Forecasting the Senate

 

Wednesday night, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight released their much anticipated Senate model, forecasting the results of November’s election. According to Nate Silver, it’s basically the same thing as the House model, except it looks at Senate seats.

As with the House model, there are three versions: Lite, Classic, and Deluxe (represented on their website with burger icons). The Lite version is just based on polling. The Classic adds “fundamentals” (historical trends, fundraising, etc.), and the Deluxe adds expert ratings. (The three levels matter more in the Congressional model where there are fewer polls for individual districts.)

So how does it look? Like this:

As of this writing, the Democrats have a 32.6% chance of gaining control of the Senate, or 1 in 3. What’s there is the Classic version of the model. The Lite, which uses just polls, shows a 28.7% chance of Democrats gaining control, the Deluxe shows a 32.4% chance.

It was always going to be difficult for Democrats to gain control of the Senate in 2018. That’s simply a function of the staggering of Senate classes. Fewer Republican Senators are up for reelections this year.

However, if there is a blue wave this year, things could be different. There’s no standard definition of a wave (and I declined to define one in my last post on the subject), but you know one when you see it, because close races tend to tip one way. So FiveThirtyEight identifies two toss-ups (ND and FL) and two that lean Republican (TX and TN). If all four of them tip the same way, or three of them, that’s a wave, and the Democrats will gain control of the Senate.

By the way, the current FiveThirtyEight forecast for the House looks like this:

As of this writing, the Democrats have an 83.3% chance of gaining control of the House, or 5 in 6. That, again, is the classic model. The Lite and Deluxe models show that percentage to be 73.7 and 78.5 percent, respectively.

For what it’s worth, that’s up from last Thursday when the same model showed a 77.4% chance of Democrats taking control of the House.

If we’re looking at the Real Clear Politics generic House ballot as compared to a week ago, it’s about the same. Last Thursday it showed D +8.6, it’s currently D +8.2.

There’s also been a lot of noise in press reports this week about declining presidential approval ratings. That may or may not be the case, but it hasn’t shown up in the RCP average, which is at -13 points, which sounds bad (and it is), but that’s only down a tenth of a point from last week.

Addendum

Once again, here are a few responses to common objections:

Yeah, yeah, but all the polls said Trump wouldn’t win either.

It doesn’t apply to every pollster. FiveThirtyEight still has their 2016 election page up. You can see it here. They gave Trump a 28.6% chance of winning. Not zero percent, not 10%, 28.6. What they’ll tell you is that they took crap from people before election day for having it that high, but it was what their model predicted.

All these polls are biased against Republicans.

Not all pollsters are created equal. There are polling outfits that lean toward Democrats and there are some that lean towards Republicans. But the incentive structure in polling favors accuracy. If you’re interested in the quality of pollsters, their predictive values, and how they lean, FiveThirtyEight keeps a list of pollster ratings.

Isn’t it interesting that it swung from D+4 to D+11 in one poll!

That’s why we look at the rolling average. An individual poll is going to vary. The rolling average smooths that out. Actually, if a firm publishes a poll with a swing like that, or aberrant results that seen to run contrary to other trends, it shows they’re doing good work, because they’re not modifying their methodology or monkeying with the poll to make the results fit better.

This poll is imperfect because of X! I disagree with its methodology.

All polls are imperfect. That’s why we take an average and look at it over time. That mitigates the imperfections of individual polls.

All polling is all broken.

It’s really not though. When it’s done well and used in the correct way, it’s actually a very useful tool. Even in 2016, well-done polls were pretty accurate.

Published in Elections
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 38 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Member

    1 in 3 ain’t bad odds. It is basically the odds Trump got from them to win the election in 2016. 

    One thing I have to say about these models is that I just don’t understand how they are ever validated? If you give everyone a 50% chance you will never be wrong because someone always has to win. And we can’t run elections over again to see if in fact Republicans would win (keep control of the Senate) 2 out of 3 times. 

    • #1
    • September 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    • 3 likes
  2. Coolidge

    That looks pretty close to the reality that I see out there in the world. I think in my gut the Republicans might even pick up a Senate seat and the House pick up for the Dems looks about right but my gut tells it might not quite be that good for them, they are putting up a lot of crazy candidates in districts that might not trust them.

    I have to say that I think they are looking pretty good in their predictions unless something really big happens that only cuts against one party.

