblings about requiring that recipients of public assistance be tested for illegal drug use.


Maybe they'll fold in some provisions that prevent strapping young bucks from buying t-bones for their welfare queen baby mommas driving around in Cadillacs.

Way to make with the outreach there, boys.
   6943. Greg K Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4300016)
I suppose America doesn't have a patron saint, does it? That kind of thing would be ideal.

I guess there's always St. Patrick's Day
   6944. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4300017)
I also love that this is the first topic Silver gets to cover under the new, heightened attention being paid to his work. Not that it will ever stop partisans from sifting the polls in search of the most encouraging result for their side, but maybe it'll nudge the media's coverage of the next supposedly "razor-thin race."

Why would you think that? The problem with Nate's systemic critique of main-stream media election coverage is that if it's accurate, if the need to make races seem closer than the data indicates they are is driven by ratings-hunger, then the mere act of calling attention to this system won't be enough to trump the economics governing it.

And then there's this: as refreshing as Nate's data-driven approach might be, it fuels and fetishizes horserace coverage, rather than providing any sort of alternative to it. Nate's making two arguments simultaneously: 1) horserace journalism is bad/lazy/driven by market imperatives*, 2) mainstream media reports the race poorly, based on bad data, and mainstream pundits make useless prognostications that they're never taken to task for. Nate's actual work aims at solving #2, but in the process undermines what he's trying to accomplish with #1.**

*There's a lot more to his critique, but it doesn't really diverge much from older articulations of the problem that he's borrowing from.
**Unless you're reading both critiques cynically, and think all Nate's trying to advance in making them is the Nate Silver brand.
   6945. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4300020)
And then there's this: as refreshing as Nate's data-driven approach might be, it fuels and fetishizes horserace coverage, rather than providing any sort of alternative to it.


I'd say that Nate's "argument," such that it is, is "if you're going to cover the horse race, cover the actual damned horse race, not some fantasy you generate to make believe the incumbent isn't actually leading by four lengths on the back stretch."

As long as there exists infotainment the election will be covered as a horse race. Which is *fine.* I'd *rather* the infotainment clowns cover the horse race. They're not good at it, but they're better at that than they are at presenting policy arguments in trite, meaningless, intentionally misleading 30 second sound bites.

Sure, I'd prefer to live in a republic where the electorate tuned in for two riveting hours of Charlie Rose and Jim Leher digging the details on a PBS policy debate or something. But alas, we are presented with an electorate made up of not only human beings, but that particularly flighty subset of humanity called "Americans" instead.
   6946. spike Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4300023)
Nate's actual work aims at solving #2, but in the process undermines what he's trying to accomplish with #1.


It's okay to report on a "neck and neck" race if there actually is one - it's creating the meme from whole cloth that is the problem. The media used #2 (bad data) to support their conjured reporting of #1 (a horserace). If they had decent data from Nate et al to support their conclusion, I can't see that as undermining much of anything.
   6947. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4300025)
As long as there exists infotainment the election will be covered as a horse race. Which is *fine.* I'd *rather* the infotainment clowns cover the horse race. They're not good at it, but they're better at that than they are at presenting policy arguments in trite, meaningless, intentionally misleading 30 second sound bites.

Why would you (or Nate) think those same people who aren't ready for complex policy arguments are ready for a nuanced, data-driven approach to horserace coverage? As we saw in this go-around, the data then becomes politicized, another issue that requires "balanced" coverage-- because anything else would require those talking heads to evaluate evidence rather than simply just presenting diametrically opposed opinions about it.

This might be selection bias on my part-- but it seemed like in the televised interviews I saw of Silver, he was hitting the horserace journalism critique out of the ballpark. And then, in the next breath, giving more horserace coverage. You might not agree that the horserace thing is an issue worth addressing, but Nate clearly does.
Sure, I'd prefer to live in a republic where the electorate tuned in for two riveting hours of Charlie Rose and Jim Leher digging the details on a PBS policy debate or something. But alas, we are presented with an electorate made up of not only human beings, but that particularly flighty subset of humanity called "Americans" instead.

