The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Are You a ‘Nate Silver Truther’?

Posted on | October 26, 2012 | 28 Comments

I am, according to some worthless putz named Joshua Holland writing at the left-wing site AlterNet. Holland also:

  • Calls me “a notably dense right-wing blogger”; and
  • Misspells my name (there is no “e” in Stacy).

As to the substance of the dispute, Holland’s article is entitled:

Republicans Desperate to Spin Romney as the
Front-Runner Are Becoming ‘Nate Silver Truthers’

No, Republicans are actually (a) looking at Romney’s lead in numerous polls, (b) looking at Nate Silver’s bizarre transmutation of this data into a 73.1% likelihood of Obama’s re-election, and (c) saying, “What the f–k is Nate talking about?”

As been repeatedly pointed out, when you start digging down into the samples of the polls, there is good reason to believe that Romney’s vote is actually being underestimated. For example, it was big news that ABC/WaPo had Romney leading Obama 50-47. But Ace of Spades points out that the sample is D+4 and Romney leads by 19 points NINETEEN FREAKING POINTS — among independents.

Let’s consider the possibility — just throwing this out there — that many of the “independents” leaning so decisively toward Romney are a bunch of bitter gun-clingers in Appalachia who don’t really matter in terms of the Crucial Battleground States.

Fine. OK. But excuse me for believing that if Romney has even half that big of a lead (9 or 10 points) among independents in Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Iowa and New Hampshire, we’re gonna be looking at an all-out Republican romp Nov. 6.

Not even Jim Moran’s kid can steal enough votes to win it for Obama if Romney’s leading by 10 points among independents.

Back to the question, then: What the f–k is Nate Silver talking about? A commenter on yesterday’s post suggested it’s non-random “weighting”:

I found out everything I needed to know about Silver’s “analysis” when I learned that he was overweighting a week-old PPP poll that showed Obama well ahead and underweighting a fresh poll *by the same pollster* that had Obama’s lead almost gone in his “model.” The adjustments were not small. So he was purposefully and consciously giving a large amount of additional weight to old data compared to new data despite the source of both being the same.
This statistical legerdemain is justified by an ipse dixit assertion that PPP’s Dem lean has diminished over the cycle (a change he would have us believe has significant, observable effects over a 7-day period). Then there’s the grotesquely Obama-positive Marist poll to which he gave a huge statistical bump compared to a slew of more recent data for almost two weeks. That poll had a D+11 sample–over twice Obama’s 2008 ID edge and therefore something no rational poll observer could possibly argue with a straight face was likely to be valid. Nate loved it, though, giving it massively outsized influence over his overall results long after it was stale data.

Live by the weighting, die by the weighting, and if it weren’t for the fact that Nate is running this shady scam on the New York Times platform, we could laugh it off as irrelevant cheerleading. Instead, it’s highly relevant cheerleading, which has the effect of shaping elite opinion, which in turn affects media coverage, and thus tends — as a certain other statistical wizard once said — to “hide the decline.”

FLOUNDER: “Will that work?”
OTTER: “It’s gotta work better than the truth.”

Let me point out something: Nate Silver considers Rasmussen disreputable and unreliable, and yet on Thursday we could see three other national polls — ABC/WaPo, Gallup and Monmouth — all showing the same +3 margin for Romney that Rasmussen shows. How is it that these other polling firms report the exact same margin as the No Good Very Bad Stinky Rasmussen Poll Nate Silver Hates?

There is the possibility that Nate’s right and all of us “Nate Silver Truthers” are wrong. And there is the possibility that, even if Silver is wrong, his statistical cheerleading will have the self-fufilling prophecy effect of creating the phenomenon Silver pretends to observe.

On the other hand, there is also the possibility — and I think Nate Silver is severely underestimating this scenario — that he is so completely wrong his credibility will be destroyed on Nov. 6.

If Obama loses, we will not forget that he gave Obama’s likelihood of re-election at a precise 73.1% just ten days before Election Day.