    • #2
    • September 13, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    • 1 like
  3. Member

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):

    That looks pretty close to the reality that I see out there in the world. I think in my gut the Republicans might even pick up a Senate seat and the House pick up for the Dems looks about right but my gut tells it might not quite be that good for them, they are putting up a lot of crazy candidates in districts that might not trust them.

    I have to say that I think they are looking pretty good in their predictions unless something really big happens that only cuts against one party.

    Well, except that their prediction is a model. So as long as what that cut is is factored into the model (ie. shows up in a poll) then their models prediction will change accordingly. If on the other hand two days before the election half the Democratic candidates are struck by lightning, then ya their model is SOL because that isn’t something that would factor into the model. 

    • #3
    • September 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm
    • 2 likes
  4. Contributor
    Fred Cole Post author

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):

    That looks pretty close to the reality that I see out there in the world. I think in my gut the Republicans might even pick up a Senate seat and the House pick up for the Dems looks about right but my gut tells it might not quite be that good for them, they are putting up a lot of crazy candidates in districts that might not trust them.

    I have to say that I think they are looking pretty good in their predictions unless something really big happens that only cuts against one party.

    Well, except that their prediction is a model. So as long as what that cut is is factored into the model (ie. shows up in a poll) then their models prediction will change accordingly. If on the other hand two days before the election half the Democratic candidates are struck by lightning, then ya their model is SOL because that isn’t something that would factor into the model.

    However, if there were a chance of half the Democratic candidates getting struck by lightning two days before the election, Silver would’ve probably worked that in. 

    • #4
    • September 13, 2018 at 1:48 pm
    • 3 likes
  5. Coolidge

    Good post. I live in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our state is in the middle of its 2nd competitive US Senate race.

    Joe Donnelly won in 2012 against the Republican nominee, Richard Murdock, who flubbed on the “should abortion be legal if the pregnancy was a result of rape” question.

    In 2016, Indiana voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by 19 points and elected Republican Todd Young to the US Senate over Evan Bayh by almost 10 points. In 2012, Romney beat Obama by 10 points. 

    So, it would seem that Mike Braun, the GOP’s current candidate for Senate, has a built in edge over Joe Donnelly.

    If the GOP does “resist” the so-called “blue wave” and retain the Senate (or even expand it’s 51 seat majority, it would be nice if we Hoosiers could play a role in the outcome.

    • #5
    • September 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    • 1 like
  6. Member

    Fred Cole: It doesn’t apply to every pollster. FiveThirtyEight still has their 2016 election page up. You can see it here. They gave Trump a 28.6% chance of winning. Not zero percent, not 10%, 28.6. What they’ll tell you is that they took crap from people before election day for having it that high, but it was what their model predicted.

    They were only 71.4% wrong?

    • #6
    • September 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    • Like
  7. Reagan

    I spoke to my CPA today. He is a Registered Republican, but he is planning on voting for Democrats this year to send a message.

    My plan is to not go as far. I am planning to vote with my party for the Senate and Governor’s races, but not for the House, as the Democrats need to control one of the houses of congress.

    • #7
    • September 13, 2018 at 2:07 pm
    • Like
  8. Contributor

    That all looks plausible. I’m not a poll skeptic of the “the polls are always wrong” variety, and pointing out that Trump won in spite of the polls in 2016 doesn’t carry much weight with me: the national polls gave Clinton a 3% edge in the vote totals and that’s about what she got.

    What the polls failed to correctly anticipate in 2016 was local variation in swing states. That was blamed then on poor polling coverage in smaller and rural markets: there are just a lot of areas to cover, and it’s hard to create accurate polls for all of them.

    I’ve read that state- and local-level polling remains problematic, and not as robust as national polling. I would assume that cell phones further complicate that, given that it introduces a location ambiguity that might influence House district totals. It will be interesting to see how accurate the polls are in an increasingly mobile age.

    I can live with the loss of the House. I’ve written elsewhere (and to a quite tepid reception) about the up-side of losing the House but retaining the Senate. (Don’t get me wrong: I want us to win the House. Vote Republican!) Loss of the Senate would be very bad; the House, bad but not as bad.

    • #8
    • September 13, 2018 at 2:09 pm
    • 1 like
  9. Coolidge

    Prior to the 2016 election, a friend of mine asked me how likely it would be for one candidate to win the popular vote while another candidate wins the electoral college.

