Thursday, October 18, 2012

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

Gallup's not the highest ranked public opinion poll for predictive accuracy, but as the nation's original polling organization the firm's got enormous credibility and prestige. No doubt that helps explain why wonder boy Nate Silver's practically blown a gasket over the latest Gallup tracking numbers that find Mitt Romney pulling out a large lead in the presidential horse race, 52 to 45 among likely voters in the latest daily tracking.

Here's Silver's piece, which is especially noteworthy for its passive attack on Gallup for frankly ruining the guy's day, "Gallup vs. the World":

Nate Silver
Our database contains records from 136 distinct pollsters that have released at least one state or national survey at some point in this election cycle. Of those, 53 are active enough to have issued at least one survey since Oct. 1.

With so much data to sort through, it will usually be a counterproductive use of one’s time to get overly attached to the results of any one particular poll. Whether you look at the relatively simple averaging methods used by Web sites like Real Clear Politics, or the more involved techniques in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, the Gallup national tracking poll constitutes a relatively small part of the polling landscape...
Er, okay...

"A relatively small part of the polling landscape," which of means of course that it would be "counterproductive" to spend much time attempting to explain away such a horribly unrepresentative survey, right?

Well, no.

Little Boy Nate's pissed that Gallup's messing up Obama's mojo and he's going to use his perch at NYT's progressive propaganda shop to set the record straight for the right-thinking political cognoscenti. He continues, for example:
Over all, the Gallup daily tracking poll accounts for only about 3 percent of the weight in this stage of the calculation. The national tracking polls collectively, including Gallup, account for only about 10 percent of it. Most of the weight, instead, is given to the state polls.

This is, obviously, a rather detailed answer to the seemingly simple question of how much information is provided by the Gallup national tracking poll, as opposed to all the other state and national surveys.
Nevertheless, any rigorous attempt to consider the value of the Gallup poll would probably get you to something of the same answer. Perhaps the Gallup poll accounts for 5 or 10 percent of the information that an election analyst should evaluate on a given day.

The Gallup poll’s influence on the subjective perception about where the presidential race stands seems to be proportionately much greater than that, however — especially when the poll seems to diverge from the consensus.

This simply isn’t rational, in my view. As I discuss in my book, our first instincts are often quite poor when it comes to weighing information. We tend to put too much emphasis on the newest, most widely reported and most dramatic pieces of data — more than is usually warranted.
Poor Nate.

If Romney pulls out an upset on November 6th Pinch Sulzberger Jr.'s going to have to the wonder boy on suicide watch. Seriously. Anyone's who's pegging Obama at a 64.8 percent chance of winning the Electoral College at this point's obviously running a couple of quarts low already. An upset going to put that guy over the edge.

It's not helping that other major polls are also not cooperating with the wonder boy's super sophisticated shuck-and-jive razzmatazz rabitt-out-of-a-hat statistical polling shakedown model of progressive Democrat Orwellian truth generation. Here's a report from this morning, for example, at Reuters, "Romney gains on Obama on foreign policy issues: poll":
Republican challenger Mitt Romney has gained substantial ground on Democratic President Barack Obama on foreign policy issues but Obama still holds a narrow lead, a poll showed on Thursday.

Ahead of Monday's foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney, 47 percent of voters favor Obama and 43 percent back Romney when asked who could do a better job on foreign policy, according to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

"This represents a substantial gain for Romney, who trailed Obama by 15 points on foreign policy issues in September," Pew said.

The October 4-7 poll was carried out about three weeks after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which the U.S. ambassador was killed. Romney has seized on the issue to accuse Obama of failed leadership.

The poll involved 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 2.9 percent for adults and 3.3 percent for voters.
A 15 point pick-up since September 15th. Impossible!

Actually, not. The public's seen this president's 3:00am moment and it's not impressed. Perhaps polls coming out next week might show a little improvement in Obama's numbers when factoring in the Candy Crowley handicap, but then again, Romney'll be playing for keeps on foreign policy on Monday, and the Republican challenger may well deliver the coup de grâce to the embattled incumbent.

I'll update on Nate Silver's psychiatric condition at that time.

UPDATE: The Lonely Conservative links, "Romney Surges In Polls, Nate Silver Hardest Hit":
Now, I’m not hoping that Silver will wind up on suicide watch. There’s no need, because he can always go back to baseball. Oh, wait, is he a Yankees fan? I don’t know, never mind.
And there's a Memeorandum thread now as well, the second thread I've gotten this week. Cool!

More from The Other McCain, "Nate Silver Asks: Whose Shark Is This, and Why Do I Feel a Need to Jump It?"

Still more. Linked at Larwyn's Linx. Thanks!

And Newser too!