Yesterday was a great day for women, a great day for Democrats, and a great day for Obama. But there was another group of big winners yesterday- math and people who know things. Nate Silver was right. Again.
We’ve spent the last month with virtually every know-nothing bigmouth in the country with a microphone or a keyboard crapping all over him. He was basically called a fag by right-wingers, and bullshit artists like Joe Scarborough were wrong. Again:
Nate Silver was right. The Gallup Poll was wrong.
Silver, the computer expert who gave Obama a 90 percent chance of winning re-election, predicted on his blog, FiveThirtyEight (for the number of seats in the Electoral College), that the president would receive 51 percent of the popular vote as he called each of the 50 states, including all nine battlegrounds.
“Nate Silver, right,” said Bill Burton, who moved from the White House to the pro-Obama super-political action committee Priorities USA Action.
Every moron who cited that ignorant hump at Unskewed Polls, or actually listened to foot fetishist Dick Morris, or the increasingly deranged Michael Barone, should just be ignored from here on out. Anyone who, with a straight face, cites Rasmussen polls, should be laughed out of the room.
Conservatism, in the US today, is convincing people to sit through ads for Goldline.
Karl Rove, George Will, Scott Rasmussen, and Michael Barone were just doing their jobs. They should all get raises.
ADDED: Or, as Davis X. Machina put it over four years ago: “Movement ‘conservatism’ has roughly the same intellectual content as being, say, a Milwaukee Brewers fan. Throw away your Burke and Oakeshott and get a big foam “We’re #1 finger”, because that’s the level at which movement ‘conservatism’ is conducted.”
should be laughed out of the room.
But they won’t…
Preach it brother! As someone who likes math myself, I am always happy to sing praises to math guys.
I am still a bit puzzled as to why anyone outside Mr. Romney’s immediate family voted for him.
Rasmussen is the one that interests me the most.
Morris, Barone and the others ignored the numbers, but Rasmussen manufactured fake results.
Morris/Barone get paid to lie, we all know that. But will Rasmussen continued to be paid to provide imaginary polling results? Will anyone, the right wing included, want to pay for this garbage again in another few years?
Got sumthin to do with science,math,statistics,arithmetic,facts. That’s my scientific hypothesis,theory – stuff I learned in skool. Stuff that repubs don’t cotton to.
Like 4-year-olds, the conservatives just put their fingers in their ears and yelled “LA-LA-LA, I can’t hear mathematics!!!”
Enhanced Mooching Techniques
Dick Morris was going on about “sure I was completely and horribly wrong, but the solution is for the GOP to double down”. I am driven to wonder if Morris is a plant by the Democrats.
I know we didn’t stick a knife through the heart of evil yesterday, but I think we dealt it a good, hard blow.
Should be, but won’t. No one has ever gotten fired for telling their audience exactly what they want to hear.
Already, I’m hearing a steady chorus of Romney wasn’t conservative enough because he didn’t scream: Benghazi! Fast and Furious! Solyndra! at every opportunity.
I mentioned this earlier today, but it was a bit surreal to watch Scarborough congratulate Chuck Todd and his crew on getting the polls so right, because the last NBC poll had Obama at +1. Then Chuck talking about how their polling outfit is full of awesome sauce because they spend a lot of money on it. Anyone else catch all of that wankery?
I didn’t watch the whole Morning Joe show this AM, but for the part I did watch, there was no mention of Silver.
“The world loves to be amused by hollow professions, to be deceived by flattering appearances, to live in a state of hallucination; and can forgive everything but the plain, downright, simple, honest truth.”
― William Hazlitt
(Thats the “when they pause” guy BTW)
@reflectionephemeral: In a perfect world Rove should be fired. He was given 300 million and couldn’t even buy the voters of Ohio.
One quibble: Gallup is a poll, and while it was technically wrong in the final count it was within the margin of error and all polling has some randomness built in.
Silver and other uses polls like Gallup and others as the biggest parts of their models. So its not quite right to cast Gallup as being on the wrong side of this, when the information they provided is part of what made Silver correct. Even Rassmussen, bias and all, helped the modelers nail their calls.
The last two elections have been really attacking some Conservative sacred cows – things like the fact that the government should be allowed to tax people and regulate businesses (whether the fed has actually DONE so or not, it’s the principle of the thing), and now the fact that science can actually work even in the face of really loud magical thinking.