    I told him that if one candidate wins the popular vote by 1 percent of the total, then it’s possible that the other candidate could win the electoral college. But once one candidate wins the popular vote by 2 percent, it becomes darn near impossible for the other candidate to win the electoral college.

    But Nate Silver’s five thirty eight web site should have clued me in. They had a page where you could make predictions about what percentage each candidate would get among Non college educated whites, college educated whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians/Other. Then it would tell you which states each candidate would win.

    I found that by giving Trump a high percentage of non-college educated whites while giving Hillary Clinton a large majority of Hispanics and Asian/Other, Trump could win the Electoral College even while losing the popular vote by a small but significant margin.

    Hispanics are not located in many swing states. Same for Asians.

    So, there ya go.

    • #9
    • September 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    • 3 likes
  10. Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I spoke to my CPA today. He is a Registered Republican, but he is planning on voting for Democrats this year to send a message.

    But is he a Registered CPA?

    • #10
    • September 13, 2018 at 2:26 pm
    • Like
  11. Coolidge

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I spoke to my CPA today. He is a Registered Republican, but he is planning on voting for Democrats this year to send a message.

    Begs the question, if the Dems take a majority what takeaway message will each party take? 

    I think the GOP is already confused and a loss of majority will lead to further confusion. If they understood their current identity, I assume they are smart enough to promote it and I don’t see that messaging. I don’t see Paul Ryan or any of the retiring leaders in the media. That tells me the current GOP leadership is wanting voters to tell the next Congress what to do. That is the opposite of leadership. That is dumb. I do see some noise from the Freedom Caucus types. Perhaps they will re-assert themselves.

    What do Dems conclude from a win? I assume they will think that the people want impeachment, investigations, and big fat face-full of socialism. They will also think that they do not need a new generation of leaders. Nancy P. is in it for the long run.

     

    • #11
    • September 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm
    • Like
  12. Reagan

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I spoke to my CPA today. He is a Registered Republican, but he is planning on voting for Democrats this year to send a message.

    But is he a Registered CPA?

    I think the term is a “Licensed CPA.”

    • #12
    • September 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm
    • Like
  13. Coolidge

    DonG (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I spoke to my CPA today. He is a Registered Republican, but he is planning on voting for Democrats this year to send a message.

    Begs the question, if the Dems take a majority what takeaway message will each party take?

    I think the GOP is already confused and a loss of majority will lead to further confusion. If they understood their current identity, I assume they are smart enough to promote it and I don’t see that messaging.

    Usually the GOP message is communicated by the GOP president. But in this case the GOP president (Trump) spends much of his time in a yelling contest with his own Attorney General or with the media.

    So, if the GOP seems confused, look to the current leader of the GOP: Donald J. Trump.

    • #13
    • September 13, 2018 at 3:12 pm
    • Like
  14. Reagan

    I think that there is a large number of usually reliable Republican voters who will stay home and/or vote for Democrats out of an antipathy to Trump to send a message. I think we saw that in the 2017 elections. The usually reliable Republicans inclined to not vote for Republicans tend to be female, college educated, suburban and young. The more Trump talks, the more likely it is that they will rebel, and want to send a message.

    Let’s talk on Wednesday, November 8th.

    • #14
    • September 13, 2018 at 3:18 pm
    • Like
  15. Member

    People could save a lot of time and money by just asking me what will happen. As I recall, I have been correct in my election predictions 100% of the time. Seriously, my recollection is that I get it right every time.

    This may be because I forget all of my incorrect predictions. :)

    • #15
    • September 13, 2018 at 3:30 pm
    • 2 likes
  16. Thatcher

    Have we forgotten 1994, 2010, 2016? There are greater examples, but there are many lesser polling failures to cite (and I’m not going to (nyah nyah!). BTW, Nate Silver is one of the worst pollsters out there now. He;s lost his rep.

    The bottom line seems to be polling is obsolete (IMHO). The only reason for any news organization doing a poll is to push a liberal political position, motivate Democrat voters, and make Republican voters feel there’s no hope – so why vote?

    I don’t give a rat’s rear end about Democrat voter “enthusiam”. Enthusiam is an emotion that can burn out fast; I look at voting as my duty. There’s no enthusiam for me other than the glow I get after I vote against Democrats . . .

    • #16
    • September 13, 2018 at 3:35 pm
    • 1 like
  17. Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):

    Have we forgotten 1994, 2010, 2016? There are greater examples, but there are many lesser polling failures to cite (and I’m not going to (nyah nyah!). BTW, Nate Silver is one of the worst pollsters out there now. He;s lost his rep.

