Nate Silver has Obama up to 91.4% re-election

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by forcesteeler, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

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    #1
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    Thomas Veil

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    #2
    No wonder Obama's got that spring in his step I've been seeing in news clips today. :)
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Wow, that has Obama winning Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia. (And 67% chance of Mourdock losing. :D)
     
  4. Moyank24, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2012

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    Moyank24

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    Seriously, though, I hope all of these forecasters are right. I'm so sick of worrying about this.
     
  5. myrtlebee, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2012

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    myrtlebee

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    If he does win, it will seem so incredible that we were even worried that someone like Romney could possibly win the presidency. I only hope people don't forget how close we were to that being (one hell of a scary) reality.
     
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    whoknows87

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    I second
    I want to sleep like we got it in the bag, but we don't , and its frightening that we might have Romney as president..... I really dont want to be surprised in a bad way tomorrow
     
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    hulugu

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    #7
    Hoping for a blow-out, so I have one less thing to worry about tomorrow: the office is going to be a nutty place.
     
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    Thomas Veil

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    Looks like Nate Silver added some good news for Obama shortly after your last post, hulugu:

    Nate now has Obama with a 91.6% chance of winning, up .2 from when forcesteeler started this thread. Mitt Romney's chance? 8.4%.

    I still won't be able to relax until it's all over, though.
     
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    flopticalcube

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    #9
    Intrade says 72% Obama, up from mid-60's yesterday.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Saved for posterity.
    [​IMG]
     
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    Carlanga

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    #11
    well, the program uses math so it makes sense. :p
     
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    kavika411

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    There's something I've been thinking about this week as I've continued to peruse Silver's blog. I may not be able to articulate it well but I'll try. As we go forward, with more and more accurate polling predictions and data and such, what happens to that "chance of winning" stat when we have elections that are far less close and more close?

    Go back in time, to some true landslide election, like back in 1984. In that election, the winner won 525 electoral votes and the loser won 14. The winner won 54M of the popular vote and the loser won 37M.

    Had Silver had all of the data resources and algorithms and such preceding and was accurate that election, what "chance of winning" would he have assigned that election. To put it in perspective, Silver says Obama has a ninety percent chance of winning when there is only an expected spread of 90 electoral votes and less than two points on the popular vote. Would Silver had assigned a 99.9999% chance of the 1984 victor winning? There's only so much room to work north of 90%.

    Conversely, if the current race is, as Silver suggests, to be won by a 90-electoral vote spread and a less-than 2% popular vote, what would it take for Silver to predict someone winning but with only, for example, a 60% chance of winning?

    Not sure if I'm making sense. I think Silver's stuff is really cool, and enjoyed hearing him interviewed on NPR recently. I guess my broad question/concern/observation is that what will it take in the future to have less certainty than 90% if today's election, which seems arguably close, warrants a 90% prediction?
     
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    hulugu

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    #13
    That's a really interesting question.
     
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    bradl

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    First, let me say that this is a very well thought-out and intellectual question. Not to be condescending, as that is not my intent, I am very impressed. It makes a lot of sense, and I see where you are going with it.

    To answer your question, I want to say that it is up to how he runs his numbers and how his models are based. To that extent, He and Sam Wang (of the Princeton Election Consortium) were both on Science Friday a few weeks ago talking about the science of predicting the election. This was probably the interview you caught:

    http://sciencefriday.com/segment/10/19/2012/making-sense-of-presidential-polls.html

    However, in another post, the PEC goes into how the models are created, and this might provide insight into what you are looking for:

    http://election.princeton.edu/2012/11/04/comparisons-among-aggregators-and-modelers

    I want to say in my short perusing the PEC's site, there was a post or two a while ago about how Reagan would have been predicted in '84 with the models and aggregators we have now. I can't remember how far back it was, but the PEC may have the numbers you're looking for, and how the predictions would be made. There's a good place to start.

    BL.
     
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    kavika411

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    Thanks, and yes, I believe it was that Science Friday interview I heard. It almost sounded like they were flirting with each other as they enjoy what they do so much. It was a good listen.

    Anyway, I'll take it one step farther and then jump out. My overriding concern is this. Everyone loves to loathe the "24 hour news cycle" monster. Personally, I'm not quite as bothered. But I am bothered at the thought that science and math, for lack of a better phrase, can make slice a hair-thin race such that it is nonetheless a 90-percent certainty. Again, I'm not faulting or pointing a finger at Silver. His stuff is cool. But it's hard to look forward to a future where we know with 90-plus percent certainty the outcome of a legitimately tight race. It's like some kind of ugly cousin of insurance companies using your DNA predispositions for underwriting purposes (or maybe that's stretching it a bit thin). At a minimum, as more and more people learn of Silver's and Silver-type pollsters out there, will they not, in some infinite loop kind of way, become more powerful than the issues, even if they are doing absolutely nothing more than reporting the truth and not pushing agenda?

    Anyway, I fear the days of surprise may be over, at least for the presidential election.

    Off to buy some Gentleman Jack and settle in for the night.
     
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    NT1440

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    #16
    The race is only razor thin if you look at the popular vote. We both know thats not how the future is decided in this here particular democracy ;)
     
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    kavika411

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    #17
    Yes, we both know that popular vote doesn't decide presidential races. That's why I cited Silver's 90-point spread as well. I'm not getting into the politics of this election in this thread, hence why I didn't bother naming names in the '84 election.
     
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    Mac'nCheese

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    #18
    You are making perfect sense. I think its like this: Silver is giving the odds on winning. Not on winning by a lot. I don't know if you can compare the two. If he was predicting Obama winning by a landslide, his odds would probably be very low.
     
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    topgunn

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    #19
    [​IMG]
     
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    kavika411

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    Very good point. I see exactly what you are saying and the distinction you are drawing. But hypothetically what "chances of winning" - by any margin - would Silver have given the victor in 1984? Again, how much higher north can you go than 90%. And I realize my question is rhetorical as you aren't Silver, but there's something that tickles my brain unpleasantly about the idea of a spread as small as 90 electoral points equalling a "chance of winning" - again, by any margin - of north-of-90%. I think I'm simply having one of those moments where I'm glancing into the future, the data available, etc., and I'm uncomfortable with it.

    Put another way, I'm becoming a lifeless old man. Need bourbon.
     
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    myrtlebee

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    Will probably be Obama holding your Texas hometown's wrong Romney winning paper.
     
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    P-Worm

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    Here's what I understand from reading Nate's posts. The reason the chance for Obama is so high from a bunch of close polls is that Obama is consistently on the winning side of close polls. Therefore, in order for Romney to win, ALL of the polls would have to be biased toward Obama in some way. The odds of that are low and therefore Obama had a high chance of winning.

    To get a close race by Nate's aggregation, you would basically need to have half of the polls leaning slightly Romney and half the polls leaning slightly Obama. That would make it hard to deduce the "true" polling.

    But to me, the more fascinating question is this: at what point do the polls become so accurate that an actual election becomes a waste of time?

    P-Worm
     
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    Tsuchiya

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    Genuinely hope this is the case. This election has been playing on my mind for too long.
     
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    Thomas Veil

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    I had the same thought reading your earlier posts. Couldn't respected, usually accurate predictors like Silver actually begin to affect the race itself, discouraging voters on the "losing" side from showing up? Causing them to think, "Why bother? My guy's only got a 3% chance of winning."

    That is a really good question, and if something like this ever comes to pass, well...I don't know what the solution would be. Pass a law banning polls a week or so prior to the actual election? That's kind of a sledge-hammer approach.
     

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