I don't think it's quite the binary you're making it out to be, and I'm also not comfortable with the "TV news just gives people what they want to watch" reductionism.
   6948. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4300026)
Well, Dan is truly a man of a thousand handles, but I've never noticed he was any particular fan of public morality.

So, I hate to get the "defend the nutters" cooties on me this early in the post-win reach around, but why exactly is it that you all think "Jack Carter" is an honest to god new contributor to the thread but assume "Nats Homer In DC" is some regular's sock puppet? Argue against what he says. Argue against how he says it. Argue that he's intellectually dishonest or incapable of basic human reasoning or just insult his mother or something, but aside from the fact that he repeats talking points - gasp! a conservative partisan who repeats talking points! - I see little evidence that he's a sock puppet.


Well, in Nats Homer's case, it was the similarity in both tone and some of his positions to SBB's, plus the fact that SBB seems to have vanished after a succession of misfires right at the time that Nats Homer showed up. But you're right, Nats Homer is probably unique, and it was more a playful guess than any kind of a serious accusation.

Though, if we're laying bets, I'd say it's Epstein in a giant Teddy Roosevelt head.

Having met Epstein on several occasions that involved lengthy conversations, he'd have to shed about 50 IQ points and his entire sense of humor in order to post comments like Nats Homer's.

And although Jack Carter's new here, too, all the other notable liberals have been sticking around at the same time, and none of them write quite in the same way. Kehoskie and Ray also burst on the scene in their time and hit the ground running, and I don't recall anyone ever questioning their authenticity. Everyone has to start somewhere.



   6949. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4300028)
It's okay to report on a "neck and neck" race if there actually is one - it's creating the meme from whole cloth that is the problem. The media used #2 (bad data) to support their conjured reporting of #1 (a horserace). If they had decent data from Nate et al to support their conclusion, I can't see that as undermining much of anything.

But Nate's argument is that they have a structural interest in misrepresenting the closeness of the race-- in order to attract eyeballs, the race has to be compelling. No one closely watches a game that's 10-3 in the third inning.
   6950. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4300029)
This might be selection bias on my part-- but it seemed like in the televised interviews I saw of Silver, he was hitting the horserace journalism critique out of the ballpark. And then, in the next breath, giving more horserace coverage. You might not agree that the horserace thing is an issue, but Nate clearly does.

When I want to be mildly entertained about the state of the horserace, I listen to the pundits and make allowances for their varying biases and real knowledge, or lack of it. When I want to know how the horserace is really going, I check out Silver. When I want to learn about the issues, I check out as many sources and viewpoints as I can. What Silver says or thinks about the punditocracy (or the pollsters) is neither here nor there, since the numbers (and the results) speak for themselves.
   6951. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4300031)
What Silver says or thinks about the punditocracy (or the pollsters) is neither here nor there, since his numbers (and the results) speak for themselves.

Sure. But why would we (or Nate) expect the pundits or the MSM narrative to start being governed by them, when (as Nate points out) the pundits have a material compulsion to misrepresent the race?

This isn't really a criticism as much as it is an observation. I enjoy the bluntness of his critique-- it's refreshing to hear it articulated so clearly by someone (formerly) not in the pundit class, just like it was refreshing to hear BPro take dumbasses like Joe Morgan to task a decade ago. It's just that in this case, the solution doesn't match the articulation of the problem.
   6952. spike Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4300035)
But Nate's argument is that they have a structural interest in misrepresenting the closeness of the race-- in order to attract eyeballs, the race has to be compelling. No one closely watches a game that's 10-3 in the third inning.

Folks like Nate, Josh Putnam and Sam Wang will hopefully go a long way toward the factual reporting of the score during the game, whatever it happens to be.
   6953. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4300037)
What Silver says or thinks about the punditocracy (or the pollsters) is neither here nor there, since his numbers (and the results) speak for themselves.

Sure. But why would we (or Nate) expect the pundits or the MSM narrative to start being governed by them, when (as Nate points out) the pundits have a material compulsion to misrepresent the race?


