SL Tribune

Topics of a general nature regarding snowsports, which don't easily fit into one of our other Liftlines categories. This is also the place to post Letters to the Editor.

Re: SL Tribune

Postby Marc_C » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:38 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:The penultimate FiveThirtyEight: he favors Mitt in FL and NC, and Obama in all the other battleground states.

We'll soon find out if he's a purveyor of partisan hackery or unemotional, spin-free analysis. I'll say this -- his writing style and vocabulary mirror Tony's uncannily.

Silver uses a statistical model (and a pretty simple one at that) and it seems to work reasonably well - he correctly called 49 states in the last election.
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:27 am

And here's the final FiveThirtyEight. To use this tired cliche one last time (and I hope that it will be permanently retired after tonight), Silver is doubling/tripling/quadrupling down -- basically putting his entire reputation, deserved or not, and his dependence on public polls on the line with this call.

He's basically saying that the only possibility for the GOP is a "Dewey Defeats Truman" scenario. We shall see.
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:32 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Harold doesn't think much of Nate Silver. His political background was as an Obama volunteer in the primary season of 2008. He has never actually worked in political polling. He puts poll number results into a computer without adequately analyzing the quality of the data, then accepts average or aggregated results. Thinking you can aggregate national numbers from state polls doesn't work if the state polls weren't done properly.

Harold says Nate Silver does not know his political history well, has made numerous false statements about elections before his time. As in the financial arena it helps if your historical perspective extends back 30 years, not just to 2008. Harold worked full time in political polling design and analysis from ~1976-1981. Today Silver says Romney's probability of winning is 21%. Harold thinks it's at least 50%.

He called 50 out of 50 -- how would you and Harold like your crow prepared?
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby flyover » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:05 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:He called 50 out of 50 -- how would you and Harold like your crow prepared?


Hear hear!

Although, I'll admit I was a bit skeptical when, yesterday, he predicted Florida and Virginia for Obama.
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby Harvey44 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:48 pm

rfarren wrote:
jamesdeluxe wrote:Buzzards are circling:
http://www.dickmorris.com/in-the-last-f ... n-polling/


I love objective press like this that uses phrases like "We are still likely to win."


I was blown away when I accidentally ended up on the local philly NBC TV news last night for a few minutes. The "news" anchor said:

"Good news: Obama has been projected as the winner in Pennsylvania."

I thought pretending to be fair and balanced was part of the job description?
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby Skiace » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:19 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Harold doesn't think much of Nate Silver. His political background was as an Obama volunteer in the primary season of 2008. He has never actually worked in political polling. He puts poll number results into a computer without adequately analyzing the quality of the data, then accepts average or aggregated results. Thinking you can aggregate national numbers from state polls doesn't work if the state polls weren't done properly.

Competent polling methodology is expensive. Questions have to be designed carefully in both content and sequence to minimize bias. Response rates have declined steadily with unlisted numbers, cell phones, etc. Now we have more early voting as an additional complication. Time and money saving shortcuts can easily introduce bias, particularly with the low response rates. National organizations like Gallup have more resources to try to improve accuracy.

Harold says Nate Silver does not know his political history well, has made numerous false statements about elections before his time. As in the financial arena it helps if your historical perspective extends back 30 years, not just to 2008. Harold worked full time in political polling design and analysis from ~1976-1981.

Today Silver says Romney's probability of winning is 21%. Harold thinks it's at least 50%.

The bold critique in particular doesn't make much sense to me. Silver gives every poll a weighting in his averaging, based on a number of factors that could be considered "quality of the data." Such factors include the history of the given polling firm (accuracy as well as precision), the sample size of the poll, whether the poll used live operators or robo-calls, whether the poll contacted cell phones or only land-lines, how recent the poll was, whether it took place all on one day or over several, etc. He has written blog posts about all of these factors.

It makes sense that averaging many many polls from different polling firms and applying some moderate weighting to them ought to produce as good a prediction as anything else, and certainly better than any single polling firm can do on their own.

But his track-record speaks for itself thus far. 49 states correct in 2008 and what looks to be 50 states correct in 2012. He also called the 2010 GOP house takeover, though he was fairly late to make that call. I'm sure he will post a summary in the coming days or weeks assessing his own accuracy as well as other poll aggregation sites.

For now, here's Silver's predictions of the seven states that NYT called "toss-ups" and how they compare to results currently in:
(It should be noted that he had Florida as a Romney lean for weeks, but flipped it to just barely Obama-lean (50.3% chance) in the last day or two.)
Code: Select all
State   Silver      Actual   %reporting
CO      50.8-48.3   51-47      94
FL      49.8-49.8   50-49      97
IO      51.1-47.9   52-47      99
NH      51.4-47.9   52-47      99
OH      51.3-47.7   50-48      90
VA      50.7-48.7   51-48      99
WI      52.4-46.9   53-46      99
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:26 pm

Harvey44 wrote:I thought pretending to be fair and balanced was part of the job description?

This was one of the most fascinating TV moments in recent memory.
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:38 pm

he correctly called 49 states in the last election.

It doesn't mean that much. If you get the national margin of victory right, how many states are actually going to be close? Maybe 2-4. Most casual observers would get at last 45 unless it's a "surprise" last minute election like 1980.

