Sunday, November 04, 2012

Pieces of Silver: Why they hate Nate - he predicts Obama could breeze in this week...

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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The New York Times election oracle, Nate Silver, who in his fivethirtyeight blog correctly predicted 49 of 50 states in the last election, predicts that Obama could breeze to victory with a 75 percent chance of winning. Despite his relatively simple method of averaging polls to predict winners, he’s become a punching bag for pundits and politicians who label him a fradulent snakeoil salesman.
Why does Silver, who is really just an apartisan puzzle-solver, inspire so much loathing? Because his results reveal a psychologically disturbing fact: we live in an uncontrollable, unpredictable world. Obama is a moderately popular incumbent running against a relatively uncharismatic one who’s not that well liked even among conservatives. A rainy election day and upswing in the economy could do more to affect the small slice of undecided voters in swing states than all the newspaper endorsements and billion-dollar campaigns put together.
“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,” said MSNBC’s hotheaded morning political pundit, Joe Scarborough, in a pointed rant against the humble New York Times statistician.
Buzzfeed thinks that Silver’s critics target him because he favors Obama. Washington Post Blogger, Ezra Klein, takes a more therapeutic interpretation, pointing to a caustic op-ed in Politico to argue that Silver threatens the very existence of pundits, since the success of his models make their opinions an antiquated information source
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