We shouldn't expect them to do anything but either bash him for lack of poetry a la Gerson, make up stories about his "bias" (like Kehoskie was doing), or politely acknowledge his utility and then proceed to ignore his message. As you say, the mother bird defendeth her nest. My only point is that Nate's opinion about those pundits is irrelevant to my appreciation of him. I'm not interested in bashing people (pundits) I don't pay much attention to in the first place, even though I often listen to them in case they've got a perspective I hadn't thought about.

Side note: The Washington Post polled its "experts" last Sunday for their predictions, and it turned out the winner was a professional poker player. And one of the two chumps who picked Romney was, appropriately enough, their horse racing columnist! I'll just let that one sit there.
   6954. Spahn Insane Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4300040)
I personally loved how all the Republicans kept saying things like "you think Dem turnout is going to be the same as 2008? Come on" despite poll after poll after poll confirming that yes the Dems were going to turnout in roughly the same numbers. hubris.

Much though the Republican base really, really, really wanted to oust Obama and was "enthusiastic about voting" (as if an enthusiastic vote counts for more than an unenthusiastic one), I dare say that even if a lot of Obama's support was lukewarm (and of course, his absolute support *was* less than in '08, as reflected in the popular vote margins), the Dem base was equally adamant that Romney/Ryan not seize control, particularly with the prospect of a Republican Congress. Left-leaners can do the "anybody but..." bit too. (And of course, the electorate continued to become less white between '08 and '12.)
   6955. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4300041)
I also love that this is the first topic Silver gets to cover under the new, heightened attention being paid to his work. Not that it will ever stop partisans from sifting the polls in search of the most encouraging result for their side, but maybe it'll nudge the media's coverage of the next supposedly "razor-thin race."

Why would you think that? The problem with Nate's systemic critique of main-stream media election coverage is that if it's accurate, if the need to make races seem closer than the data indicates they are is driven by ratings-hunger, then the mere act of calling attention to this system won't be enough to trump the economics governing it.


Well, sure-- that's why I said "nudge," rather than "fundamentally redress."

Although reason and perspective will never outweigh the need to generate a year and a half's worth of conflict and "breaking development" programming, the news media (primarily cable) does have a professional stake in not looking completely buffoonish. That 20 minutes of Karl Rove Comedy Theater isn't going to be forgotten, and neither is Silver's thus-far exemplary data.
   6956. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4300043)
Reading the wrap-ups of Sunday's chat shows, it appears the GOP establishment has come to grips with the new reality.

But the RW online commentors adamantly still believe Obama will fall if everyone shouts "Benghazi!" at the same time.
   6957. GregD Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4300044)
Anyone seen an updated count of the aggregate popular vote in the House elections? Last I saw Democrats were outpolling the Republicans nationally there but by a smaller margin than in Pres. Just curious. Also curious about the breakdown of Pennsy. Eyeballing Democrats look like they outpolled Reps by 80,000 votes statewide in the Congressional races, and won 4 of 18.
   6958. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4300046)
I personally loved how all the Republicans kept saying things like "you think Dem turnout is going to be the same as 2008? Come on" despite poll after poll after poll confirming that yes the Dems were going to turnout in roughly the same numbers. hubris.
Polls confirmed that the Democratic identification gap would be roughly similar, not that Democratic turnout would be roughly the same. "Party identification" is not a particularly useful marker of anything in polls, and shouldn't be equated to turnout or other things like that.

The Republicans, it appears, made the exact same mistake in poll analysis that Joe and YC and others were making here. They failed to understand that party identification is fluid, and especially that "independent" identification is especially fluid. A whole lot of loyal Republican voters, beginning with the Tea Party movement, started identifying as "independent." So Romney was winning independents for the same reason that Democratic party id was leading Republican party id.

Weighting poll results by party id is dumb, and if anything was proved in this election, it's that.
   6959. spike Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4300047)
the GOP establishment has come to grips with the new reality.


Peggy "feels like a Romney win!" Noonan sure got the message!

President Obama did not lose, he won. It was not all that close. There was enthusiasm on his side. Mitt Romney’s assumed base did not fully emerge, or rather emerged as smaller than it used to be. He appears to have received fewer votes than John McCain. The last rallies of his campaign neither signaled nor reflected a Republican resurgence. Mr Romney’s air of peaceful dynamism was the product of a false optimism that, in the closing days, buoyed some conservatives and swept some Republicans. While GOP voters were proud to assert their support with lawn signs, Democratic professionals were quietly organizing, data mining and turning out the vote. Their effort was a bit of a masterpiece; it will likely change national politics forever. Mr. Obama was perhaps not joyless but dogged, determined, and tired.

Apart from those points, everything in my blog post of Nov. 5 stands.


You can't make stuff like this up.
   6960. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4300048)
That 20 minutes of Karl Rove Comedy Theater isn't going to be forgotten,

That was the only 20 minutes I left PBS all night, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. But the Democrats have to realize that all that wasted Super-PAC money was just chump change to those contributors, and they're certainly not going away anytime soon. IMO Obama should press for a disclosure act that would force those phony "charities" to come out from under the rock, and point out that the SC has already indicated that it wouldn't overturn such laws. Anything that links the Republicans to big money contributors is at worst going to embarrass a lot of swing state Republicans, and at best might actually get Congress to do something about the problem.
   6961. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4300049)
Apart from those points, everything in my blog post of Nov. 5 stands.

It's fitting to use this with the current movie out:

"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
   6962. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4300051)
The Republicans, it appears, made the exact same mistake in poll analysis that Joe and YC and others were making here. They failed to understand that party identification is fluid, and especially that "independent" identification is especially fluid.

The Times' breakdown of the vote indicated that self-described "independents" favored Romney by 5%, but that self-described "moderates" favored Obama by 15%. That may tell us both about the leanings of independents, and even more about the effect of Romney's Tea Party pandering on the votes of moderates.
   6963. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4300055)
I just saw Noonan on the CBS Sunday show. She was saying Petraeus' resignation was "mysterious," and she doesn't understand why he had to step down.

(facepalm)
   6964. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4300061)
Back in 2008 I remember the NYT quoting someone or other to the effect that 'no woman with Obama's resume could have run', that the lack of gravitas many voters impute to women would be all the more difficult to overcome in the absence of a long resume. If true, that might rule out all the women in Cilliza's list except for Clinton.


That'd be a great point, if Clinton had had more on her resume than Obama did in the year they both ran. Which she didn't.

   6965. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4300062)
I just saw Noonan on the CBS Sunday show. She was saying Petraeus' resignation was "mysterious," and she doesn't understand why he had to step down.


In fairness to Nooners, it is kind of strange to see a Republican step down after being caught at something. Most just try to brazen through these days, like diaper dandy David Vitter.
   6966. Don Malcolm Posted: November 11, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4300063)
Re Peggy Noonan: is it appropriately inappropriate (or vice-versa) to reference the line Dan Aykroyd (in his role as James Kilpatrick) used to use on Jane Curtin (as Shana Alexander) when we read her blonde-on-blonde pronouncements?

"Peggy, you..."

Will let y'all fill in the rest.
   6967. Nats-Homer-in-DC Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4300068)
6943. Well, St. Joseph and Our Lady of Guadeloupe are the patron saints of the Americas. And various communities set aside Saints Patrick, Francis, Jude, Lima or Anthony for honor.
Officially, the patron saint is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Chosen by the 6th Provincial Council of Baltimore and approved by the Pope in 1847. December 8th is a holy day of obligation for American Catholics.
   6968. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4300072)
Why would you (or Nate) think those same people who aren't ready for complex policy arguments are ready for a nuanced, data-driven approach to horserace coverage? As we saw in this go-around, the data then becomes politicized, another issue that requires "balanced" coverage-- because anything else would require those talking heads to evaluate evidence rather than simply just presenting diametrically opposed opinions about it.


I don't think I said anything about "balanced" coverage. And I think it's fantastically optimistic; like, fantasy on the level of hoping Daenerys brings dragons back to the world in order to defeat the coming ice demons; to think the population at large is going to become suddenly complex and nuanced enough to... well, much of anything.

