« »

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Griper Blade: Poll Trutherism's Dumber Sibling

FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver
I suppose it's a predictable offshoot of poll trutherism -- the popular rightwing conspiracy theory that has every pollster skewing numbers to make Mitt Romney look bad when the numbers are down. And when those polls show Romney up, then they're fine. The idea is that pollsters are trying convince Republicans that the cause is lost, so they'll stay home on election day. The new one isn't any saner. We'll call this one Silver trutherism -- the idea that Nate Silver, the statistician behind the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog, is likewise trying to use his predictions to throw the election for Obama. The reason Silver trutherism is happening is pretty obvious. The right has joined with the Romney campaign in trying to create an illusion of Romney momentum. It's not true of course. At this point, no one has any momentum; opinions are pretty well fixed and there are like five undecided voters in the entire country. There's no reason to think that where we are now isn't pretty much where we'll be on election day. There's some movement among individual polls, but unless you're cherrypicking, they all even out. But you can cherrypick polls, blare triumphant headlines about them on your wingnut blogs, and hope someone in the media notices and runs with the story. This is what the right has been trying to pull off for Romney. But Nate Silver is a problem because he's respected. He and others like him are the clear-eyed pragmatists who put the brakes on "runaway Mittmentum!" stories in the press. The wingnut blogosphere could easily game a press eager to be gamed if it weren't for those meddling statisticians with their science and their math. Something must be done. So something was. Led by that hoary publication of downward-spiraling reputation, The National Review, the attack on Nate Silver began. Even sillier bloggers followed suit. But the problem with this line of attack is that Nate Silver isn't the only guy with a statistical model out there -- he's just the most famous. And a quick trip through a few of them shows that, far from skewing everything in Obama's favor, Nate Silver is actually lowballing Obama's chances in comparisons with other models...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

Search Archive:

Custom Search