Science beats alchemy every time.
Nate’s gotta be feeling good today.
(Though, I argue, not as good as Dick Lugar.)
Some of Nate’s results were eerily accurate, for example in those states that had just a few or no polls at all, like Oklahoma. He missed a few percentage points in some states, probably because it’s hard to quantify the difference in ground game (it’s what prevented him from calling Indiana in 2008). But also, some polls simply distorted reality, like when Rasmussen was almost the only pollster for the ND Senate race. And of course, the national polls were too pessimistic, especially Rasmussen and Gallup, who used Sandy as a cheap excuse. I think that the demands of a daily national poll cannot be met anymore with low response rates and fewer landlines.
pundits: egg on face
statisticians: on the nose
@dedc79: I don’t think Ras was lying so much as using a turnout model that tilted R a bit more than the others. Just a few points is all it took to make it look like all the swing states were gonna go for Romney.
In other words, he wasn’t so much fudging the data as he was using a different ruler than everyone else.
Can we all point and laugh at Chuck Todd now too please? Didn’t he earn his credentials as a good numbers guy before he turned into a blathering pundit?
This pundit dartboard is full of graphical win.
@Enhanced Mooching Techniques:
He probably lost a bet to Clinton.
I think I have a new favorite writer:
“Modern fanaticism thrives in proportion to the quanitity of contradictions and nonsense it poures down the throats of the gaping multitude, and the jargon and mysticism it offers to their wonder and credulity.”
― William Hazlitt
Actually, Nate did not do as well as other quants like Sam Wang (332 prediction in August in election.princeton.edu) and Drew Linzer (same prediction in July in votamatic.org). All three have different methods, but seemed to converge. You can count on numbers.
People will pay big money to maintain their delusions.
As I tell my 8 year old, “It doesn’t matter what language you speak, or what country you are in. Two + two will always equal four. It can’t ever be any different. That’s the beauty of math.”
He gets it and so do all the mainstream pundits. Using math and rational, definable truths puts them out of business. Their slicing and dicing of how the electorate is feeling, and why, is irrelevant against a number that always equals the same thing no matter how you’re feeling that day.
@butler: Gallup had Romney at +7 for a couple of days and +5 a week before the election. Romney was never that far ahead.
Gallup is a joke.
Dick Morris is a joke and Rove can be understood in that he was actually running a con and has pocketed his money.
Peggy Noonan will pay no price.
George Will will pay no price.
EDT: Looking at the link above – Did Jim Cramer actually forecast O 440? I thought weed was illegal before yesterday.
Emegency sirens are currently sounding off all over MN. I think we’re supposed to report to our re-education camp now.
@Comrade Jake: I think that’s giving him too much credit. They found a party ID that no other polling outfit found and used those percentages to reweight their polls. Can call it whatever you want but it strikes me as dishonest.
There was a wingnut email going around the last couple of days about a huge FEMA/Black helicopter operation in North Dakota. It was supposed to be in preparation for Willards big win & the Kenyan Usurper’s declaring marshall law to maintain power.
I suppose the are comforting themselves today by claiming since all the vote fraud reelected POTUS they are not being sent to a reeducation camp in ND at the beginning of winter!
That “dartboard” graphic is full of win: though I was surprised to see that George Will was runner-up for the least-accurate-prediction award. Dick Morris and Jim Cramer one can;t expect too much from, but Will’s been around a long time, he ought to know better…
@gbear: They just woke up the baby. I fucking HATE the first Wednesday of each month.
@Hill Dweller: I’m aware of where Gallup had it in their LV screen, which was obviously too tight. But their final poll was R+1 for LV and O+3 for RV, much more in line with both other polling results and the final results.
2000 was similar: they had Bush up by 3-4 points late in the game, but then their polls converged to a coin flip, which is what happened. These things happen in polling.
My broader point was that you can’t directly compare modelers like Silver to pollsters like Gallup, since the former uses the data of the latter to make their predictions. Without Gallup (and others) there is no Silver.
Funny. If you go over to over now to Unskewed, it seems to be frozen in time in pre-election night mode. Not any updates beyond ‘Huge Romney turnout!’
sorry for abusing the thread but I love this guy! Never heard of him before but am going to have to find his books & learn a bit more about him!