    Nate Silver isn’t a pollster.

    He takes tons of data, develops an election model and provides odds for the candidates winning/losing.

     

    • #17
    • September 13, 2018 at 3:45 pm
    • 2 likes
  18. Member

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):

    That looks pretty close to the reality that I see out there in the world. I think in my gut the Republicans might even pick up a Senate seat and the House pick up for the Dems looks about right but my gut tells it might not quite be that good for them, they are putting up a lot of crazy candidates in districts that might not trust them.

    I have to say that I think they are looking pretty good in their predictions unless something really big happens that only cuts against one party.

    Well, except that their prediction is a model. So as long as what that cut is is factored into the model (ie. shows up in a poll) then their models prediction will change accordingly. If on the other hand two days before the election half the Democratic candidates are struck by lightning, then ya their model is SOL because that isn’t something that would factor into the model.

    However, if there were a chance of half the Democratic candidates getting struck by lightning two days before the election, Silver would’ve probably worked that in.

    Well there is always a chance it just isn’t very big.

    • #18
    • September 13, 2018 at 4:00 pm
    • Like
  19. Member

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Fred Cole: It doesn’t apply to every pollster. FiveThirtyEight still has their 2016 election page up. You can see it here. They gave Trump a 28.6% chance of winning. Not zero percent, not 10%, 28.6. What they’ll tell you is that they took crap from people before election day for having it that high, but it was what their model predicted.

    They were only 71.4% wrong?

    Only if you don’t understand how probabilities work. But how do you prove it wasn’t actually 5% or 90%? Any none zero probability can occur once.

    • #19
    • September 13, 2018 at 4:03 pm
    • 1 like
  20. Reagan

    Stad (View Comment):

    Have we forgotten 1994, 2010, 2016? There are greater examples, but there are many lesser polling failures to cite (and I’m not going to (nyah nyah!). BTW, Nate Silver is one of the worst pollsters out there now. He;s lost his rep.

    The bottom line seems to be polling is obsolete (IMHO). The only reason for any news organization doing a poll is to push a liberal political position, motivate Democrat voters, and make Republican voters feel there’s no hope – so why vote?

    I don’t give a rat’s rear end about Democrat voter “enthusiam”. Enthusiam is an emotion that can burn out fast; I look at voting as my duty. There’s no enthusiam for me other than the glow I get after I vote against Democrats . . .

    Actually, before the last election, Nate Silver was the most accurate. While other analysts gave Trump only a 1 or 2% chance, Nate Silver gave him about a 25-30% chance.

    He very closely ran the numbers about which states would be where in their closeness, with Wisconsin and Nevada being the main outliers. (See the snake like figure down the page.)

    What happened was that there was a 2-3% shift, due in part to shy Trump voters who had either lied to pollsters, or who shifted at the last minute, perhaps after the Comey reopening of the Hilliary Server Probe.

    • #20
    • September 13, 2018 at 6:32 pm
    • Like
  21. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    1 in 3 ain’t bad odds. It is basically the odds Trump got from them to win the election in 2016.

    One thing I have to say about these models is that I just don’t understand how they are ever validated? If you give everyone a 50% chance you will never be wrong because someone always has to win. And we can’t run elections over again to see if in fact Republicans would win (keep control of the Senate) 2 out of 3 times.

    I have always had the same objection to these percentages. As long they never say there’s a zero% or 100% chance, they will never be wrong. “Huge upset? Well, we said there was a 10% chance and this just happened to hit that 10%.” You’d have to run the same election over and over again, under the exact same conditions, to see how accurate the percentages really are.

    Despite this, they even try to pin the odds down to a tenth of a percent, as if there is some difference between saying the Dems have a 32.4% chance versus a 32.6%. Really, there’s no difference in saying they have a 40% chance or a 28% chance. You are being just as precise, and just as informative, if you simply say “the Democrats might take the Senate but probably won’t.”

    • #21
    • September 13, 2018 at 6:36 pm
    • 2 likes
  22. Member

    I have some concerns with Nate Silver I think he is smart and likely right. That said there are at least a couple districts where the thing giving the odds to the Dems are “fundamentals”

    I have family in Nebraska. In NE 2 the incumbent Republican has a big lead in the only poll. The Dems nominee is very left. 

