Nate Silver’s Braying Idiot Detractors Show That Being Ignorant About Politics Is Like Being Ignorant About Sports
By David Roher
In case you haven’t been hanging around the benighted corners of the political internet lately, there’s an idiotic backlash afoot against Nate Silver, the proprietor of the FiveThirtyEight blog who made his name as one of the sharpest baseball analysts around.
With the election just a few days away, analysis based on state poll aggregation—Silver’s included—suggests that Barack Obama is a heavy favorite against Mitt Romney. The president holds a slight but strong lead in key electoral states. This doesn’t sit well with many political pundits, who insist that the outcome is anyone’s guess and headed down to the wire. Many of these people have directed their anger toward Silver, whose New York Times-hosted blog has predicted a strong probability of an Obama victory since June. They insist he is biased or sloppy in his methodology, even though they seem unaware of how he makes his predictions and of statistical analysis in general. They say—and I’m not kidding—he’s too gay for this sort of work.
In retrospect, we should’ve seen it coming. It was only a matter of time before the war on expertise spilled over into the cells of Nate Silver’s spreadsheets. In fact, in some ways it had already. Turns out that nothing could have prepared Silver better for the slings and arrows of a surly and willfully obtuse pundit class than working on the fringes of sportswriting over the past decade.
…Ohio is central enough in the electoral math that it now seems to matter as much as the other 49 states put together.
“I am not sure whether I should be congratulating you or consoling you if you happen to be reading this in Toledo.
We’ll need to wait another day or two before we can make a more confident judgement on the size of Mr. Romney’s bounce, but the information we have so far points toward its being a little underwhelming.
The FiveThirtyEight ‘now-cast,’ which does not adjust for the bounces associated with the party conventions, estimates that Mr. Obama would have a 72.3 percent chance of winning if the election were held today. That’s essentially unchanged from before the conventions, when the number had ranged between about 70 percent and 74 percent.
The ‘VP Bounce’ — or why Romney backers shouldn’t get excited about polling.
Over at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver dismisses the idea that any boost in the polling for Romney after his choice of Paul Ryan for his running mate shows momentum for the Republican ticket.
The issue is simply this: in past elections, candidates have typically gotten a “bounce” in the polls after naming their running mates. When I use the term bounce, what I mean is that they get a temporary boost to their numbers which then fades. But while the bounce is under way, the polls will overrate their standing somewhat.
He goes on to write that, under one model, “it’s a bad sign for Mr. Romney that Mr. Ryan has produced a below-average bounce so far.” But remember that it’s called a “bounce” for a reason — it goes up and comes back down again.
Stories to Watch: 9/14/11
Frost warning tonight. Nothing says “summer’s going away” like a frost warning. Cover up your tomatoes, people. Now here’s the news…
A Bloomberg poll finds that voters aren’t very excited about Obama’s jobs plan — 51% are opposed, 41% supportive. Which is weird, because Gallup found people supporting it, 54% - 32%. Likewise, Reuters/Ipsos found that Obama got a little bump from his jobs speech and introduction of the plan. Looks like Bloomberg’s results are being outvoted.
Democrats haven’t been doing well in special elections. Does that spell trouble for President Obama? Nate Silver has bad news.
Louie Gohmert plays the politics of “you snooze, you lose.”
The Pennsylvania GOP tries to game the electoral college to deny Obama a 2012 win.
Rick Perry’s claim that he only got five grand from the company that makes HPV vaccine turns out to be mostly bullshit.
Compare and contrast: Ron Paul’s vision of American healthcare vs. Barack Obama’s.
It’s shit like this, Obama: “According to the Financial Times, President Obama is going to propose cuts of ‘several hundred billion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid,’ when he presents his proposal for deficit reduction next Monday.” It’s a lot easier to win these fights when you don’t start by agreeing that your opponent is right — especially when they aren’t.
Meanwhile, Blue Dogs continue to ignore the fact that they got their asses handed to them in 2010. This time, they’re playing “adult” by siding with the GOP against Obama’s jobs plan. Your path to electoral victory through Republicanism-lite was a huge failure, people. Deal with it.
Finally, here’s a Republican solution to unemployment — import big ol’ Burmese pythons and fabulous wealth will follow. No, really.
Stories to Watch: 8/26/11
Short one today. I’ve got stuff I need to finish up. Now here’s the news…
David Brooks is no fan of Rick Perry. Not surprisingly, the ‘baggers are. Michele Bachmann continues to be yesterday’s news. In fact, her diva act is starting to get people’s nerves.
Hurricane Irene could be a “multi-billion dollar catastrophe,” according to Nate Silver. It probably won’t be, but it could be. You know that old saying about hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst? Yeah, maybe we should start applying that to something other than military spending.
Details of the Wisconsin Supreme Court dust up are out and the story’s still as clear as mud.
More on just how wrong Obama is about the value of phony centrism; polling shows independents — i.e., the center — wants him to fight the GOP more.
Remember how it was such an awful idea to bail out American automakers? Yeah, about that; it wasn’t.
Finally, Ron Paul pines for the good old days of federal disaster response. You know, back when there was no federal disaster response.
Stories to Watch: 7/25/11
My bedroom fan died and I had to get a new one. It was weird, because it just quit in the middle of the night and I woke up instantly. The new one is a lot quieter, but it pumps out a lot more air. Seriously, the last one was a lot of fan-noise and very little fan-action. Like you care. Now here’s the news…
Proof that Boehner’s less of a leader and more of a figurehead; when he came up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling, he had to clear it with Rush Limbaugh. Not that that helped any. Nate Silver looks at Boehner’s position and finds it extremely tough for him to get the votes.
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl puts the odds of beating the August 2 debt limit deadline at 40%. I’m thinking that makes him a cockeyed optimist. It’s starting to look like the GOP has made government so dysfunctional that they couldn’t arrange to find their own butts with a flashlight, compass, map, and Sherpa guide.
The right’s stretchy, illogical, and perplexing effort to pin the blame for the Norway terror attacks on — wait for it — Muslims.
On a related note, Fox & Friends continues to be the stupidest and most shameless thing on TV.
Speaking of shameless, here’s a bit of shameless racism: a black student at an Arkansas high school was denied the valedictorian honor, despite having highest grade-point average of her class. According to the report, “school administrators and personnel treated two other white students as heir[s] apparent to the valedictorian and salutatorian spots.” Don’t follow that link if you don’t want to get mad.
After being defeated at the box office, Sarah Palin’s movieUndefeated is headed for pay-per-view, where it’ll probably be defeated by porn.
Hey, remember that whole election thing? Yeah, Shelly Bachmann and Timmy Pawlenty are tearing each other’s throats out. So that’s going well.
Finally, the Norwegian terrorist wingnut really, really, really liked a bunch of rightwing bloggers and pundits. Of course, pointing that uncomfortable fact out is the worst thing ever.