Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Taking feedback

September 2nd, 2008, 8:12am by Sam Wang


This morning on FiveThirtyEight, a correction meant to counteract the effect of post-convention bounces was removed. Evidently reader feedback was negative. This is a useful lesson…

Silver’s move is wise. There’s no a priori reason to “discount” a political event. After all, those shifts in opinion are real measurements. We also have no idea how long-lived they are – only some shifts are lasting, partly because later events can dispel or cement an impression. I’m glad to see him take a step in the right direction. Both in 2004 and this year, I have found good insights from readers. The one caveat is that one has to integrate advice carefully. There is the danger, as the referee, of being worked.

I have the converse problem, whether to include the nationally-measured bounce in a state poll-based snapshot. This has its own problems: it’s a trade-off between maximum precision (using state polls only) and improved timeliness (putting national shifts into the mix). Because events are moving quickly, I included an adjusted EV estimate in my previous post. But I’m still a general proponent of leaving unnecessary spices out of the stew. In other words, let’s see what the next wave of state polls brings – after Palin and McCain’s acceptance speeches this week.

Tags: Meta-analysis

One Comment so far ↓

  • KenW.

    Sam:

    Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this question, but I don’t see any other way on the site to ask.

    Would you comment on the relationship between “Likely Voter” criteria and new-t0-voting groups, and how this might introduce sampling bias in the various national polls?

    Thanks, and sorry for “borrowing” bandwidth.

    Ken