Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Separated at Birth: Nate Silver and...?

So is NYT Nate Silver separated at birth from:  A Gypsy Fortune teller or Moneyball Oakland A's manager and saber-metric proponent Billy Beane?

Nate Silver separated at birth from: 
Billy Beane?
A Gypsy fortune teller?

So is Nate Silver's model a fraud or the real deal?  He did well in 2008 and 2010.  We will find out for sure November 6.  But as Stacy McCain at The Other McCain notes, Nate's numbers are not quite lining up:
Liberals may be stupid, but they’re not so stupid they can’t understand what John Nolte’s headline means:
GALLUP: Romney Up 52-45% Among Early Voters Dude. If Romney’s leading by SEVEN FREAKING POINTS in the early vote — and also leading by six points among voters who tell Gallup they plan to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6 — there is no way that Nate Silver can continue gazing at his Magic Forecasting Model™ and seeing a 72.9% chance of Obama being re-elected. He may continue telling that to his readers, but Nate cannot actually believe that.

Looks like a draw on early voting!   Nate has that working for him.

The issue is whether Nate is really trying to predict the outcome (whether his model is correct or not in doing so is another issue to be determined) or whether Nate is trying to influence the outcome (which would be unethical).

Dan McLaughlin at Red State has a great article:
We can’t know until Election Day who is right. I stand by my view that Obama is losing independent voters decisively, because the national and state polls both support that thesis. I stand by my view thatRepublican turnout will be up significantly from recent-historic lows in 2008 in the key swing states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado) and nationally, because the post-2008 elections, the party registration data, the early-voting and absentee-ballot numbers, and the Rasmussen and Gallup national party-ID surveys (both of which have solid track records) all point to this conclusion. I stand by my view that no countervailing evidence outside of poll samples shows a similar surge above 2008 levels in Democratic voter turnout, as would be needed to offset Romney’s advantage with independents and increased GOP voter turnout. And I stand by the view that a mechanical reading of polling averages is an inadequate basis to project an event unprecedented in American history: the re-election of a sitting president without a clear-cut victory in the national popular vote.Perhaps, despite the paucity of evidence to the contrary, these assumptions are wrong. But if they are correct, no mathematical model can provide a convincing explanation of how Obama is going to win re-election. He remains toast.
Is Nate Silver's Value at Risk?   


  1. I'm sure he's been instructed to do it. Last I heard, he had it up to 75%.

    1. In Silver's limited defense (and I do so as a Devil's Advocate) if you hinge the election on Ohio you could arguably make the point Obama will carry that state. But to pin a fixed probability so high, given the data, sounds like nonsense. We all recognize Ohio is very close. Unless there is a blow out in Obama's favor I just cannot see how that number can be that.

      Silver is hoping that Obama wins, then there is little scrutiny to his system. Silver can claim he was right again.

      Again, all GOP and Romney supporters need to get out there and do what they can. Keep fighting till the end.

  2. Oh come one! Do you even know or understand what Silver's system is? Did you not see he predicted 49 of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election (losing only Indiana, which went for Obama by 1%)?. That same year he got ALL 35 senate races right!

    He followed up in 2010 with this: 92% correct on Senate races (missed AK, NV, & CO) and 95% on Governor races (missed IL & FL). But his record is even more impressive than this…

    In 56 of 73 races for Senate/Governor, Silver assigned a 90% probability or higher that he was correct. He got all of them right. This included some tricky races including the Feingold upset, the crowded Senate race in Florida, and the close race in PA.

    I could go on and on, and so could you if you looked into his results. To imply that he's picking Obama because he wants him to win is ridiculous. He's picking Obama because that's what the little nerd's calculus indicates. That doesn't guarantee anything, it's just a 72% probability.

    Stacy McCain... Please. Get real you guys!

  3. I haven't seen this mentioned before so I'll throw this out there.. Seems to me very possible that Silver is doing some as-of-yet non-disclosed internal polling or analysis for the Obama campaign and is therefore on their payroll this year. Or perhaps he's on the payroll of a wealthy supporter for which there is no legal requirement to disclose the relationship.

    He has worked with the Obama campaign before: http://www.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeedpolitics/obama-campaign-shared-08-polling-with-silver

    A big check (carrot) and Chicago politicians (stick) would tend to influence my "statistical methodology" also.

  4. Whoops! Looks like you messed that one up.

  5. The day of reckoning is here. It is now time for all of you to abandon your silly God(s) and bow down in deference to Nate Silver.

  6. How can it be missed that he is separated at birth from Buster Bluth? And I say that with all due reverence for the genius of both Nate Silver and Tony Hale.


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