Skip to comments.The Best or Worst Pollsters in the 2012 Election – How did Nate Silver Do It? (Gallup is Dead Last)
Posted on 11/14/2012 8:36:10 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Nate Silver has gotten a lot of press for his near perfect election night predictions. In 2008 Silver gained popularity and influence after he called 49 out of 50 states. Many pundits were predicting that Silver would crash and burn in 2012. Instead, he outperformed his 2008 predictions and now that Florida has been called for president Obama, Silver can tout a perfect record 50 out of 50 states called correctly.
How did Silver do it?
Only Likely Voters Matter: This is one obvious reason Silvers method outshines everyone else. Anything other than likely voter models is useless information. This is key. Early in the race, many polling outfits poll registered voters. Silver ignores them. Likely voter models are astronomically more accurate, but they are expensive. In registered voters v. likely voters, you get what you pay for.
Weighing the Data Correctly: You have to be able to handicap the pollsters. For polling data, sample size is everything. The higher the sample size, the better the data unless the data is bad. Silver consistently fares well because he knows that all data is not created equal. Folks like Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight blog are polling aggregators. They put together many different polling samples from many different polling outfits, and use them to get a bigger sample size – which is fine. But, the key is in how you weight the data in your model. Silver knows how to do this better than anyone. He grinds it out, interviews the pollsters, combs through their methods and doesnt take shortcuts.
Correcting for Bias: Silvers stock in trade is his ability to look at a polling outfits methodology and track record, then correctly assess how their data is biased and corrects for it. So for instance, if CNN is predicting a candidate has a 3 point lead. Silver looks at all of the factors, and assigns them a bias number – let’s say 1.7 points bias for that candidate. Silver would actually change the CNN result from a 3 point lead to a 1.3 point lead. He changes other people’s polling data to correct for their bias! Then assigns the poll a weight (higher the bias, less the weight it seems to me – Silver doesn’t give out that information), and plugs it into his model.
Math trumps ideology: FiveThirtyEights magic formula isnt public, but all along Silver gave hints as to what he was doing. In the end this is why I put so much stock in Silvers predictions. He had been telling us all what the polling would do for months. He not only predicted the elections, he predicted the behaviors of the polls for the last 2-3 months of the election cycle. This is because Silvers final bias correction was toward his own outfit. He kept this analysis in the realm of numbers, not ideology. Hes not an ideologue (self described in an NPR interview as more of a libertarian), hes a math nerd. It has paid off three elections in a row
Post-Mortems on 2012 Polling
Now that all of the polling information is out there, Silver and his team are sorting through it. As he breaks down the data, there were three things that really surprised me:
The Top Five Pollsters in 2012
6. Reuters just out of the top five
11. Quinnipiac middle of the pack for one of the high profile polls
Who Were the Worst Pollsters in 2012?
Gallup was dead last
Pollsters set the vote percentage to aim for, then the hacked machines did the rest, simple. Its all a game now that is playing us like charms.
That he did better than the others was luck ~ probability that he'll do as well again is ZERO. But he'll get the marketing business this year and they won't.
The Chicago Mob shared their projected voter fraud outcomes with him.
He figured out what was going on with Twitter and Facebook and was not calling land-line phones.
Gallup should have been dead on with Obama vs Romney numbers because they use cell phones in their polling now. BUT - If you look at their data download, problem was they were shut down several days from huricane Sandy and that kind of messes up a milti-day rolling average. Their Obama approval poll however kept on going through the storm. If you look at Obama’s numbers alone it explains election day.
I’d hardly call it luck, considering that he called the last two presidential elections correctly (hitting 50 of 50 in the latest) and projected a significant Republican gain in the last mid-terms.
He called them correctly. HOWEVER, his probability for an 0bama win was >90%. There is NO WAY to prove that it wasn’t, say, 70%.
However, his model has been fairly accurate (more accurate than most) at calling many races across the country.
You can pretend that it was luck if that makes you feel better but all the aggregators got most of the states right.
There was such a split between two groups of pollsters that I have to think these polls were being used to justify a fraudulent outcome. Those that the administration could manipulate knew the outcome ahead of time.
During the runup I kept telling my wife that I thought they were using the polls to demoralize people or to justify their inevitable calls of suppression. She just kept saying that the polls were just telling us how much they plan on cheating. Now, I think she was right.
I just opened an envelope postedmarked 2004 & removed a note that said "Karl Rove is a buffoon". Easiest prediction ever.
And no way to prove that he wasn’t correct.
Mabye he knew the computer programer of the voting machines!!!
They factored in vote fraud.
Very few people in the inner cities have land lines so how did they question any of them??? They didn’t. They just knew that there would be enough fraud PRN to get them over the top.
any insider rat could have predicted what was going to happen 2 yrs ago....
