Monday, October 29, 2012

Nate Silver Fast on His Way to One-Term Celebrity

Robert Stacy McCain's in Ohio hoping to get in a decent bit of reporting, despite the political disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy. See, "FROM OHIO: Schedule Scrambled; Obama, Romney Cancel Campaign Events," and "SCENES FROM ROMNEY-RYAN RALLY."

But we're in luck. Jonathan Tobin is pulling suicide watch at Commentary, "Infallible Election Prognosticators Tend to Have Brief Careers":
Back in May 2011, the leading liberal poll analyst of this election cycle returned to his roots in an op-ed published in the New York Times. Nate Silver, who had parlayed a brilliant record as an independent numbers cruncher in the 2008 presidential election into a gig as the paper’s political blogger in the age of Obama, first made his name as a writer as a baseball guy and one of the leading exponents of new and advanced ways of looking at baseball statistics. On May 9, 2011, Silver penned a piece for the Times explaining why New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter was finished as a baseball star. Given that that the Yankees shortstop had an uncharacteristically mediocre 2010 season and was off to a slow start in 2011, it was hard to argue with Silver’s conclusion.

Except the very same day that Silver was planting Jeter’s tombstone in the Times, the future Hall-of-Famer got four hits, including two home runs in a game. I noted this embarrassing development in a blog post here titled, “The Perils of Punditry: That’s Why They Play the Games.” For my pains, I was subjected to a chorus of abuse via e-mail and Twitter from Silver’s fans, most of which knew nothing about Sabermetrics. Indeed, another Times blogger noted my criticism (which was laced with respect for Silver’s work on both baseball and politics) and ironically noted, “the jury was out” on whether the results of “one game” could disprove the great Nate.

The jury was out in May, but within a few months, Silver’s fans would be dropping that prediction of his down the proverbial memory hole as Jeter put together a stellar second half of 2011 and followed it up with a brilliant 2012 in which he led the Major Leagues in base hits. That didn’t mean Silver didn’t know what he was talking about, but it was proof that a proper understanding of what has already happened didn’t necessarily give even the smartest of researchers the ability to predict the future. Fast forward to the last days of the 2012 presidential election campaign, and it looks like that day in May wasn’t the only time Silver’s crystal ball has clouded up.
Continue reading.


* "Akron Beacon Poll Finds Ohio Dead Heat at 49-49 — Presidential Race Tighter Than Obama's A**hole in a Prison Shower."

* "Nate Silver: Voice of the New Castrati."

* "If Bias Doesn't Matter Why Would Bill Maher Host Nate Silver on 'Real Time'?"

* "Oh My! Romney Back Up to 51 Percent in Gallup's Daily Tracking — Nate Silver Hardest Hit!"

* "'Grand Swami' Nate Silver Boosts O's Chances to 71.0% in Electoral College!"

* "Obama Crashing in Ohio; or, For the Love of Mercy, Leave Nate Silver Alone!"

* "Nate Silver Calls It: Advantage Obama!"

* "Nate Silver's Flawed Model."

* "Boom! Romney Back Up 52-45 in Gallup's Daily Tracking of Likely Voters."

* "ABC News Touts Nate Silver's Prediction That Obama's Handicapped at 68 Percent Chance to Win!"

* "'It's becoming increasingly obvious that Silver can't be taken seriously...'"

* "Nate Silver Blows Gasket as Gallup Shows Romney Pulling Away in the Presidential Horse Race."

More later...

ADDED: There's more at Memeorandum, for example, from Elspeth Reeve "People Who Can't Do Math Are So Mad At Nate Silver." And Tim Stanley, at Telegraph UK, "Nate Silver is partisan and wrong. The voters will decide Romney v Obama, not The New York Times":
In the history of presidential elections, has there ever been such an effort by one side to poll their way to victory? While the Republicans have spoken this season about jobs and debt – willing themselves to a moral victory – the Democrats have talked constantly about how well their guy is polling in one or two states. The goal is to create a sense of inevitability, to convince the public to vote for Obama because he’s a winner and who wouldn’t want to vote for the winner? We’ve witnessed the evolution of polling from an objective gauge of the public mood to a propaganda tool: partisan and inaccurate.

Step forward Nate Silver of the New York Times. Nate has been an open supporter of the President and his newspaper just endorsed Obama (although it also went for Dukakis, so it ain’t that good at picking winners). But context doesn’t matter because maths is maths and maths can’t lie – and Nate says that, according to his model, Obama has a 74.6 per cent chance of winning. You might find that figure a little odd given that on the same page you’ll see that Obama is ahead by less than 3 per cent nationally and his advantage lies in one state, Ohio. It’s even odder when you consider how it conflicts with other polls that emerged this weekend giving a virtual tie in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It’s damn near-surreal when you discover that Gallup puts Romney ahead by four points among (and this distinction is critical) likely voters. Meanwhile, Obama’s job approval rating is heading downwards. Does Nate know something that the rest of the world doesn’t?
Actually, no. Nate Silver's an idiot, plain an simple, the mouthpiece for the "New Castrati."

Continue reading about the polling clown wonder boy.

STILL MORE: At Legal Insurrection, "If Nate Silver cannot be wrong, how can he be right?":
I find the whole focus on Silver and his presidential election “model” to be particularly annoying...
Well, Silver's obvious bias is annoying, but RTWT.