“Violent antipathies are always suspicious, and betray a secret affinity.”
“Though familiarity may not breed contempt, it takes off the edge of admiration.”
― William Hazlitt
@Robin G.: During the first gulf war, we had televisions set up all over the office so we could watch what was happening. The office had a student worker who was from the middle east. While we were working, the sirens started blaring (first wednesday) and I noticed that the student had a look of total terror and confusion on his face. What is happening and why is no one responding?? I let him know that it was only a test, but I’d imagine that he’d had to go through the real thing at home.
After dodging a Romney bullet last night, can we please get a letter/petition going to convince Ginsburg to retire already?
@quannlace: He’s getting what views are left for his ads. The fact that it is folks coming by to gawk at the car crash doesn’t diminish his revenue.
Actually, give the “ignorant hump at Unskewed,” Dean Chambers, credit, because this is what he told Business Insider this morning:
No hedges, no spin, no excuses. He just manned up.
Not only that, he also called some other GOP pollsters out by name, particularly including Scott Rasmussen, of whom he said, “He has lost a lot of credibility as far as I’m concerned.”
Consequences for mendacity? NEVER!
Don’t bet on it.
Herbal Infusion Bagger
Yeah, but Ras always follows the same pattern: he shows a big GOP lean and then tweaks the likely voter model a few days before the election to get close to the consensus forecast so he doesn’t look too foolish.
I feel there is a con going on, but it’s the GOPer’s who are getting conned by Ras. Maybe he’s making most of his money from doing GOP internal polls and has a GOP-leaning tracking poll as a signal to his GOP clients he’s “one of them”.
Having said that, he got it less wrong than Gallup or NPR’s pollsters. Gallup’s numbers *sucked*, and whoever devised their LV model is probably going to be looking for a job next week.
Hopefully in the next two years, because aren’t there some senate races up in 2014? Let’s get this shit done while we have a clear Senate majority.
Nate Silver was right. The Gallup Poll was wrong.
I’m with Hill Dweller and Ex Regis.
The Gallup likely voter screen was utterly screwed (worse than last time). The Gallup registered voter screen did OK. Gallup’s likely voter estimation was way way way off. Ramussen can just be ignored. The astroturfing poll operations got the effect they were looking for – they tilted the RCP averages enough to give the R’s hope. (That’s what Karl Rove was counting on.)
Here’s the thing – going by the numbers so far, Romney got 2 million *fewer* votes than John McCain did. It was as close as it was, because Obama’s got 9 million fewer votes this time. Nonetheless, Obama still managed to turn out enough minority (and white!) voters to win – enough of them to keep the minority turnout as the same percentage of the electorate.
Rove’s strategy was a disaster because concentrating on his hardcore base voters was a
losingshrinking proposition. Those folks always turn out, and they turned out in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Amping them up does the R’s no good.
Obama, on the other, clearly couldn’t get his voters out the way he did in 2008, particularly white voters. (If our white voters don’t turn out and theirs do, they win the white vote by bigger margins.) So that’s a problem for us. (Upside: things change, so we can get them back.) The pollsters (Gallup and Ramussen) are basically seeing only the R electorate as far as I can tell, and not seeing our electorate, which is obviously not as happy as they were four years ago probably due to the economy.
Anyways, Drew Linzer, Sam Wang, Nate Silver and Andrew Tanenbaum (famous to me, if not most D’s) – I like all of them.
[‘Never fear ignoring Ramussen.’]
@ Hill Dweller:
As already pointed out upthread, their LV model was much to tight. Their RV results were fairly close. They need to look at their LV screening for sure. And Romney was never ahead at all.
I love Nate Silver, don’t get me wrong, but what he did (predict all 50 states correctly on the eve of the election, based on public polls) is not particularly difficult.
In fact, anyone can do a polling aggregation and get the same result. And a lot of people did, like Sam Wang and Drew Linzer.
Linzer might be deserving of the most credit because his model showed 332 EVs for Obama throughout the year.
Will’s whole schtick is appearing to be thoughtful and reasonable while in reality, being a lurching lunatic. LGM had this classic Will clipping from the ’70s, raging at the pitfalls of easing the voter registration process.
Note: no bowtie yet.
I really crave some good Nate Silver photoshops. Nate Silver’s head on enthroned Conan the Barbarian, anyone?