    9 of the last 10 elections for this seat have been won by the Republican. The one Dem win was a moderate, former Republican. 4 of the last 5 Presidents elections have been for Republicans, including voting for Trump. The district only went Dem in Obama’s first election but not for his re election.

    I think Silver is off on this race. If his view of the fundamentals is off too much, a lot of his model Fails

    • #22
    • September 13, 2018 at 6:49 pm
    • Like
  23. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    1 in 3 ain’t bad odds. It is basically the odds Trump got from them to win the election in 2016.

    One thing I have to say about these models is that I just don’t understand how they are ever validated? If you give everyone a 50% chance you will never be wrong because someone always has to win. And we can’t run elections over again to see if in fact Republicans would win (keep control of the Senate) 2 out of 3 times.

    Yes. Always found this style of election forecasting to be weird. It has all the signifiers of a deliberate fact based approach, yet I find it puzzling. And not because I was told there would be no math!

    If you are going to tell me the Democrats are favored to win the House because of X, Y and Z. Fine. I can understand your prediction. You don’t have to dress it up by giving me some sort of reference to Monte Carlo simulations to back up your educated guess. Particularly when you are the one who loads the dice with whatever secret sauce you’ve concocted. As noted, these contests are binary and you only get one act, one result.

    And then of course you get the post contest explanation that, “Well, we did tell you that Trump had a 22.125% chance of winning. So, we weren’t 100% wrong. Only, mostly wrong.” I get it. Predicting is hard. Can we not just be adults and leave it at that?

    • #23
    • September 14, 2018 at 9:09 am
    • 1 like
  24. Thatcher

    It was pretty clear in the last two weeks to me, reading Real Clear Politics Polls was that Trump was going to win in the election.

    The momentum was on his side.

    One of the problems with polls and pols is the over reliance of the polls as an indicator of what is and will be happening. I have been involved as a worker and now I am finally a campaign manager in politics since 2006. Elections are not determined by popularity polls months ahead of time. They are determined by the work of volunteers, messaging, boots on the ground, door knocking and sometimes just a feeling ‘that I am voting Blue this time’ as one voter said to a friend of mine once.

    To paraphrase Lord Vader. “Dont be to proud of this technological terror you have constructed. The true power is the voter.”

    Remember that in 2014 according to the polls Mitch McConnell was losing Kentucky by 15 points.

    My bet is a 5 seat pick up for the Republicans in the Senate.

     

    • #24
    • September 14, 2018 at 12:16 pm
    • Like
  25. Member

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    It was pretty clear in the last two weeks to me, reading Real Clear Politics Polls was that Trump was going to win in the election.

    The momentum was on his side.

    One of the problems with polls and pols is the over reliance of the polls as an indicator of what is and will be happening. I have been involved as a worker and now I am finally a campaign manager in politics since 2006. Elections are not determined by popularity polls months ahead of time. They are determined by the work of volunteers, messaging, boots on the ground, door knocking and sometimes just a feeling ‘that I am voting Blue this time’ as one voter said to a friend of mine once.

    To paraphrase Lord Vader. “Dont be to proud of this technological terror you have constructed. The true power is the voter.”

    Remember that in 2014 according to the polls Mitch McConnell was losing Kentucky by 15 points.

    My bet is a 5 seat pick up for the Republicans in the Senate.

     

    Bold.

    • #25
    • September 14, 2018 at 12:28 pm
    • Like
  26. Thatcher

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Have we forgotten 1994, 2010, 2016? There are greater examples, but there are many lesser polling failures to cite (and I’m not going to (nyah nyah!). BTW, Nate Silver is one of the worst pollsters out there now. He;s lost his rep.

    Nate Silver isn’t a pollster.

    He takes tons of data, develops an election model and provides odds for the candidates winning/losing.

     

    Well, how does he gather his data? Polls perhaps …

    • #26
    • September 14, 2018 at 3:35 pm
    • Like
  27. Member

    Fred Cole:

    Yeah, yeah, but all the polls said Trump wouldn’t win either.

    It doesn’t apply to every pollster. FiveThirtyEight still has their 2016 election page up. You can see it here. They gave Trump a 28.6% chance of winning. Not zero percent, not 10%, 28.6. What they’ll tell you is that they took crap from people before election day for having it that high, but it was what their model predicted.

     

    I guess you could call this a response, but it sure isn’t a convincing argument that the models will behave this time.

    It’s like if you accuse me of being a Trump sycophant, all I have to say is “Some Trump supporters say I’m not pro-Trump enough. I should support him even if he shot someone on 5th Avenue.”

