Originally Posted by AustinChief
To clarify my post here. People who try to use 538 to predict the outcome of an election AT THIS TIME are ridiculous. They will often point to how accurate he was in 2008 (nice big sample size there) but what they are judging him on is his FINAL prediction not the predictions they are hanging their hat on.. the ones coming 30 days out. I am not saying Silver has to be judged on 30 days out or any other time period... I am just saying that I see a ton of people here who put value in his model based on a judgment of it that doesn't apply to how they are attempting to use it to prop up their beliefs. And that is nonsense.
At this point, I think we're arguing semantics and largely agree. I don't want to call 538 a poll aggregator, because I don't think that's accurate. Like I said, bias plays a role here. Democrats like him right now because it gives them reassurance that Obama is winning. So they want to believe in it. But him saying Obama has a 60% chance of winning still means there is another 40% out there.
I think it's a good model. Certainly better than following one poll and pretending that can predict the election. But by it's nature, it changes.
My "guesses" have a basis to them as well. I am not saying random guessing but educated guesses based on data that I have access to. Again, if you feel Nate Silver's work is currently at a point that you want to make a bet on it.. I'm game. My guess is that you don't want to because you know his work is in the earliest of stages and his modelling is not something that can be at all predictive 30 days out. My complaint is against those who claim it is and worship at the 538 altar.
As for having a "basis" for something being enough to make it valid and accurate.. read the link I posted on weather forecasting. There is certainly a more solid basis for that and yet we have almost no credibility in making predictions 10+ days out.
Again, this is much less a critique of his futile attempts to create an accurate model (sorry but he's no Hari Seldon) as it is those who misuse what he is doing and think it is truly predictive.
My only complaint is against people that don't understand what it is that he's doing. That goes for people on both sides. I wish he could have his own independent blog where he could be a bit more wonkish, but 'tis life.
I'd be happy to make a bet, provided it goes to charity. Perhaps we could actually turn this cesspool of the DC forum into good.