For those of you that know me, I have been a disciple of Nate Silver and his 538.com, since the Spring of 2008, when my son Brent told me about this guy who was just nailing the projections of the Hilary/Barack primaries. He is brilliant. And he’s incredibly right. I started asking Team Obama in Chicago about their thoughts about Nate starting in the early days of the first presidential campaign. The shift, from David Plouffe being pretty darn dismissive of Nate when we first spoke in 2008, to a clear respect and a sincere acknowledgement of his skills from David Simas over these past few months, has been pretty cool to see.
Nate has been my ‘rock’ and go-to guy over these past several months. I have been way too consumed by all the numbers and polls; I have watched them daily. I could see momentum shifts, particularly following the first debate, which was an unmitigated disaster for the President (more on this in a future post). Like you, I also saw all the media spin, the pundit bullshit, the insane attempt at the idea of 'false balance’ with the networks, and in particular, a few pollsters and one network in particular that were incredibly off-the-mark. In retrospect, many of them look like Idiots.
Nate was mocked (even by Joe Scarborough) when he was predicting that Barack had a 80% chance of winning the Electoral College in the days leading up to the Election. I mean, just pilloried. Well, guess what: NATE SILVER NAILED THE PROJECTIONS! It’s just amazing and a real tribute to his skills to now visit the 538 site and see his projected state by state STATISTICAL projections. I mean, it’s unreal how well he projected all this.
In the meantime, Republicans were incessantly talking about 'skewed’ polls and that state polls were statistically wrong! Do you see, in retrospect, what was going on here? When Team Red doesn’t like the facts, on basically anything, well, a huge percentage of the party, as part of the herd instinct, they just deny them. Or awkwardly 'explain’ them away? HA!
Yeah, funny thing about statistics, and little things like facts. If you don’t embrace them, eventually they are going to come back and bite you. Just like denying in the 1970’s that the science of cigarette smoking caused lung cancer (I remember it well - reminds me very much of current day science denialists: that climate change/global warming does not cause major changes in weather patterns).
Fox News attempted to shill the idea that the race was razor thin close, by relying on both certain pollsters who did a terrible job and letting Karl Rove set the agenda (and CONTROL their calling of the election - a later post on that!) did a terrible disservice to all you Republicans rooting for Governor Romney. They set you guys up big time; no wonder why so many of you are in denial and shock today.
By being involved and supportive of Team Obama, one thing I’ve learned is that the inner circle is no fu@@ing nonsense. They are methodical, they are tenacious, and they believe in facts and statistics. They would never, ever let a Scott Rasmussen blow smoke up the ass of their base about how well their guy was doing.
Speaking of Rasmussen, his polling 'results’ were an absolute disgrace - his house effect was nearly ALWAYS 2.5 - 3 HUNDRED BASIS POINTS! A little helpful safety tip to my Republican friends: if you keep letting guys like Scott Rasmussen (or even Gallup, which used to be a great polling company and now is a complete disgrace as well) drive your polling 'stats’ and the spin of how things are going, you guys are going to continue to get screwed. Yesterday, Rasmussen had the gall to say that “in general, the results were pretty good.”
WHAT? You have to be an idiot to believe that. Rasmussen’s last poll on Monday reported that Romney was going to win the popular vote by 1%. OBAMA WON BY 2.7%! And Rasmussen’s calls in the swing states WERE NEARLY 100% WRONG! Pretty good?
I have followed every poll religiously over the past 60 days, both national and state. Like anything else, when you 'study’ a lot, you start to learn something. And the big teachable moment here is that Nate Silver is my hero. He kept me calm when things weren’t looking so good in the mainstream media, and when I started to get sucked into the other stuff I was seeing and hearing.