Thread: Elections 538
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:26 PM   #764

Join Date: Dec 2001
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Originally Posted by BigRedChief View Post
Nate silver is doubling down on his formula. He is betting his reputation.

Story in US News and World Report on the Republican war on Nate silver.

Political polling guru Nate Silver is so confident in his statistical models that he just offered to bet MSNBC's Joe Scarborough $1,000 that Barack Obama will win re-election. Scarborough, you may recall, criticized Silver's math earlier this week, saying that "Anybody that thinks that this race is anything but a tossup right now is such an ideologue ... they're jokes." He was specifically talking about Silver's FiveThirtyEight website, which shows Mitt Romney with just a 1-in-4 chance of becoming president.

Silver has spent the week firing back, criticizing political pundits for not understanding how odds and probability work and aggressively defending his method against critics. As the week has progressed, his model has only shown Obama's chances of winning increasing, which has not coincidentally increased Silver's confidence in the outcome. (As of this morning, Five Thirty Eight gives Obama a 79 percent chance of winning, with a final Electoral College total over 300.)

RELATED: People Who Can't Do Math Are So Mad At Nate Silver

The back-and-forth swipes all came to head today with this tweet, with Silver offering a friendly $1,000 wager on Tuesday's result, with the winnings going to charity.
.@joenbc: If you think it's a toss-up, let's bet. If Obama wins, you donate $1,000 to the American Red Cross. If Romney wins, I do. Deal?
— Nate Silver (@fivethirtyeight) November 1, 2012
After that Politico story claiming Silver was putting his reputation on the line with this election, he's making it clear that he's willing to put more on the line than that. And he's also clearly fed up with pundits who aren't willing to put anything on the line to back up their numerous predictions.

Scarborough was not on the set of his MSNBC show this morning and has yet to respond, but he already has one wager riding on Tuesday's vote. Just yesterday, he agreed to a bet with Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod over their facial hair. (Axelrod will shave his mustache if Obama loses Michigan, Minnesota, or Pennsylvania. Scarborough will grow one if Romney loses Florida or North Carolina.) Will Joe put his money where his mouth—and mustache—is?

Nate Silver is a liberal, and that may cloud his estimates a little bit, but c'mon. It's not like Romney is showing up in the lead in a bunch of polls (which is one of the metrics I believe Silver uses). I keep going back to turn-out. If you apply an even GOP/DEM turnout to nearly every poll that has been released in the last month you end up with moderate to large Romney wins. The underlying information in these polls show greater GOP enthusiasm pretty much everywhere but OH. The pathway to victory without OH is meandering and clumsy and difficult for Romney (and probably unlikely, though not impossible).

But Silver's estimates could disappear the same way conventional wisdom collapsed on the night of 2004's election when the exit poll models got destroyed by greater than expected GOP turnout.

There just is no way for Obama to win if the GOP achieves parity - Romney is too far ahead with INDs. But we'll all know in about five days!
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