|Nate Silver - 538 pollster|
Gallup, the grandfather of polling, has raised hackles amongst some.
Nate Silver, a pro-Obama blogger, popular with non-Republicans, thinks that Gallup is out to lunch with its latest national running poll, which puts Romney up over Obama by 6%.
This is what Silver says about Gallup:
The Gallup national tracking poll now shows a very strong lead for Mitt Romney. As of Wednesday, he was ahead by six points among likely voters. Mr. Romney’s advantage grew further, to seven points, when Gallup updated its numbers on Thursday afternoon.
The Gallup poll is accounted for in the forecast model, along with all other state and national surveys.
However, its results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case.
Other national polls show a race that is roughly tied on average, while state polls continue to indicate a narrow advantage of about two points for President Obama in tipping-point states like Ohio. The forecast has Mr. Obama as a narrow favorite in the election largely on the basis of the state polls. (You can read my thoughts here on the challenge of reconciling state and national poll data.)
Here’s Silver’s chart:
Silver says Gallup’s success record is middling:
On the other hand, the pollster ratings are also based in part on past accuracy, and Gallup’s performance is middling in that department. It mostly gets a lot of weight by comparison, since the tracking surveys are a mediocre group on the whole.
Silver refers to RealClearPolitics, which aggregates the polls and shows a much closer race right now:
Finally, another giant amongst the prophets, Rasmussen, talks about a very close race:
Friday, October 19, 2012The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Mitt Romney and President Obama each attracting support from 48% of voters nationwide. One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, and another two percent (2%) are undecided. See daily tracking history.
These updates are based upon nightly polling and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, roughly one-third of the interviews for today’s update were completed before Tuesday night’s presidential debate. In the two nights of polling conducted since the debate, Romney has a slight advantage. Tomorrow morning (Saturday) will be the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after the second debate.A president’s prospects for reelection are closely tied to his job approval ratings. Those who Strongly Approve or Strongly Disapprove vote for or against the incumbent almost regardless of who is challenging him.
In the past few years, you’d be hard-pressed to find a star that has risen higher or faster in the political prediction business than New York Times blogger Nate Silver.
This is for good reason. As On The Media notes, “In 2008, his blog FiveThirtyEight correctly predicted the outcome of the presidential race in 49 out of 50 states. (In that same election, he was also right about all 35 senate races.)” …Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s entirely possible that Obama will win re-election. (Before the first debate in Denver, even I would have agreed with Silver’s analysis.)But the race changed dramatically, and my guess is that, right now, it’s probably a 50-50 proposition. (Silver would likely dismiss this by arguing that political commentators always think every election is a coin toss. But empirical evidence suggests the race is actually close. At the time of this writing, Real Clear Politics poll average has Romney up .1 percent.)
So why hasn’t Silver adjusted accordingly?
It could be that he is just frankly smarter than all the other pollsters, pundits and predictors.Maybe he just got lucky last time?
Or maybe it’s wishful thinking? — Silver was up front about being an Obama supporter in 2008, and it’s hard to blame conservatives for wondering if he might be working the refs.
So, who is right?
The answer is simple: the voters on November 6. Those Waitress Moms in the battleground states. Those younger voters who support Obama and might or might not actually vote. Those older folks who support Romney, and might vote.