Congrats on having gotten through another overly-long election. Notes from a spectator looking south from north of 49°.

  • If the outcome is anything but Obama-POTUS/Dem-Senate/GOP-House, we’re into major-news-story territory, as in how could the phalanx of statisticians led by Nate Silver have been wrong? Seriously, the polls were fairly steady and linear this time around, Bayesian mechanics should have worked.

  • Doubters in need of straws to grasp at, check out Colby Cosh, who points out flaws in Mr Silver’s track record. Notably, that his baseball stats-wrangling failed to predict the achievements of Ichiro Suzuki. However, I detect nothing in the current political landscape as anomalous as Ichiro has been in baseball.

  • It’s amazing how there’ve been two parallel incompatible elections, depending which media you follow: The low-information voters using CNN and my local traffic-and-weather AM station think it’s a too-close-to-call squeaker; students of the game who read blogs and appreciate statistics expect few surprises.

  • The worst thing that could happen isn’t if your candidate loses; it’s if it’s closer than the conventional wisdom thinks and America suffers a flurry of litigation.

  • Let’s assume the conventional wisdom is correct. At which point Mr Obama and the congressional Democrats become relatively boring; they will proceed in a predictable way.

    But the Republicans will be fun to watch as their tea-party and big-biz and born-again and Wall-Street and old-skool-racist factions all lunge for the steering wheel.

    I don’t think there’s any useful input to any statistical model as to how that plays out. Pass the popcorn.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Brandon (Nov 05 2012, at 21:24)

Nate Silver's model predicted Harry Reid would lose to Sharron Angle in 2010 (75% chance of winning). Despite this, Harry Reid remains the Senate majority leader.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/flashback-nate-silver-gave-sharron-angle-a-75-percent-chance-of-winning/article/2512645

[link]

From: JulesLt (Nov 06 2012, at 00:08)

Gehrke looks like he's making the same error as many - that because Silver's 75% chance candidate didn't win, the model must be wrong.

A lot of people immediately presume that if you say someone has better than evens odds of winning, you're proclaiming the winner.

Which is why casinos are such lucrative businesses.

Anyway - what I'm hoping for is Republican financial sponsors to realise that the fruitbat side of the party (and it's backing media) is making them essentially intolerable.

But I guess a near miss will only encourage them.

[link]

From: Dave Walker (Nov 06 2012, at 01:34)

Over here, the BBC's also hedging its bets with "too close to call"; "Obama's considered to be ahead in all but one of the swing states, but by a margin which is within the bounds of statistical error", is the refrain. They're also making much of the fact that the Dixville Notch return was a tie, for the first time ever.

I don't think I'll be unique in keeping an ear cocked to the World Service, overnight.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, all the coverage here is purely of the Presidential vote. House and Senate haven't had a mention.

Also, there was a very good piece over the weekend (Radio 4, "A Point of View") which was fortuitously timed; while it was the last in a 4-part series on China from a Chinese perspective, it explored the very different attitudes people have toward the State, and built that contrast in the context of the fact that the Chinese also get a new Head of State, on Thursday...

[link]

From: nick podges (Nov 06 2012, at 02:45)

"But the Republicans will be fun to watch as their tea-party and big-biz and born-again and Wall-Street and old-skool-racist factions all lunge for the steering wheel."

you must believe that. that's too bad.

Apparently, if one does not want ever-expanding government(until the point of greece, france, spain, italy et al), one must be either a racist, religious fanatic or big-biz lover.

I suppose that's easy for you to say. you've got a conservative government up there!

[link]

From: len (Nov 06 2012, at 08:25)

Our long national nightmare is almost over: the election. Now we can get back to posting pictures of cats and scantily dressed mannequins on Facebook.

My opinions and choices are on my blog. My family is disowning me with claims I have offended and shamed them. I may have to move. The Civil War is rekindling in the Heart of Dixie.

[link]

From: len (Nov 06 2012, at 14:00)

@nick:

"Apparently, if one does not want ever-expanding government(until the point of greece, france, spain, italy et al), one must be either a racist, religious fanatic or big-biz lover."

1. The US Federal government is smaller.

2. The US stock market is at an all time high. So are corporate profits.

3. Job losses have many contributing factors but chief among them is automation which causes a net loss in jobs available particularly among the untrained, say high school/trade school educated white males, the biggest single voting block for Mitt Romney.

4. Our military spending is out of control. Other than that, big business is doing fine. And you have to credit the President with some measure of Wall Street reform. I would have liked to have seen serious prosecutions but failing that, he did get reform.

5. We still have an auto industry.

For four years our President has done a pretty good job. I quarrel with bits like the NDAA, but on balance, a good job. So when one eliminates the all the mythical reasons for what he has failed, one is only left with one or two reasons the vitriol has reached these levels and race is one that has manifested in his opposition's strategies. I doubt it really has much to do with our religious beliefs.

If the shoe fits, wear it.

The election is over. Still, we are left with a dark wound inflicted by almost fifty percent of our electorate who chose fantasy over facts and exposed to the world just how deeply bigoted our culture is. These is nothing to be proud of in that. Nothing at all.

[link]

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
November 05, 2012
· The World (126 fragments)
· · Places
· · · America (7 more)
· · Politics (168 more)

By .

The opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.