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Nate Silver and that NY Times Election Prediction Liberals Love So Much

First of all, let me say that unlike almost every conservative on Earth right now, I don’t think Nate Silver is a hack.

I think he’s actually a really smart numbers geek.  He writes the blog FiveThirtyEight, which is now hosted by the New York Times (though I’ve been reading his stuff long before it was part of the Times.)  The reason he is controversial to conservatives right now and why liberals think he is a saint, is because he is predicting that Obama has a 78.4% chance of winning reelection.    To a lot of people, that sounds completely insane.

Two quick things before we delve into the accuracy of that claim:

1)     I would describe Nate Silver as an admitted liberal, with a soft spot for markets.  He is strangely libertarian on some things, which I like, even though I don’t usually agree with him on policy.

2)     He was one of the first people that I remember who predicted Republicans had a good chance at taking the House back after the ’08 election.  This is during the time when most liberals (and some conservatives) were saying the Republican Party was about to become a regional party with no hope of ever winning another election.  He also was recently yelled at by holier than thou ‘scientist’ Michael Mann about global warming.  So, he can’t be all bad.

So, what about Nate Silver’s model as it stands right now?  In my opinion, I think he is significantly overstating the chances of an Obama win, with a few caveats.

For example, his own model says that if he has predicted 0.8% of voters’ choices incorrectly, Romney would win the popular vote.  If that were to happen (again, by his own model) Romney would almost certainly win the electoral college as well.  (A Romney win in the popular vote and a loss in the electoral college has only a 5.1% chance of happening, according to Silver.)

Look, if you get 0.8% of voters wrong and your prediction falls apart—you probably aren’t 80% sure of it.

I don’t think Silver is intentionally making it look like Obama is a sure thing because he’s liberal.  I just think he’s a tad too cocky on this one.  That’s not the worst thing in the world.  Wall Street stat geeks were too sure of themselves with the algorithms that led to the financial collapse.

Global warming scientists are too sure of themselves with their models of the future.

Human beings do such things.

One of the features of Silver’s model is that when the race remains static, and the election gets closer, whoever is ahead becomes more of a sure thing.  That’s why his model seems to absurdly show Romney’s chances to be only slightly better than they were before the first debate.

Basically, to him, a 2 point lead that’s confirmed by numerous polls is incredibly convincing.  That’s about what’s happening in Ohio, and if Romney loses Ohio, it’s going to be pretty difficult for him to win.  I’d say Romney’s chances probably are about one in five if he loses Ohio, so it’s not completely ridiculous if you really trust the polls.

Many of the polls however, just look sketchy.  They show samples that are more optimistic for Democrats than the electorate was in 2008.  If more Democrats come out to vote than did in 2008, than yeah—Mitt Romney is losing.  But, does anyone actually believe that’s reality?   2008 was a historic election for Democrats.  Barack Obama is simply not going to repeat that enthusiasm again.  It is not happening.

On the other side, while a 78% win seems like a sure thing– let’s put it in football terms.  Essentially, Silver is saying the Boston Romney’s have the football, down by a field goal to the Chicago Obama’s with 2 minutes left in the game.  First and ten from their own 31.  Romney could get a field goal to send it to overtime, or score a TD and grab a win.  Or they could go three and out and lose.  I can’t say that sounds THAT far off from what is happening in the election, yet, an NFL team in that situation has only a 22% chance of winning.

To me, the data says Romney’s chances are about twice as good as Silver says.  That still puts him as a slight underdog.  Beyond that, I’m depending on divine providence, hanging chads, or the Koch Brothers hacking electronic voting machines with the help of Grover Norquist or something.

The bottom line is that if Obama wins, everyone is going to think Silver is a genius.  If Romney wins, his credibility will be destroyed.  Neither is fair, but both are painfully unavoidable.

By the Numbers: The Auto-Bailout

If you’ve been watching the Glenn Beck Program for the past week now, you may have seen some idiot dressed up in a goofy costume each night trying desperately to make a serious point about the Obama administration’s failed policies and the upcoming election.

