Posted on | November 5, 2012 | 19 Comments
Volunteers make calls at Americans for Prosperity phone bank in Ohio
BLUE ASH, Ohio
We’re at the center of the storm — ground zero of the entire presidential campaign — and you’d think this might provide some special insight into the ultimate outcome of the election. Not so. Ali’s spent the morning pondering the Electoral College map, trying to make his final predictions.
Fortunately for me, I’m a reporter, not an operative, a consultant, an analyst, a pundit or whatever you want to call Nate Silver. What I’d call Nate Silver is an Anglo-Saxon comp0und word with 10 letters. It’s not “psephological godhood,” although I’m grateful to Colby Cosh for teaching me that word.
Making predictions is above my pay-grade, although I’ve occasionally ventured a prophecy based on omens and portents, but there have been no earthquakes in Vanuatu lately, so I have no claim to know the mysterious will of God in this election. Selah.
Eight days into this Ohio road trip, I’m sick of all these experts who issue their pronouncements from the comfort of their living rooms without ever having set foot in a swing state, pundits whose idea of a “road trip” is blogging from their neighborhood Starbucks.
To hell with Nate Silver, and to hell with all the rest of them, these stationary buddhas of political prognostication, journalistic intellectuals who consider mere reporting to be beneath their dignity. You won’t find any graduates of the Kennedy School of Government sleeping on the floors of motel rooms and eating crappy breakfast food from the nearest convenience store. But I digress . . .
In the Information Age, everybody can see the polls, and this has been the most extensively polled presidential race in American history. Yet we arrive at Election Day with the outcome still very much in doubt, thanks to the cleverness of the Romney campaign. It was brilliant how, in the past 10 days, Mitt’s team seized the initiative and “expanded the map,” making plays in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. With the polls showing Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado all within the margin of error, Romney made a bold gamble that clearly confused Obama’s brain trust: Was Mitt really so confident of carrying the key swing states that he felt he had the luxury of pushing for a mandate or, alternatively, was Mitt so worried about the Ohio polls that he was seeking an alternate route to 270 Electoral College votes?
At this point, it’s moot. The upshot is that Romney’s gamble threw the Chicago gang off-stride, forcing them to send Obama and his top surrogates to play defense in states that had been thought safely “blue,” preventing the Democrats from piling everything they had into Ohio. Granted, Romney has had to make visits to defend Florida and Virginia — both of which should be safely in his column on Election Night — but somewhere in the third week of October, looking at the Big Picture, Mitt decided to go big or go home, and this is perhaps the only reason that he’s still in the game on this final Monday.
If he had played it safe, Romney would have lost. As it is, he’s got a chance to win, a chance that’s certainly greater than the 13.7% Nate Silver gives him. And here in Ohio, with the Republican ground game running at Full-Tilt Boogie speed, the two most recent polls — by Rasmussen and the University of Cincinnati — show a dead heat. And here’s the lunatic gibberish I filed from the Double Tree Hotel lobby at midnight:
Tens of thousands of Republicans were jammed into a Friday night rally in the Cincinnati suburb of West Chester, and Ron Sokol leaned over the crowd-control barricade to talk about what he’s witnessed during his door-to-door canvassing expeditions.
“Between now and 2008, I see a world of difference,” Sokol said, explaining how much more enthusiasm there is for GOP nominee Mitt Romney — and how much less for Barack Obama. Sokol also mentioned that Republican get-out-the-vote operations here in Butler County have been bolstered by an influx of volunteers from around the country. “I see people from Tennessee, Texas, Indiana — everywhere.”
Eyewitness accounts like Sokol’s are routinely dismissed by analysts as mere anecdotes and, even though it is proverbial that the plural of “anecdote” is data, such tales don’t count for much among the gurus, soothsayers, and other savants who arrogate to themselves the mantle of political expertise. But why bring up Nate Silver at this late stage of the campaign?
The statistical wizard of the New York Times has gone so far out on a limb with his prediction of an Obama victory that Silver might as well pull a Joe Namath and guarantee it. Late Saturday, he peered into his vaunted “Forecasting Model” and raised the likelihood of the president’s election to 85.1 percent, the one-tenth of a percentage point being the gimmick by which Silver provides his guesstimate with the illusion of scientific precision. Whatever his qualifications as a political analyst, Silver may be the most successful public-relations man since Eddie Bernays. His self-created aura of infallibility has made Silver a vital bulwark of the Obama campaign, which fed him their internal polling data (and signed him to a confidentiality agreement) in 2008 when he was openly advocating the Democrat’s candidacy on his own blog.
These days, as Mike Flynn of Breitbart.com says, Silver has become “the patron saint of confirmation bias,” providing statistics that support the liberal True Believer’s faith in the ultimate triumph of Obama. . . .
Read the rest at The American Spectator. There’s a Romney rally this afternoon at the Columbus airport.
We’re going. Please hit the freaking tip jar!
- Nov. 4: OHIO OR BOSTON?
- Nov. 3: OHIO: MATH IS HARD
- Nov. 3: SCENES FROM OHIO ‘ALL-STAR’ RALLY
- Nov. 2: WEST CHESTER, OHIO: MASSIVE CROWD FOR ROMNEY-RYAN RALLY
- Nov. 2: FOUR MORE DAYS: Kid Rock Tonight in the Only County That Matters
- Nov 1: Fred Thompson Makes News With Benghazi Comments at AFP Event
- Oct. 31: BREAKING NEWS FROM OHIO: REPUBLICAN WOMEN ARE HOT
- Oct. 31: FROM OHIO: POLLS, POLLS, POLLS
- Oct. 30: FROM OHIO: GROUND GAME REPORT
- Oct. 30: Mark October 30 on Your Calendar: Democrat Panic Hits Pandemic Stage
- Oct. 29: SCENES FROM ROMNEY-RYAN RALLY
- Oct. 29: FROM OHIO: Schedule Scrambled; Obama, Romney Cancel Campaign Events
- Oct. 28: FROM OHIO: ROMNEY GAINS IN STATE POLL, NOW TIED WITH OBAMA
- Oct. 27: STORM CANCELS ROMNEY VIRGINIA EVENTS; OHIO, HERE WE COME UPDATE: BOOM! Mitt Romney Endorsed by Des Moines Register