KSJ Tracker Tag: polls

November 7, 2012

Nate Silver: the verdict.

Nate Silver's rational approach to politics seems to provoke highly irrational responses.

At SlateDaniel Engber writes that Silver, author of the FiveThirtyEight blog at The New York Times, "appears to have hit the mark in every state--a perfect 50 green M&Ms for accuracy." Engber links to a map of Silver's predictions versus a map of the results. Impressive, right? But Engber can't leave it at that. He notes that the averaged state-wide polls said much the same thing: "Nate Silver didn't nail it; the pollsters did."

November 5, 2012

In defense of Nate Silver: Pundits bare their misunderstanding.

I feel sorry for Dylan Byers, a media blogger at Politico, and, from what I read, an entertaining and competent writer.

I'm embarrassed for David Brooks, a conservative columnist at The New York Times and a smart guy who writes about human nature in addition to politics.

As for Joe Scarborough, I'm always happy to catch a few minutes of his intelligent msnbc morning show, Morning Joe, when my kids aren't watching Phineas and Ferb. But I'm cringing at his remarks, too.

October 1, 2012

A critical detail buried: Political scientists predict election outcome

Dan Balz of The Washington Post did an interesting story over the weekend, or so I thought initially. With all the polls showing a trend toward Obama, and the election only weeks away, what do political scientists say about who will win?

I'm not sure that expert are going to have the inside track on things, but I thought it would be interesting to hear what they had to say.

Balz began with numbers and percentages from people with impressive academic titles, and I was wrapped up in it until I got to the sixth graf. "Their projection, made 299 days before the election..."

What? They made these projections last year? Who cares what somebody thought last year; we didn't even know who the Republican nominee would be. 

I felt misled. Balz might have better left all of this to moulder in the academic journal in which he found it. Or if he was determined to report it, he should have told us in the lede that these projections were made last year.

-Paul Raeburn