Unfortunately, said idiot is me. Just another perk of working for Glenn Beck, I guess.

One topic we covered last week was some of the numbers on the auto-bailout while I was wearing a “Chuck the Dump Truck” costume. Clever, right?

 

Not as clever as Obama spinning the auto-bailout , though.

In the face of an election less than 3 weeks away, Obama is clinging to his praise for the auto-bailout. I give you the numbers that the Obama Administration doesn’t want you to see before November 6—in a stupid costume nonetheless. Watch here:

To see me dressed in other idiotic costumes, check out the past segments of By the Numbers:

By the Numbers: Presidential Polls

By the Numbers: Voter Registration

By the Numbers: Labor Participation

By the Numbers: Why America is Better than Europe

Mitt Romney swings the debate polls by 69 points

I woke up this morning with an odd and unfamiliar feeling. That feeling was optimism.

After Romney’s slaying in the debate last night, I’m starting to think he might actually have a shot at this thing.

Even the liberal media had no choice but to admit that Romney clenched the first debate by a long shot.

Chris Matthews in his typical unintelligible fashion, had an angry meltdown and implored the president to “Watch MSNBC, you’ll learn something every night.”

Michael Moore tweeted “This is what you get when you pick John Kerry as your debate coach.”

And Van Jones said Romney “out Obama’ed Obama” and won the debate last night. Van Jones, people. Van. Freaking. Jones.

There is a poll out from CNN that is also contributing to my optimistic state of mind. Now I usually don’t think these debates affect the polls very much, but this time is different.

In CNN’s post debate polling, 67% thought Romney did the best job in the debate.

That is a phenomenal stat, but it gets even better when you put it in perspective. Let’s looks at this poll from a historical standpoint.

In the last debate of 2008, John McCain lost to Obama by 27. You read that right…McCain -27.  Last night, it was Romney +42.

That lead is almost absolutely unheard of in presidential debates, a 69 point swing from the last time Obama took the debate stage.

Going back to Reagan, only Bill Clinton ever won a debate by 42 points, but that was in 1992 with a third party splitting his opposition.

In that debate, Clinton had 58% saying he won, over Bush’s 16% and Ross Perot’s 15%.

Romney is also the only Republican to acquire such a large lead in this poll.  In fact, his lead was three and a half times as big as any other republican since 1980, including Reagan.

Bush won the second debate by 12 over Gore, Reagan had a mere 3 point lead over Mondale in 1984.

Historically, a +42 for a Republicans is completely uncharted territory.  It was a horror show for Barack Obama.  The downside is that debates have traditionally only moved the polls by a maximum of around three points.  The upside is—this is one of the widest victories of all time.

More Bias in Polls: Episode 54985749586439587258527

As we quickly approach the 2012 presidential election, you will be bombarded by an insufferable amount of polling. Some will claim Romney is tied with Obama and others will say Obama is ahead by 493028990 points.

Polls can serve as a reflection of how the country collectively feels about issues and candidates if they are done in a non-partisan and honest way. But in cases like this recent poll from Bloomberg News they serve as a reflection of bias.

Take a look at this question from the poll:

 

Now here’s what they say Obama said he would do if he were elected:

Because I know that Obama has “intense truth related issues” and has already raised taxes on many middle-class Americans, I am less than impressed with the 62 percent who are skeptical, but I guess it’s a start.

More importantly, notice how the question is asked.  It’s what Obama said about himself.  It’s not a fact checked claim or anything, just that Obama said something about himself—do you believe him?

With that in mind, here’s how they word the poll about Mitt Romney:

Poll results aside, I don’t remember Mitt Romney ever saying his tax cuts would “primarily benefit the wealthy”.  I don’t remember the “Hey everybody, let’s primarily benefit the wealthy” speech. Romney has never said those words.  I know Romney says he will cut tax rates by 20% across the board.  For everyone.   In Obama’s question, he gets the benefit of his own rosy vision of his policies.  In Romney’s question, the pollster from Bloomberg slips in a mention of Romney favoring the rich.  There is no reason for that.