At this point, Nate might as well raise the number to 100% — a guaranteed Obama win — and be done with it, because even if he tries to walk it back now, 73.1% is nearly 3-to-1, and if you lose a bet you called 3-to-1 with 10 days to go, your credibility is permanently screwed.




 

 

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Comments

  • jsn2

    Let your lefty troll spin this –

    This video deserves its own front page posting.
    Am I wrong?

  • http://twitter.com/ilovegrover Thane_Eichenauer

    It is a shame that there are those who choose to make the pursuit of truth (e.g. truther) a smear instead of something admirable. If you think that RSM is making false statements that would make him a Nate Silver liar. In the end the only poll that counts is announced on election day (or soon thereafter).

  • http://www.leftbankofthecharles.com/ Charles

    Forget the 73% chance of winning. The real fix is on the 50.2% projected popular vote. That has pegged written all over it. If Gary Johnson gets 1-2 million votes, it’s likely neither Obama or Romney will break 50%. Obviously a psychological line is being maintained.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Surber/505164265 Don Surber

    Nate will drop it to 30% chance next week, flip to 30+ states for Romney and declare his super-duper accuracy. Again

  • http://twitter.com/BombsAndDollars Bombs And Dollars

    Obama is winning in Ohio, according to most polls, so throw away the popular vote polls–He needs Ohio.

    I find it odd that so much time is spent asking which polls are right or wrong when only one poll matters: The election day results. So why’s everyone arguing over the pre-election polls?

  • http://twitter.com/thatMrGguy Mike G.

    Seems like I declared 3-1 odds a week or so ago. Have you gotten Silver to take the bet yet ’cause I want some of that action.

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  • http://twitter.com/DarylHerbert Daryl Herbert

    If the election is very close, and Romney squeaks out a win, Nate Silver will not be discredited. If Silver says Romney has a 27% chance to win, and Romney barely pulls it off, that’s close enough to his predictions.

    But if it’s anything like a landslide for Mittens, Nate Silver’s credibility will be permanently destroyed.

    If, in the next week, Silver dramatically realigns his model (I’m sorry, The Model) to show Romney with an advantage, that would also damage his credibility. He will need to explain why The Model all of a sudden shows very different results, when the polls haven’t changed much.

  • ReaganiteRepublican
  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Adjoran

    In the week-long victory party beginning November 7, we need to schedule an “Official Nate Silver Mocking Day” to honor the phony baloney huckster.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/ Adjoran

    “Truther” became a smear rightfully because of morons arguing ridiculous 9/11 theories. That’s why it is applied derisively – if inaccurately – to other skeptics.

    The point is that you cannot find a single pollster who will tell you their polls even the week before the election has any predictive value at all. NOT ONE – yet Silver claims he CAN from their cumulative work. It’s statistical alchemy.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Indeed. He who laughs last laughs best, and I intend to do a lot of laughing on November 7. And hey, my birthday is the last day of that week-long party, bonus to me.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Denial is the first stage of grief. Liberals never seem to make it all the way to acceptance, though; many of them are still stick in stage 2 over the 2000 election.

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  • http://twitter.com/wjjhoge WJJ Hoge

    What!?! Do you mean that Silver isn’t the Gold Standard?

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  • http://treeofmamre.wordpress.com/ John Scotus

    This post by Bob Krumm paints a fairly devastating picture of what is wrong with Silver’s methodology. Its a long but enlightening read: http://t.co/zxVMq3xl Basically, Obama’s goose is cooked, but Silver can’t see it because he is engaged in wishful thinking. Which is good, as the longer the Dems stay in fantasy land, the higher the margin Romney will win by.

  • Emmathommas

    All this fight is pointless. We are going to find out who is full of sh!t in 10 days time.

  • Emmathommas

    What happens if Obama wins?

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Gun and ammunition sales will skyrocket.

  • http://twitter.com/ilovegrover Thane_Eichenauer

    Is it any wonder National Ammo Day is in November?

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