@Enhanced Mooching Techniques: Dick Fucking Morris has a link titled “Why I was wrong” that goes straight to a page that says “Buy my book”.
Need I say more. Best thing to do is just ignore those people. They will never go away so you just gotta tune them out.
He’s still wrong about microkernels though.
Not to rain on the post-election parade, but….
While I’m certainly pleased at the results of the election (excpet for the House, but never mind for now), and pleased that Nate Silver’s reality-based forecasting panned out on the money, but I have a sinking feeling that this may be last election where that will be the case.
One thing that has always impressed me is the ability of the American Right Wing to cobble up its own alternate realities seemingly at a few days’ notice. My take on the whole “polling numbers” flap this year is that as soon as Mitt Romney failed to get the expected “poll bounce” out of their Convention (and as President Obama DID), the GOP and its media enablers went into full-panic mode and began hastily ginning up “polls” that showed the results they wanted to publicize: counting on the closed-circuit nature of the right-wing media loop (and the ghastly incompetence of the MSM) to bolster their candidates’ numbers, and, hopefully create the
illusionimage of a sure winner. Reality be damned…
It didn;t work very well – this time – but I have the sinking feeling that the RWNM is going to learn from its mistakes, and that the next election cycle is going to see a slew of new-and-different polling models from new-and-different pollsters, which will be endlessly promoted as being “less skewed” and “more balances” and/or more “sophisticated” – of course, all euphemisms for “biased towards OUR side” ; but “polling data” the rest of the media will pretty much have to rely on: after all, they don’t want to EVER look so biased/partisan as to actually doubt anything the Republicans put out…
@Tractarian: it is deceptively simple. The math is not difficult but keeping all emotion (and therefore bias) out of it is very very very difficult. If you don’t believe me just ask supposed experts Rasmussen, Gallup, etc. etc.
I would say that poll aggregation and Teh Maths did extremely well as a whole, and so did Nate Silver as the public face of it… but Silver’s particular model didn’t have a great night in the Senate. Tester looks to win by 4% and Silver’s model picked against the polls (+1.3% for Tester), and said Rehberg would win. Maybe random chance, but those secret econometric/demographic factors in his model are pretty suspect.
So Nate Silver’s a computer expert? I thought he was a statistician who uses computers to crunch his numbers…like every other statistician on the planet. I guess Bloomberg thinks my 10-year-old niece who uses a computer to post on Facebook twenty times a day is computer expert too.
I’m not quite sure where you’re getting this from — minority voters were up across the board, and Obama again got 80 percent of the minority vote while losing only 3% of the white vote.
What seems to have been the problem with the “likely voter” model most of the pollsters used is that their model assumed that 2008 was a fluke and the number of minority voters would go back down to 2004 levels when in fact the number of minority voters increased over 2008’s numbers. Whoops.
WTF is up with FYWP today? It’s just swallowing comments without so much as a “your comment is awaiting moderation.”
Lemme try “read this.”
@blingee: But the math is what we’re praising Silver for, not his unbiased commentary (right?).
I don’t pretend to know how pollsters do their thing, but it seems to me that emotion shouldn’t even theoretically affect the numbers they churn out. You just report what you hear from voters – period. Almost every pollster other than Gallup and Ras was able to do this, and do it well. And while we know Ras is a right-wing outfit, I don’t think we can chalk up Gallup’s failure to partisanship. It’s just incompetence.
@Jay C: Are you suggesting that a new cottage industry of Rasmussen lookalikes will emerge, thereby unduly skewing the aggregators? Possible. But Nate (unlike RCP, for example) has a solution to that – weighting. In particular, weighting that takes into account house effects. So, no, this isn’t the last election when poll aggregates will correctly predict the outcome.
wtf is going on with florida? Still sitting at 97% counted. Also OH is still sitting at 90% and it’s only 2% difference rather than 3-5% all the polls were saying. I hope someone is looking into that because looks fishy to me. Luckily it won’t matter so there is no incentive anymore for them to try cheat. I hope someone is keeping an eye what is going on in case they try reverse some funny business there were planning.
RE: Nate Silver was right. Again.
Some of negative reaction to Silver is intransigent insider bullshit.
Yesterday, the Hollywood Reporter reported how all the networks were quietly getting their exit poll analyses together:
Shorter: the networks were letting Village idiots beat up on Silver while using the same analytical techniques and tools to get their own shit together for their election coverage.
