Posted on | November 3, 2012 | 30 Comments
Nate Silver approaches a clue and almost gets it:
Missed it by that much, as Maxwell Smart might say.
His headline summarizes exactly what Republican poll-mongers have been saying since September, as they see poll after poll with crazy oversamples of Democrats. As for example, the NBC/WSJ/Marist poll that has Obama winning Ohio by 6 points — SIX FREAKING POINTS! — about which Ed Morrissey says, “all you need to know is this: the D/R/I is 38/29/32. In 2008, the exit polls showed a split of 39/31/30, and in 2010 36/37/28.”
Stop for a second and think about that: What this poll is telling us is that partisan ID has shifted 2 points toward Democrats since 2008, which was the best year for Democrats since LBJ won a landslide in ’64. Therefore, we must choose between two alternative explanations:
- Obama is headed toward a world-historic victory based upon the remarkable popularity of the Democratic Party; or
- The poll sample is fucked-up beyond all comprehension.
Take your pick, eh? When the sample is D+9 and yet Obama is winning by only 6 points, why should anyone doubt that the NBC/WSJ/Marist lead is entirely a function of the Democrat oversample? And if this is not purposeful bias (i.e., the pollsters actively “modeling” the sample), then we must ask ourselves, “Why would Democrats be so absurdly over-represented?” Could this have something to do with what Dan Collins reports from Wisconsin?
I’m subjected to endless phone calls from the RNC, AFP and other PACs, and the endless polls and pushes masquerading as polls. I may be unemployed, but I have work to do, so I pick up the phone, find out who’s calling, and hang up. I’m going to be poll observing, and my brother Tim and his wife have been knocking on doors and manning the phone banks when they’re not at work, helping to GOTV.
I imagine that there are a lot of people who’ve gone beyond the saturation point, like me, so I’m not putting a lot of stock in any polling coming out of Wisconsin, and I figure it’s got to be the same in OH and IA and VA. But Wisconsin was already suffering from politics fatigue before it once again became a swing state. I imagine, too, that there are just a lot of voters like me who have had it with the incessant calls, and who are no longer participating in polling or answering pitches from campaigns.
Think about it: Multiple entities on the Right are targeting GOP-leaning voters in the swing states with a non-stop flood of phone calls and it may be that, as a result, the pollsters simply can’t get through to self-identified Republicans, so there is an under-sample of Republicans which no pollster can verify or compensate for, without resorting to artificial assumptions about the actual composition of the electorate.
Anyway, I don’t have much interest in numbers-crunching, nor time to get down into the metrics, which is why I’m glad Ali Akbar did it today:
This morning, because the sun rose in the East, Nate Silver again increased his odds of Obama winning reelection. Silver now estimates Obama’s chances of reelection at a precise 83.7%.
Exactly. What is the basis for that very precise number?