Democracy doesn't cater to nuance and policy complexity. Democracy caters to "American Idol."

This might be selection bias on my part-- but it seemed like in the televised interviews I saw of Silver, he was hitting the horserace journalism critique out of the ballpark. And then, in the next breath, giving more horserace coverage. You might not agree that the horserace thing is an issue, but Nate clearly does.


I don't doubt this. Nate is smart enough to know the horserace is ####. He's also business savvy enough to know where to make his cash by betting against the house.

I don't think it's quite the binary you're making it out to be, and I'm also not comfortable with the "TV news just gives people what they want to watch" reductionism.


I didn't say I was comfortable with it. I said the world is the world.
   6969. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4300073)
That Noonan column gets even better when you actually read her previous one:

BEFORE:

Romney’s crowds are building—28,000 in Morrisville, Pa., last night; 30,000 in West Chester, Ohio, Friday It isn’t only a triumph of advance planning: People came, they got through security and waited for hours in the cold. His rallies look like rallies now, not enactments. In some new way he’s caught his stride. He looks happy and grateful. His closing speech has been positive, future-looking, sweetly patriotic. His closing ads are sharp—the one about what’s going on at the rallies is moving.

All the vibrations are right. A person who is helping him who is not a longtime Romneyite told me, yesterday: “I joined because I was anti Obama—I’m a patriot, I’ll join up But now I am pro-Romney.” Why? “I’ve spent time with him and I care about him and admire him. He’s a genuinely good man.” Looking at the crowds on TV, hearing them chant “Three more days” and “Two more days”—it feels like a lot of Republicans have gone from anti-Obama to pro-Romney.


AFTER:

The last rallies of his campaign neither signaled nor reflected a Republican resurgence.


You really can't make this stuff up.
   6970. Greg K Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4300074)
#6967, thanks for the info!
   6971. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4300077)
All the vibrations are right.


Oh, well. The vibrations.
   6972. zenbitz Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4300079)
Sotomayor was given a boost every step along the way because of affirmative action, and was given a job that a white male <strike>of equal talents wouldn't</strike> would have typically have gotten


That is exactly what is supposed to happen. Scalia et al all have been given an implicit boost "every step along the way" because they are White Males. To deny this is to deny objective statistical* reality.



* that means, "in aggregate" white males receive preferential treatment - or start way out in front of the starting line , even if ancedotally they don't always.
   6973. zenbitz Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4300080)
As for election horse races, you don't see Pundits Pontificating over the variance in weather predictions, do you?

Can we safely say yet that national polling is roughly as accurate as daily meteorology?
   6974. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4300081)
All the vibrations are right.


Oh, well. The vibrations.

Ah, aura and vibrations. I note that Noonan is also a long-time Yankees fan.
   6975. zenbitz Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4300084)
it feels like a lot of Republicans have gone from anti-Obama to pro-Romney.


What do you know, it turns out that a Pro-Romney vote doesn't count twice what an anti-Obama one does. And as for "turnout" - I would imagine that anyone motivated to go to a freakin' POLITICAL RALLY was going to vote one way or an other.
   6976. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 11, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4300095)

And although Jack Carter's new here, too

Oh, I'd put money down that he's not.

In fact, I'm about 98-99% sure that it's something other. He's the only poster I've found that has used the term "plum" where "plumb" is more traditional, uses two hyphens and no space to represent an en dash, uses additional punctuation after an ellipsis, always uses apostrophes rather than quotation marks, uses the term "antiabortion" instead of "anti-abortion," and frequently uses @ in conjunction with blockquotes. In fact, he's the only poster I've found that even does *2* of these things.

This is before taking into consideration that the writing style and strident tone are similar, he instantly knew all the old inside jokes and disliked the exact same people that something other did, and after 3 years and thousands of comments, something other stopped posting completely in the same month that Jack Carter was created.

In fairness, that wouldn't really count as a sockpuppet, but a new account. I did the same thing, though I was more clear about "DJS" being "Dan Szymborski." I don't think he's specifically said that he's a new poster, though I may have missed that. So no real chicanery involved.