So the bullshit wars continue, and suckers keep going for the bait.
Fortunately, there is als this bracing corrective:
Pundits Wrongly Predicting Romney Landslide Trashed Online
From the Hollywood Reporter story:
When networks like MSNBC began projecting Obama as the winner at around 8:15 p.m. PST, pundits wrongly predicting a Romney landslide were taken to task on the web.
Aziz Ansari tweeted: “Karl Rove bout to give a Suge Knight style BEAT DOWN to the dude who was supposed to rig the machines.”
Greg Berlanti wrote: “That awkward moment when Karl Rove’s bullshit doesn’t even work on Fox News Anchors…”
Frank Rich tweeted: “Does @ABC have any obligation to hold George Will accountable for his prediction of 321 Mitt EVs? A serious news org must.”
Sean Collins tweeted: “Karl Rove is a war criminal. Remember that.”
William Richardson wrote Tuesday evening: “Barbara Walters is painful to watch on so many levels. Seriously ABC, why drag that bag of bones and George Will out of senior living home”
“Oh good. George Will is on ABC. They can ask him about his Romney landslide prediction,” Peter Hart tweeted.
Daniel McCarthy said: “What happened to Peggy Noonan’s vibrations? George Will? Michael Barone? Titans of conservative journalism, not GOP hacks, right?”
“Karl Rove vs. Michael Barrone on Fox News…Rove refuses to concede and it is causing chaos with the staff,” observed a Twitter user with the name PierreNapoleonLaVoie.
“Michael Barone is going to punch Karl Rove in the waddle,” said Luke Ryan.
“Karl Rove lost. Dick Morris lost big. Michael Barone lost huge,” tweeted Toure.
“RIP Karl Rove,” wrote Mark Nikolewski.
I really felt bad for a not-terribly-useful idiot in the Intrade comments last night who sounded absolutely broken, as well as broke – said that she’d put her entire life savings into betting on Romney because Unskewed polls said that he was a sure thing – “only the biased media was saying that Obama was going to win, everybody else was sure it was going to be a Romney landslide” – stuff like that. It was like Ralphie discovering that Little Orphan Annie’s secret message was a commercial for Ovaltine, but only after he took out a mortgage to corner the decoder pin market.
@max: Obama got about 6million fewer (will be once all the votes are in). Romney will get less than 1million fewer than McCain. So Romney basically got the same voters McCain did less all the ones that died and maybe a tiny bit less non-whites.
So the spin is that Obama was always fighting voter apathy, and instead of trying to take some of those voters away the Rethugs just tried to work on that apathy and suppress the vote as much as possible. The smart thing would have been to work on getting more of those votes as well.
Given a truly shitty economy, massive unemployment, and 4 years of a steady drumbeat of white tribalist rage, and Obama only lost 3% of the whtie vote.
Pretty damn good outcome.
@dedc79: No, the tribal conservatives will just claim the librulz and demoncraps stole the election, that’s why Rasmussen was wrong.
@dedc79: No, the tribal conservatives will just claim the librulz and demoncraps stole the election, that’s why Rasmussen was wrong.
My phone makes it hard to reply to specific comments, but the point was not that silver didn’t rely on polling data. The point was that some polls were simply junk. Silver stated before the election that gallops polls were crap and he was right.
So because Silver was completely correct, the “public ombudsman” of the NYT will be apologizing for her attempted slapdown of Silver, right? Right? Bueller?
@unsympathetic: Correctness is no defense.
Is “ignorant hump” a thing?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: You know, I’m a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump.
Igor: What hump?
Full metal wingnuts on FB all a-Twitter about Florida recount.
And best of all, the Republicans utterly failed to skew the voting machine totals. They couldn’t even steal the election.
Incompetent fucktards. Liberals now need to beat on the Republicans with spiked baseball bats. Whack! Take their kneecaps out. Wham! Mangle their elbows. Blam! Take out one of their eyes.
No more mister nice guy. Raise the minimum wage, reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, appoint massive numbers of judges by recess appointments. Now that Republicans are on the run, crush ’em. Grind ’em into hamburger.
They want war? Give ’em war. No mercy. No survivors. Let the Republican party disappear from the face of the earth.