Monday, January 18, 2010

If Howie Klein is Right About the Coakley-Brown Race, Will He Be the New Nate Silver?

Howie Klein, the genius behind Act Blue and the most knowledgeable person I know on American progressive politics, has hosted an essay by Doug Kahn that predicts Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley will beat Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown by more than a few votes:

This is a good test of my thinking. Am I looking at politics and thinking about this election rationally, or am I just being an optimist, hoping that voters are still sensible people who won’t elect candidates from the Beavis and Batshit wing of the Republican Party? Okay, I’m going to take a deep breath, and say this: Coakley wins by 10%. The third party candidate gets 3%. Massachusetts is a Democratic state.

Really, no one who works in politics can predict an individual election with any degree of confidence, not an election where both candidates have wide recognition and have run credible campaigns, meaning they’ve reached most voters several times. I base this on a simple premise: anyone who actually could consistently predict these elections would be making their living betting on them, would be rich, and we wouldn’t be hearing from them on websites or on the news.

You can only know what usually happens, what is most likely to be true, what would be a practically unprecedented result. Don’t go searching through the evidence for secret portents or unique local factors. If you do, you’ll be a very smart person who ends up saying some very silly things.


Doug Kahn is almost alone in his prediction. The up-and-coming predictor master of the universe is Nate Silver. He gives Brown 3-to-1 odds to win. Many predictors have Brown up by more than 10%.

Kahn has this to say about Silver's situation:

Link
For instance, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com said 2 weeks ago that Scott Brown’s chance of winning was about 5%. Then, after another one of those completely bogus Rasmussen polls of “likely voters” he tweeted that Scotty had a 15-25% chance of winning. But wait, the Boston Globe poll then said Coakley was going to be okay, and he changed his mind again.

I think it’s quite likely that Nate Silver’s reputation (deserved or not) as a Brainiac has caused some very dishonest pollsters to try and figure out how to affect his opinion. If they can get Nate to say the race is a toss-up it helps get resources for Scott Brown, and gives him more tv coverage, gets people to the polls.

Logically, you need some pretty firm evidence to outweigh the recent voting history of the Massachusetts electorate. Both Senators and all 10 House members are Democrats. And the governor, and both houses of the legislature. So Coakley, the Democrat, is heavily favored to win to begin with. In 2006 she was elected statewide to Attorney General, and got more votes than Ted Kennedy, who was at the top of the ballot.

What’s the evidence against? Automated internet polling done of supposedly likely voters by provably biased organizations, namely Rasmussen, ARG, and the laughable Pajamas Media poll that has Scott Brown up by 15%. Follow the reasoning behind getting the morons in the media to believe Scott is winning: since Coakley was heavily favored, there must be a movement to the right in the country, people are really sick of Democrats, and so on and so forth.


Neither of these candidates inspires me. We'll see, eh?

9 comments:

Ralph said...

DEMLIB MARTHA COKEHEAD HAS FINALLY SHOWN HER TRUE COLORS, AS A CODDLER OF TERRORISTS AND AN AGENT OF PIAPS!!!!:

Coakley will end the day with stops in Framingham, before swinging by a phone bank and then gathering with staff and supporters at the Eire Pub in Dorchester.

PRO-AMERICANS IN MASSACHUSETTS MUST WAKE UP AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE REAL THREAT THAT THEIR UNITED STATES SENATE SEAT WILL FALL INTO THE HANDS OF ALCOHOLIC GURU MAGGOTS!!!!!!

FAIR AND BALANCED FOX NEWS, THE PAUL REVERE OF THE 21ST CENTURY, MUST EXPOSE COKEHEAD’S PIAPS/IRA/SINN FEIN/LIBYA/AL-QAEDA/ACORN CONNECTION!!!!!

THE HOUR IS LATE AND THE CULTURE WAR IS SO FUCKING ON!!!!!

Philip Munger said...

Thanks, Ralph. Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

Truck-driving America....ONE

Progressive elitists.....ZERO !!!

Go Scott Brown !!!

Mona said...

I wonder if Naughty Scotty will continue to do his nude photo spreads?

HarpboyAK said...

Well if folks are pissed off at Democrats, it's because they sold out to Big Insurance, Big Pharma, and the Wall Street banks, just like Rahm Emmanuel wanted.

Unless Congresscritters start acting like Real Democrats and represent their constituents instead of lobbyists and campaign contributors we *will lose the Congress and the White House again.

Damn. We need a dozen Paul Wellstones to run against Blue Dogs and corrupt Senators. We need to primary every damn Democrat the sold us out on health care and bank bailouts.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mona, try and get up to date...Scott Brown did his "nude" photo shoot in 1982....that's 28 years ago ! Is that really the best you can come with after Obama and his socialist agenda have been rejected by one of the bluest of blue states ?

Anonymous said...

"Well if folks are pissed off at Democrats, it's because they sold out to Big Insurance, Big Pharma, and the Wall Street banks, just like Rahm Emmanuel wanted."

Yeah, that must be it...just keep believing that and pushing the Dems to the Left and see what happens in November :0)

Mona said...

Hey, Anon: A girl can dream, can't she? Geez!

clark said...

PHILIP!! YOU NEED TO TAKE A TIP FROM RALPH AND SPEAK LOUDER AND CARRY A BIGGER STICK!!!!
YOU ARE LOSING HEARTS AND MINDS WITH YOUR APOLOGIST, ANTI-AMERICAN AGENDA!!!!!!