Actually, this was *way* more fun than searching by IP!
   6977. greenback calls it soccer Posted: November 11, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4300097)
But the Democrats have to realize that all that wasted Super-PAC money was just chump change to those contributors, and they're certainly not going away anytime soon.

I don't know. The appeal of buying an election will always be there for the monster egos, but I've read a couple of post-mortems where some big donors have come to realize that they were suckers rather than power brokers. Like any institution, the money funnels are run as much to enrich the people controlling them as to fulfill their stated mission. Aside from the lack of results, which should lead to some questioning of the value of this Super PAC stuff at the most basic level, when you try to influence a political institution through a Super-PAC, you're paying retail, which is something these folks pride themselves on never doing.
   6978. Danny Posted: November 11, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4300107)
Back in 2008 I remember the NYT quoting someone or other to the effect that 'no woman with Obama's resume could have run', that the lack of gravitas many voters impute to women would be all the more difficult to overcome in the absence of a long resume. If true, that might rule out all the women in Cilliza's list except for Clinton.

Obama had four years in the senate when he was elected POTUS. In 2016, Klobuchar will have 10 years, and Gillibrand will have 8.
That'd be a great point, if Clinton had had more on her resume than Obama did in the year they both ran. Which she didn't.

Except for the four extra years in the senate.
   6979. Tripon Posted: November 11, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4300108)
On the Super-Pac issue. If you're going to use past results as an indicator, then I'm sure the powers that be are going to determine that using their influence in off presidential election years than it is during an election. The conservative Super-Pac did really well in 2010, not so well in 2012.

The less competition for your product, the better it will do, and there's going to be less competition in two years.
   6980. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 11, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4300111)
Karl Rove and his super PAC vow to press on

....Crossroads also is likely to invest more deeply in organizations such as the Republican State Leadership Committee, which has been trying to build a more appealing GOP farm team by, among other things, recruiting Hispanic candidates to run for state-level office.

And it is raising money to run advertising shoring up the congressional Republicans during the upcoming negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

For Crossroads, 2012 was a $300 million learning experience....

He noted [Crossroads] has a relatively small staff of 19 and said it pays its ad makers only 3 percent of the amount spent, the bottom in an industry where 10 and 15 percent fees used to be common. Ninety-five cents out of every dollar that Crossroads spends “goes onto the target,” he said.

And his wealthy donors? “They all went into this eyes wide open,” Rove said, “and their attitude is, beat them next time.”

“We’ve got to carefully examine, as we did after 2010, an after-action report looking at everything with fresh eyes and questioning and figuring out what worked and what didn’t work,” Rove said.


IMO the bottom line is that they've got a stable full of billionaires and multi-millionaires who hate being taxed or called into account, and to those motherviolators, spending less than 1% of their income in order to preserve their much greater advantages down the road is always going to seem like a gamble worth taking. The only way I can see this ending is if they're forced by law to come out from hiding, and face the consequences of their choices.
   6981. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 11, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4300118)
Also curious about the breakdown of Pennsy. Eyeballing Democrats look like they outpolled Reps by 80,000 votes statewide in the Congressional races, and won 4 of 18.

Redistricting. Republicans ran the process, and isolated the Democratic hot spots (e.g. Philadelphia), while splitting up midlevel Democratic districts and attaching the halves to heavily red territory. The opposite dynamic can be seen in California.

That Noonan column gets even better when you actually read her previous one:
...
All the vibrations are right.


Ah, I love the colorful clothes Mitt wears. And the way the sunlight plays upon his hair.

Nevertheless, Peggy Noonan's one-note shtick -- spitting out the same tired talking points, but in the voice of the quiet old lady whispering "hush" from Goodnight Moon -- has made her a memorable TV cartoon character. Lay back, close your sleepy eyes, relax, and when you wake up you won't even miss unionization.

Still, her act was a lot funnier when it was Eugene Levy doing Floyd the Barber, on "SCTV."
   6982. Tripon Posted: November 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4300121)

Redistricting. Republicans ran the process, and isolated the Democratic hot spots (e.g. Philadelphia), while splitting up midlevel Democratic districts and attaching the halves to heavily red territory. The opposite dynamic can be seen in California.


