Nate Silver Wins

Ken AshfordElection 2012, PollsLeave a Comment

I urge everyone to read this Politico piece from last week, slamming Nate Silver ("Nate Silver: One-term celebrity?")

Now, look at this:

This is how punditry ends

That is Nate's map of his final predictions.  Just like the real thing.

The creepiest thing about Nate’s prediction is that the only state that he didn’t claim better than 79% certainty about was Florida, which he called as an almost exact tie (probability of going for Obama: 50.3%). Naturally Florida is, as of this writing, leaning towards Obama but still too close to call.

Prediction isn't an exact science, but it's not voodoo either.  Silver has already shown what he can do with math and sports (see the movie "Moneyball").  He'll be the first to tell you that he can be wrong.  But to be so dismissive of number-crunching — well, that comes from the same place as people who are dismissive of global warming.

Hopefully the right wing pundits who bashed Nate Silver, and the polls in general, will be a little cowed this morning.

Along those lines, if you want some good post-election reading about why so many on the right were delusional about Romney's chances, read this article.  An excerpt:

Some Romney aides were surprised too, especially since they had put an enormous amount of effort into tracking the hour-by-hour whims of the electorate.  In recent weeks the campaign came up with a super-secret, super-duper vote monitoring system that was dubbed Project Orca.  The name “Orca,” after the whale, was apparently chosen to suggest that the project was bigger than anything any other campaign, including Barack Obama’s in 2008, had ever imagined.  For the project, Romney aides gathered about 34,000 volunteers spread across the swing states to send in information about what was happening at the polls.  “The project operates via a web-based app volunteers use to relay the most up-to-date poll information to a ‘national dashboard’ at the Boston headquarters,” said a campaign email on election eve.  “From there, data will be interpreted and utilized to plan voter turnout tactics on Election Day.”

Orca, which was headquartered in a giant war room spread across the floor of the Boston Garden, turned out to be problematic at best.  Early in the evening, one aide said that, as of 4 p.m., Orca still projected a Romney victory of somewhere between 290 and 300 electoral votes.  Obviously that didn’t happen.  Later, another aide said Orca had pretty much crashed in the heat of the action.  “Somebody said Orca is lying on the beach with a harpoon in it,” said the aide.

Also, very good readingHow Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File

Also… here's 34 wrong election predictions

  1. Before the election, Karl Rove predicted Mitt Romney would win 279 electoral votes.
  2. Rove gets two mentions because after the election, he continued to predict a Romney victory—even as everyone else concluded Romney had lost. Which he had.
  3. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John McCain's top economic adviser, thought turnout would win it for Romney.
  4. House Speaker John Boehner said Romney would win Ohio.
  5. Steve Forbes said the polls were wrong and that Romney would win.
  6. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Romney would carry Virginia.
  7. Dick Morris said Romney would win 325 electoral votes.
  8. Dean Chambers, inventor of the unskewed polls nonsense, said Romney would take 311 electoral votes.
  9. Michael Barone predicted a Romney landslide.
  10. George Will said Romney would win big.
  11. John Bolton said he was "very confident" Romney would win.
  12. Wayne Allen Root predicted a Romney landslide.
  13. Stu Rothenberg said the race was too close to call, even though it was clear from all available data that President Obama had a significant advantage.
  14. Pat Toomey said Romney would win Pennsylvania.
  15. Peggy Noonan said "vibrations" told her Romney was about to win.
  16. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said Romney would carry Pennsylvania.
  17. Charles Krauthammer said Romney would win a close victory.
  18. Suffolk stopped polling in Virginia and Florida because they decided Romney had locked those states up.
  19. The head of Mason-Dixon polling said Mitt Romney had nailed down Florida.
  20. Fred Barnes confidently explained to everyone why Romney will win.
  21. Joe Scarborough mocked Nate Silver for relying on data and said he would rather be in Mitt Romney's shoes than President Obama's.
  22. Eric Cantor declared Romney would win Virginia.
  23. Romney's own campaign predicted he would win 300 electoral votes.
  24. Glenn Beck predicted a Romney landslide.
  25. Jeb Bush said Florida would go Romney's way.
  26. Ohio Gov. John Kasich not only said Romney would win Ohio, but that he'd seen internal polls showing Romney ahead.
  27. David Brooks mocked analysis like Nate Silver's.
  28. Dylan Byers treated Nate Silver's partisan opponents with equal credibility as Silver himself.
  29. Bill Kristol predicted a Romney victory.
  30. Ari Fleischer said Romney would win comfortably.
  31. James Pethokoukis of American Enterprise Institute predicted a Romney win.
  32. Newt Gingrich guaranteed Romney would win by at least six points.
  33. Dave Weigel predicted a Romney victory.
  34. Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard claimed Romney would win.