Winners and losers in the polling world | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winners and losers in the polling world

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

In Nate we trust.

Nate Silver, the New York Times' election guru, was a big winner last night after a heaping dose of vilification not only from Republicans but from competing mainstream media for his statistical analysis that said there was a high likelihood of a presidential victory by Barack Obama.

Republicans hate facts. Climate facts. Budget facts. Polling facts. Their faith is so great that they are blind to facts and presume others — even those who make their living by the reliability of their fact-based predictions — must be corrupt to voice opposition. Obama's victory and small Democratic gains in the U.S. Senate and House, being facts, won't shake their faith still.

Silver's election morning final prediction, posted here yesterday, called it Obama 315 electoral votes and Romney 223 (rounded). It's currently 303-206, with Florida's 29 still in play in a very tight election (also accurately predicted as very tight by Silver). Apologies from Politico and others may or may not be forthcoming.

May we also take a moment for a horse laugh about Fox News' repugnant Dick Morris, so reliably wrong that you can reliably go opposite his predictions and stand a good chance of being right.

Something else was afoot in Arkansas. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how badly Republican pollsters and pundits missed the mark on predictions — and how effectively they influenced the rest of the pundit and media class in the runup to the election that a runaway Republican takeover of the legislature was in the offing. For example, one Republic blogger dutifully posted this about the predictions from Keith Emis and Ted Thomas and their Republican consulting/polling group:

GOP pollster Diamond State predicts @ARGOP will take 62 to 64 House seats and 24 to 25 Senate seats

It's look like 51 House seats and 21 Senate seats and that margin included some real squeakers. 20-25 percent exaggeration on the House outcome. 15-20 percent exaggeration on the Senate outcome. Was this done to spin the media and help create a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or was it just bad polling and analysis? Emis insists their polling and prognostication were excellent, no matter what the numbers directly quoted say.

Another Republican political strategist who does his work on taxpayer money in the secretary of state's thoroughly political operation had predicted 63 House and 25 Senate seats. But just ask him. He wasn't wrong either, see. Catch his alibi:

Mostly...think it was a general underestimate of black turnout...nevertheless the Senate is close to my prediction

Get it? Black votes are trick votes and shouldn't be factored into election predictions. A nearly 20 percent miss on a Senate prediction is "close."

A Republican blogger said a "big tidal wave nigh" was "highly likely" — meaning as many as 70 House seats and 25 in the Senate. Uh huh.

Democratic side? The Republican pollsters laughed at Little Rock polltaker Ernie Oakleaf's finding that Herb Rule would carry Pulaski County. He did. Incumbent Republican Rep. Tim Griffin got only 44 percent of the vote in his home county.

House Speaker-designate Darrin Williams, whose historic future leadership as the first black speaker is now probably on the scrap heap of history, had predicted to me a 51-seat Democratic majority in the House. He was two critical votes off. The L.J. Bryant race still being contested, Barbara Graves' run against Allen Kerr and a race in Arkadelphia all figured as potentially part of his narrow winning formula, but all appear to have been lost.

Democratic leaders in the Senate yesterday morning predicted 20 to 21 seats for Republicans. It looks like it will be 21.

I confess that the lack of enthusiasm on the part of Democrats in their predictions, along with the certainty of Republicans who claimed scientific polling support for their predictions, led me to expect a lot worse than what transpired. But this is all cold comfort. There are no moral victories in politics, really. In the Arkansas legislature, a one-vote margin is as good as a 10-vote margin.

Tags: ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (23)

Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

    Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (if not in our local newspaper) is giving great attention for his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Driver killed in crash with Maumelle officer

    Maumelle police report the death early this morning of a motorist who crashed head-on with a Maumelle police officer. The officer and two passengers in the other vehicle were injured.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Walmart lawyer picked for U.S. attorney in western Arkansas

    Donald Trump has nominated Duane "Dak" Kees,  director of global ethics and compliance at Walmart Stores, to be U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas. It has been filled on an interim basis by a career lawyer in the office.
    • Sep 22, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

  • Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

    Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (if not in our local newspaper) is giving great attention for his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation