Tweet from Politico's Jonathan Martin:
Avert your gaze, liberals: Nate Silver admits he's simply averaging public polls and there is no secret saucepolitico.com/blogs/media/20…— jmartpolitico (@jmartpolitico) October 29, 2012
Unless my irony detector is on the fritz, Martin is mocking us for believing the exact opposite of what we believe. What we believe is that Nate Silver devised a formula quite a while ago for crunching all the poll numbers he can get his hands on, plus a few other bits of data (for example, on the economy), in order to determine the likelihood, at any given moment, of a victory by each presidential candidate, in each state and thus in the election overall. We don't think there's a "secret sauce" -- we think an attempt to churn through the numbers as dispassionately as possible is the secret sauce.
We're also supposed to be shocked by this, in the linked article (by Dylan Byers):
"Romney, clearly, could still win," Silver told POLITICO today.Of course Romney, clearly, could still win. It's absolutely not news that Silver thinks this. As Jamelle Bouie says:
Silver gives Obama a 74.6% *chance* of winning the EC. In 74.6% of simulations, Obama wins some combo of simulations that give him 270.— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) October 29, 2012
Likewise, in 71.4% of simulations, Obama wins the popular vote. That doesn’t mean Obama will win 71.4% of the vote. @dylanbyers— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) October 29, 2012
This is in response to what Joe Scarborough says in the Politico piece:
"Nate Silver says this is a 73.6 percent chance that the president is going to win? Nobody in that campaign thinks they have a 73 percent chance -- they think they have a 50.1 percent chance of winning. And you talk to the Romney people, it's the same thing," Scarborough said. "Both sides understand that it is close, and it could go either way. And anybody that thinks that this race is anything but a tossup right now is such an ideologue, they should be kept away from typewriters, computers, laptops and microphones for the next 10 days, because they're jokes."Well, Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium sees an even higher likelihood of victory for Obama. So attack him, too.
These numbers will change when the state polls show a pattern of Obama losing -- not being tied, not being in nailbiter races, but losing -- in more than 270 electoral votes' worth of states. Not before. Got it?
Best tweet on this subject:
Pundits are saying if Nate Silver's projection is wrong, he'll be discredited. POLITICAL PUNDITS are saying this. With no irony.— David Roberts (@drgrist) October 29, 2012