Romney DID win in a landslide...
Ping to FR’s own master poller. Jackmercer is one of the (VERY) few who called this election correctly. He got slaughtered for it, but he was right.
Col West has opened the door.
We must fight election fraud.
It falls on We the People.
Theres overwhelming evidence of fraud.- Here
SARAH PALIN speaks out on Twitter about massive Obama machine voter fraud:
>Sarah Palin News @SarahPalinLinks Between suppression of the military vote and voter fraud, Obama stole another election. http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/46302 DEMAND A RECOUNT! #VoterFraud
>Sarah Palin News @SarahPalinLinks People need to stop pointing fingers within the GOP and investigate the Dems' massive voter fraud and suppression of the military vote.
MITT ROMNEY TWEETS ABOUT ELECTION FRAUD:
>MITT ROMNEY in 2012! @PlanetRomney #tcot The Competent Conservative: Elections Have Not Yet Been Certified, Heres What You Can Do:
>> These electi... http://bit.ly/Zzam8Y
Excerpt from Mitt Romney's reference:
These elections are NOT certified yet. The only way to get this investigated, much less recounted or overturned, is through the Secretary of State of each of the five key states: Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. EVEN IF YOU ARE IN ANOTHER STATE you can help. But it wont do any good to dilute our effort to challenge California or Michigan or other states. Until a major group gets involved to do more, here is the plan: Contact the Secretary of State of the state in question. See contact information below...
Read the rest- Here
The website,'Barack Obama Vote Fraud 2012' is keeping a running account of cases of voter fraud and what to do about it:
Is There Enough Evidence of Voter Fraud To Merit a Recount? If you wish to add your voice, click here and sign the petition for a recount Here-
< Hannity and Col Allan West slam voter fraud Nov 12- Here
Photo of Ethiopians brought to Ohio voting stations by busload, 95% of whom did not speak English, and told to vote for Obama, straight Dem ticket- Here
Must watch videos!
VIDEO-- Programmer Testifies About Rigging Elections With Vote Counting-
VIDEO- Illegal Aliens Caught Voting and Stealing Elections In Florida In Vast Numbers- Here
VIDEO- MICHAEL SAVAGE: How Obama fixed the 2012 election- Here
VIDEO- Massive voter fraud discovered in April- Here
VIDEO- Whistle blower speaks out about voter fraud- Here
We can not wait for 2014 and 2016 to regroup and figure out new strategies. By then it will be too late. The Marxist/Muslim usurper will have completed his planned distruction of America. That's what people fail to understand.
We must act NOW.
Start with the election. If we let the Rats get away with this massive voter fraud, we're no better than a bananna republic.
We must keep digging and pounding him every day, in every way we can- phony birth certificate, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, his hidden life, records....
We are FReepers. We must fight!
Those who shrug and accept this atrocity without a fight are not worthy to be called Freepers!
Join us!! See thread, 'BARACK OBAMA FRAUD 2012- (MUST READ- MUST GO VIRAL!)' thread- Here
He was fed internal poll data by the Chicago gang?
Show one pollster who got the number of votes for Obama correct ~ there’s a reason they stay away from that
Show one pollster who got the number of votes for Obama correct ~ there’s a reason they stay away from that
I will never look at these damn polls the same after what we just went through.
remember that the one poll pulled out of Virginia and Florida because Romney was up big? How did that work out? Never heard anymore about it
Suffolk—they pulled out of FLA, NC, and VA.
“Ping to FRs own master poller. Jackmercer is one of the (VERY) few who called this election correctly. He got slaughtered for it, but he was right.”
Haha, not sure about master poller but I did basically what Nate Silver did but only in a MUCH MUCH more crude way. I put the national and state polls in an equation and only weighted by whether they included cell phones or were internet based. I also threw out Rasmussen and Gallup because if you compared them to at least 12 other polls, they were (seemingly) crazy outliers.
Turns out that Rasmussen and Gallup were definitely outliers (embarrassingly so) but I had no business throwing them out completely. But since I am a VERY much an amateur, I can forgive myself for over-reacting on that.
In retrospect, I see that internet polls did pretty decent and should not have weighted them as badly as I did. I was right to give more weight to cell phone polls. I was wrong to completely throw out Rasmussen and Gallup; should have kept them in but weighed them down significantly like Silver did.
I called Obama +1.8% nationally and got 49 out of 50 states (technically 48-1-1 since I was really unsure of CO). If I had done the things in the previous paragraph, I would have gotten closer to Nate Silver and the actual final results. I’m really going to get serious with my own model next time.
Congratulations. Living in reality is much more interesting and intellectually satisfying than living in fantasy.