By manipulating the language of the statement, this poll becomes skewed and a completely unreliable barometer of public opinion.

Bottom line: my completely unbiased opinion is that polls don’t mean anything unless they say Romney is up 10 points.

Obama’s Record on Foreclosures in 3 Pictures

Have you heard the good news? Foreclosures rates are dropping! Isn’t that great? Obama is doing such a good job or something!

Just look at this happy chart. Here’s the case that the Obama campaign is making and hoping you believe.

But, that’s not the whole story. Here is that same chart, showing Obama’s entire term in office.

Not quite as impressive.

But that’s only because Obama inherited the housing crisis from Bush…right? Yes, 190,000 properties get a foreclosure notice each month.

But, that’s completely beside the point. The most important fact is that foreclosures are down now!

But to get the whole story, let’s look at the entire picture.

Look, sometimes economic disasters happen.  They’re part of the natural cycle of an economy.  Obama can’t be blamed for that.  That’s just a fact of life, and as he’s endlessly reminded us, he wasn’t in the oval office for this most recent one.  Yes, Obama supported many of the policies that led to the crisis, but so did a lot of other politicians from both sides of the aisle.   You can’t blame Obama singularly for that either.

But, what you can blame Obama for is the fact that he came into office with complete control over a congress that would give him anything he wanted.  He passed a giant stimulus package, financial reform, health care and numerous other non-essential initiatives.  He enacted his plan to solve this.  You are reaping the results of that plan.  Look above at that third picture again.  This is the “recovery” this guy is running on.  Congratulations America.

Another Failed Paul Ryan “Fact Check”

Some guy once said “Facts are stubborn things.” Apparently, the fact checking websites out there didn’t get the memo. Sites like Politifact, the AP’s Fact Check, and Fact Check.org have been hammered lately for becoming increasingly partisan…at least against republicans. Some are worse than others undoubtedly,but I’ve been whining about this for a while.

Let’s look at one of the supposed “lies” by the Romney campaign.

FactCheck.Org claims that Romney’s ad stating the “Obama administration has adopted a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements” is false. (Before I deconstruct this, I just want to let Chris Matthews, Ron Fournier, Thomas Edsall, and Timothy Nolanknow that mentioning the word welfare does not mean that I’m racist.)

Fact Check claims that the Romney ad is false—by meticulously proving it’s true.

Here’s their reasoning:

“Work requirements are not simply being “dropped.” States may now change the requirements — revising, adding or eliminating them — as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase job placement.”

The reason this is supposedly a lie, is because the employment part of welfare wasn’t completely banned.  Instead, a national requirement has just been moved back to a state option.  Obviously, if the state chooses the “eliminating” option, work requirements will be dropped. But, as Fact Check points out, many states won’t do that.

To emphasize how asinine this line is, let’s switch up the wording a little bit. What if we replaced the welfare laws with abortion:

“Roe v. Wade is not simply being “dropped.” States may now change the abortion requirements — revising, adding or eliminating them — as part of a federally approved state-specific plan to increase family planning.”

What Obama has done to work requirements is roughly the equivalent of overturning Roe vs Wade.  If Roe vs Wade was overturned, it wouldn’t make abortion illegal, it just returns the options to the states.  Add on an additional goal of “increasing family planning” (whatever that means) and it’s basically the same thing.

Do you think if Roe vs Wade was overturned that Democrats would say “this will gut abortion rights”?  Yeah, I think so.  Would the media ride to Republicans rescue to call that claim false because it only made abortion a state option?  I sort of doubt it.

Here’s a more detailed explanation from Fact Check. Org on how Obama isn’t gutting the welfare reform program:

“Under the new policy, states can now seek a federal waiver from work-participation rules that, among other things, require welfare recipients to engage in one of 12 specific “work activities,” such as job training. But, in exchange, states must develop a plan that would provide a “more efficient or effective means to promote employment,” which may or may not include some or all of the same work activities.