So Silver was right because his overall prediction of Obama winning by ~2 points was right. As for why Harold thought the true national numbers were a dead heat, we'll have to wait until after I get home Nov. 26 to get his take on that.
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby Marc_C » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:13 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
he correctly called 49 states in the last election.

It doesn't mean that much. If you get the national margin of victory right, how many states are actually going to be close? Maybe 2-4. Most casual observers would get at last 45 unless it's a "surprise" last minute election like 1980.

So Silver was right because his overall prediction of Obama winning by ~2 points was right. As for why Harold thought the true national numbers were a dead heat, we'll have to wait until after I get home Nov. 26 to get his take on that.

The biggest reason the right-wingnuts hate and try to discredit Silver is that he spoke the truth and didn't stick to the right wing media story-line. The only people shocked that Mittens didn't win are those who get all their propaganda from Faux News.
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:45 pm

To echo flyover, in the days before the election, I really was convinced -- by what, I'm not sure -- that FL and VA were leaning Romney and was amazed that Silver, RealClearPolitics, and another (Talking Points?) had put them in the BO column. I guess that's the difference between "I have a funny feeling" intuitions and actually crunching the numbers.

While the "liberal media bias" discussion will probably never end, is it now fair to say, Tony, that the polls throughout the entire election were generally not skewed left?
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby Admin » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:59 pm

It's not that some were inherently right and others wrong, in my opinion, as all were based on certain turnout models. I am confident that all polled accurately, it's just that some got the turnout demographics right, and others didn't.

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Re: SL Tribune

Postby Skiace » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:55 pm

Admin wrote:It's not that some were inherently right and others wrong, in my opinion, as all were based on certain turnout models. I am confident that all polled accurately, it's just that some got the turnout demographics right, and others didn't.

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This is pretty much the core of the issue, I agree. But the majority of polling firms had the correct voter turnout models, as evidenced by the aggregation sites like 538 getting it right.

Those that expected a close result or a Romney electoral college landslide (FOX news pundits) assumed that non-white and young turnout would be down from 2008. The majority of public faces who held that position were well within the right-wing media bubble. But they were dead wrong, as non-white populations have and continue to grow in the US faster than the white population, and are continuing to show up to vote in significant numbers. It turned out that the GOP doubling-down on other-izing minorities and immigrants only motivated these groups to show up more. Not to mention the bizarre way they alienated women down the stretch with all those rape comments.

I was surprised that the under-30 turnout was actually higher in 2012 than it had been in 2008, but that too may have to do with faster-growing non-white populations. Young Latinos in particular are highly motivated by things like the Dream Act.

The more interesting part of this is the long-term implications, because the behavior of the GOP the past four years has only pushed them further away from the demographics they need to be reaching out to more than ever. It is only a matter of time before the Latino population of Texas is large enough to put the state in play. And without a reliably red Texas, the Republican party in it's current incarnation will not win a presidency.

Additionally, traditional wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage are fast becoming losing issues for the GOP. Exit polls showed that 59% of the national electorate is pro-choice, including 66% support among Latinos specifically. And support for gay marriage has been growing quickly and steadily for the past 5 years. That of course is an issue that wins resoundingly among young people, which again spells long-term doom for the Republican party position.

If the Republican party doesn't engage in some real and honest self-evaluation soon, they will become a fringe/regional party before long.
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby Marc_C » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:06 pm

Science News has a population weighted map that much more accurately shows the popular vote in a way that numbers and the typical red/blue state maps don't:

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http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/346315/title/Red_state%2C_blue_state
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby Harvey44 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:17 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Harvey44 wrote:I thought pretending to be fair and balanced was part of the job description?

This was one of the most fascinating TV moments in recent memory.


That's a very partisan article.

I'm left of center of many things, and pretty fed up with cable news in general. You've got a sliver of a chance that that you might get some cooperation now, but I guess it would be bad for ratings so all three cable networks are doing their best to undermine the possibility.

I'd been switching back and forth between CNN, NBC (not MSNBC) and FOX all night and I thought ABC was the most reasonable. I got to say I've never seen FOX look so amateur. The blond (Megan?) at one point was brushing lint off one of the guy's jackets. After CNN called it, I couldn't bare the gloating and switched to FOX for the rest of the night. The whole Rove implosion was the bushest league thing I've every seen on TV.
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Re: SL Tribune

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:18 am

I know that this is a rant about something that will certainly not change in our lifetime; however, I'm curious why scrapping the electoral college never goes beyond a few disgruntled voices once every four years. Pure inertia?

It sounds like after all the votes are counted, Obama will have a 3%-ish popular victory; however, in electoral terms, that translated into a borderline landslide. According to my preferred news source, Fox :lol:, "Democrats Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as Sens. Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer and even Obama in 2004 supported eliminating the college, while Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed it." Obviously, they felt that way because of how it affected the 2000 race, and when it looked like there may be a tiny chance of an electoral/popular split in 2012 that would go the other way, everyone suddenly rethinks their position.

My question: if we went to a popular vote, how would that affect presidential campaigns? An obvious upside for everyone: we'd never need to look at weighted population maps again. I assume that instead of camping out in the Rust Belt (20+ visits!) and Florida, candidates would spend most/all of their time in big metropolitan regions: i.e. no more rallies in Lima, Ohio or Janesville, Wisconsin? Living in a non-battleground state, I selfishly benefit from a 100% ad blackout -- no TV, radio, or billboards -- so my sanity would be put at risk.

Anything else?
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