California had an independent citizen's commission do this decade's districts. There's simply a lot more registered Democrats than Republicans now.
   6983. tshipman Posted: November 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4300122)
Obama had four years in the senate when he was elected POTUS. In 2016, Klobuchar will have 10 years, and Gillibrand will have 8.


I saw Gillibrand on the Daily Show and she was giggling through half the interview. I can't take her seriously as a candidate for POTUS.
   6984. GregD Posted: November 11, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4300123)
California had an independent citizen's commission do this decade's districts. There's simply a lot more registered Democrats than Republicans now.
Yeah eyeballing California, only one Republican district was over 70% Republican and that one was 73%. I think they won 15 out of 53. I don't know what the statewide congressional popular vote was but can imagine the Reps getting a map where they won 17 or 18 but it's not crazily far off. It's totally different than the Democrats winning the statewide congressional vote and getting 4 of 18 seats in Pennsy. Not at all the same.

I'm curious to hear more about Illinois, as that was promoted as Democratic redistricting but doesn't look like it produced a big imbalance.

   6985. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 11, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4300125)
The only way I can see this ending is if they're forced by law to come out from hiding, and face the consequences of their choices.


Who's hiding? Certainly not the Koch brothers, or Sheldon Adelson. What horrible consequences have befallen them for choosing to toss a few spare millions into trying to unseat Obama?
   6986. Danny Posted: November 11, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4300129)
Who's hiding? Certainly not the Koch brothers

Really?
   6987. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 11, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4300131)
The California Democrats gamed the independent citizen's commission, offering some unusual interpretations of the "communities of interest" guideline, hiring consultants to create fake grass roots/nonprofit advocacy groups, hiring lobbyists to testify as concerned citizens, etc. They were helped by the Tea Party, which wasted one of the public hearings by protesting the Voting Rights Act until the meeting was shut down.

Obviously the Pennsylvania Republicans had an easier job of it, and thus were more effective. In comparing an epee to a chainsaw, my analogy has some important limits.
   6988. GregD Posted: November 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4300133)
I don't really see an analogy at all.

In Cali Dems have a 3-2 registration advantage that translated into a 38-15 seat advantage. Some of that could be careful drawing of a couple of seats, some of it turnout, some of it independent voting. As I said from the start you can make a case the Reps lost a seat or two here. But you can also make a case it's drawn about right and that Reps could pick up those 2-3 seats in a better year.

In Pennsy, Dems have a 4-3 Registration advantage, won the statewide popular vote in congressional races, and went 4-14.

Those are just two vastly different phenomena, and the Pennsy one looks--though I could be convinced otherwise--like something on a totally different than in any other state, not like garden-variety partisan redistricting.
   6989. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 11, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4300140)
Pennsylvania is a somewhat auto-gerrymandered state. Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in the middle. Ring a bell? Republican controlled redistricting no doubt had an effect, but Obama carried Philadelphia by 465,000 votes, and it would be pretty damned hard to divide that advantage up in a way that would make Congressional districts in other parts of the state more favorable for Democrats.
   6990. zenbitz Posted: November 11, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4300155)
I was pretty sure Jack Carter was a retread, but I was far to lazy to figure out who he was. My guess was that someone who decide to unmask an alias?

Nats_Homer_in_DC I assumed was Joey, but I suppose it could be another reactionary Nats fan. Maybe his brother?
   6991. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 11, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4300158)
That'd be a great point, if Clinton had had more on her resume than Obama did in the year they both ran. Which she didn't.

I felt like the H. Clintons were trying to sell her time as First Lady as some kind of "executive-branch experience," which is terribly important if your opponent doesn't have any.
   6992. thok Posted: November 11, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4300167)
Speaking of redistricting, I didn't realize how bad gerrymandered some of the districts in Maryland were. I'm convinced Maryland's 3rd district is some sort of a fractal.
   6993. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 11, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4300170)
Nats_Homer_in_DC I assumed was Joey, but I suppose it could be another reactionary Nats fan. Maybe his brother?