    Okay, so FiveThirtyEight was less anti-Trump than the most anti-Trump elites on Twitter. So that excuses them from doing their job poorly? Sorry, that’s a stupid argument. 

    • #27
    • September 14, 2018 at 4:39 pm
    • Like
  28. Coolidge

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    It was pretty clear in the last two weeks to me, reading Real Clear Politics Polls was that Trump was going to win in the election.

    The momentum was on his side.

    One of the problems with polls and pols is the over reliance of the polls as an indicator of what is and will be happening. I have been involved as a worker and now I am finally a campaign manager in politics since 2006. Elections are not determined by popularity polls months ahead of time. They are determined by the work of volunteers, messaging, boots on the ground, door knocking and sometimes just a feeling ‘that I am voting Blue this time’ as one voter said to a friend of mine once.

    To paraphrase Lord Vader. “Dont be to proud of this technological terror you have constructed. The true power is the voter.”

    Remember that in 2014 according to the polls Mitch McConnell was losing Kentucky by 15 points.

    My bet is a 5 seat pick up for the Republicans in the Senate.

     

    That would be a miracle that I would warmly welcome.

    • #28
    • September 14, 2018 at 4:50 pm
    • Like
  29. Coolidge

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    Fred Cole:

    Yeah, yeah, but all the polls said Trump wouldn’t win either.

    It doesn’t apply to every pollster. FiveThirtyEight still has their 2016 election page up. You can see it here. They gave Trump a 28.6% chance of winning. Not zero percent, not 10%, 28.6. What they’ll tell you is that they took crap from people before election day for having it that high, but it was what their model predicted.

     

    I guess you could call this a response, but it sure isn’t a convincing argument that the models will behave this time.

    It’s like if you accuse me of being a Trump sycophant, all I have to say is “Some Trump supporters say I’m not pro-Trump enough. I should support him even if he shot someone on 5th Avenue.”

    Okay, so FiveThirtyEight was less anti-Trump than the most anti-Trump elites on Twitter. So that excuses them from doing their job poorly? Sorry, that’s a stupid argument.

    If you want to say that all of the election forecasting models are lousy, maybe you’re right.

    But among those election forecasting models where the output is available to the public prior to election day, it looks like Nate Silver has the best one.

    When someone says, “I knew that Trump would win,” my response would be to tell that person to develop an election model for this November’s elections, put it on the web and after the election is over we’ll compare your forecast with Nate Silver’s.

    It takes no talent at all to say, after the election is over, “I knew that!”

    • #29
    • September 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm
    • Like
  30. Member

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    blood thirsty neocon (View Comment):

    Fred Cole:

    Yeah, yeah, but all the polls said Trump wouldn’t win either.

    It doesn’t apply to every pollster. FiveThirtyEight still has their 2016 election page up. You can see it here. They gave Trump a 28.6% chance of winning. Not zero percent, not 10%, 28.6. What they’ll tell you is that they took crap from people before election day for having it that high, but it was what their model predicted.

    I guess you could call this a response, but it sure isn’t a convincing argument that the models will behave this time.

    It’s like if you accuse me of being a Trump sycophant, all I have to say is “Some Trump supporters say I’m not pro-Trump enough. I should support him even if he shot someone on 5th Avenue.”

    Okay, so FiveThirtyEight was less anti-Trump than the most anti-Trump elites on Twitter. So that excuses them from doing their job poorly? Sorry, that’s a stupid argument.

    If you want to say that all of the election forecasting models are lousy, maybe you’re right.

    But among those election forecasting models where the output is available to the public prior to election day, it looks like Nate Silver has the best one.

    When someone says, “I knew that Trump would win,” my response would be to tell that person to develop an election model for this November’s elections, put it on the web and after the election is over we’ll compare your forecast with Nate Silver’s.

    It takes no talent at all to say, after the election is over, “I knew that!”

    Okay, I’m working on it. Here’s what I have so far:

    1. Take my current bank balance
    2. Subtract my bank balance one year ago.
    3. Divide the difference by my bank balance one year ago.
    4. Throw darts at a picture of Justin Trudeau (because it helps me focus)
    5. Subtract Trump’s current daily rate of crazy tweets.
    6. Multiply that number by 100. That’s the true Republican polling (dis)advantage.
    • #30
    • September 14, 2018 at 5:11 pm
    • Like
  1. 1
  2. 2