Now replace with abortion:

“Under the new policy, states can now seek a federal waiver from Roe v. Wade that, among other things, require women to engage in one of 12 specific “family planning activities,” such as contraceptive training. But, in exchange, states must develop a plan that would provide a “more efficient or effective means to promote family planning,” which may or may not include some or all of the same abortion procedures.

If a Republican president–single handedly, without a vote–“adjusted” the regulations in this country on abortion in this fashion, the nicest thing a democrat would say about it was that it “gutted” women’s rights.  It would be presented by the media as the largest roll back in human rights since Xerxes (or at least Artaxerxes I).  Most certainly these changes would not be protected by various “non-partisan” fact checkers as inconsequential or mundane.

We’ve been fact checking the fact checkers for a long time.  Here’s to hoping more and more people continue to join the party.

Stutistics Episode 4: Obama’s Budget vs Reality Part Two

Last month, I showed you that Obama has definitely not kept his promises to stop running up the credit card

Oops. On GBTV, we aired the same video again by mistake. Technical difficulties, we apologize (unlike Obama for the terrible state of the economy). Lucky for you, you can watch Part Two right here.

Part Two addresses the deficit blame game.

Let’s concede the blame and give Obama a break. We place all the blame for the worst of the financial crisis on Bush, even though he wasn’t still president.   What do Obama’s numbers look like then?  This is one of our pilot episodes, and is just a freeze in time from an ever changing financial prognosis, but smart people run the numbers, and we just tell you about them

Did you know the New Black Panther Party are ‘right wing’ extremists?

Yes, the leadership of the New Black Panther Party is apparently…somehow… right wing according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.  You might remember the SPLC from all the times that they are quoted by the media as a non-partisan expert on everything hateful.  Or, you may remember them for naming the Family Research Council a hate group.

But, do you know your hate?  Let’s see!  Come on and play: “Which Radical Right Wing Activist Is It?”

With the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Summer 2012 report on the “30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right” let’s see if you can figure out which right-wing hate-filled activist said what!

Today’s match up is between…

New Black Panther Party leader Malik Zulu Shabazz


and historian David Barton

So step right up (figuratively) keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times (again, figuratively-I hope) and test your mental muscle!

“Zionism is racism, Zionism is terrorism, Zionism is colonialism, Zionism is Imperialism, and support for Zionism is the root of why so many were killed on September 11.”

A. Malik Zulu Shabazz
B. David Barton

“If education really matters, there’s a lot I can point out. Ben Franklin didn’t have an education at all. George Washington didn’t have a military education.”

A. Malik Zulu Shabazz
B. David Barton

“The twin evils in this world are the decision makers in Washington and the decision makers in Tel Aviv.”

A. Malik Zulu Shabazz
B. David Barton

“The only solution any time there is a funeral in the black community, is a funeral in the police community.”

A. Malik Zulu Shabazz
B. David Barton

“I‘m a firm believer in limited government and if I’m an advocate for that I need to do more myself. If individuals would pick up the social needs, the government wouldn’t need to.”

A. Malik Zulu Shabazz
B. David Barton

“The Pilgrims are truly national heroes.”

A. Malik Zulu Shabazz
B. David Barton

“I don’t want to talk about bin Laden. I want to talk about a terrorist called Christopher Columbus. I want to talk about a terrorist called George Washington.”

A. Malik Zulu Shabazz
B. David Barton

 

“Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!”

A. Malik Zulu Shabazz
B. David Barton

 

How do you think you did? Turn your head upside down and look at the screen to find the answers.  If you can’t see them, realize that they aren’t there.  Then, also realize that they will never be posted.  I guess it’s just too difficult to determine a real extreme radical activist from an American historian.

By the way, next time you hear that there is a huge increase in the number of right wing extremist groups according to the SPLC, remember that they classify the New Black Panther Party leaders as ‘right wing.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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