Granted, there are only like, 6 Nats fans in the world, and they all suck.
   6994. Johnny Temporary Posted: November 11, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4300172)
OK Dan, who am I?
   6995. Lassus Posted: November 11, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4300182)
Allen West Refuses to Reliquish Seat

West’s campaign has raised questions about how ballots were cast in St. Lucie County, which Murphy won. Edson told AP that the campaign wants to see documentation and is prepared to sue if the numbers don’t add up or if documentation isn’t provided.

At this point, West’s only recourse will be in the courts. But a Florida judge on Friday denied his request to impound ballots and voting machines.

Murphy declared victory early Wednesday morning and has been moving forward as if he will replace West.
   6996. GregD Posted: November 11, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4300186)
Pennsylvania is a somewhat auto-gerrymandered state. Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in the middle. Ring a bell? Republican controlled redistricting no doubt had an effect, but Obama carried Philadelphia by 465,000 votes, and it would be pretty damned hard to divide that advantage up in a way that would make Congressional districts in other parts of the state more favorable for Democrats.
This is always an appealing explanation but is exactly wrong. With the same underlying conditions, the redistricting after 2000 produced hugely different outcomes. 12-7 Reps in 2011, 12-7 Dem in 2009, 11-8 Dems in 2007, 12-7 Republican in 2005. It's easy, not hard, to make competitive districts there that flip the state in each election. This is entirely manmade, not natural.
   6997. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 11, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4300195)
Well, for starters, losing a seat to reapportionment means that you don't have the same underlying conditions. Second, Philadelphia is about 6:1 D, and surrounded by suburbs that are about 60:40 D. Drawing districts that used slivers of Philadelphia and its suburbs to disenfranchise big chunks of exurbs would not be the opposite of gerrymandering.

EDIT: also, the new PA delegation will be 13-5 R, not 14-4.
   6998. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4300200)
And in fact Sotomayor wound up graduating summa cum laude at Princeton, which put her in the top 5% of her graduating class, and later was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. I wonder how that compares to Clarence Thomas's rank at Holy Cross, or how it stacks up against Charles Whittaker, an Eisenhower appointee who got into Kansas City School of Law only after obtaining his previously lacking high school degree. As Greg (not from UK) points out, the idea that only brilliant minds qualify for the Supreme Court is something that seems to be applied selectively, to say the least. By every existing standard, the idea that Sotomayor was unqualified is laughable


Sotomayor is unqualified based upon the recent record of non-AA appointees to the Court. She's about as qualified as Harriet Miers or, now that I think about it, my father. To be fair, my father is a successful and accomplished attorney, but he doesn't belong on the Supreme Court and neither does Sonia Sotomayor. Nearly all the conservative lawyers I know are just as disdainful of Thomas's "qualifications" as they are of Sotomayor; he's further proof that affirmative action hires don't have any place on the Supreme Court.

I don't think it's unreasonable to say that qualifications aren't that important for the Supreme Court, and that if Hugo Black can be a Great Justice, then pretty much any reasonably intelligent person can. But to argue otherwise is not a racist argument, its a dont-put-ordinary-thinkers-on-the-court argument.
   6999. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 11, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4300203)
i think it would be better for the court if folks got away from always appointing judges/lawyers.

some other perspectives would be useful in my estimation
   7000. GregD Posted: November 11, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4300205)
Sotomayor is unqualified based upon the recent record of non-AA appointees to the Court. She's about as qualified as Harriet Miers or, now that I think about it, my father. To be fair, my father is a successful and accomplished attorney, but he doesn't belong on the Supreme Court and neither does Sonia Sotomayor. Nearly all the conservative lawyers I know are just as disdainful of Thomas's "qualifications" as they are of Sotomayor; he's further proof that affirmative action hires don't have any place on the Supreme Court.
Anthony Kennedy was approved 97-0, I believe. I dare you to find a dime's worth of difference between his qualifications and hers, prior to coming to the Court.
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