Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Entries from August 10th, 2012

Cognitive biases of the pundit class

August 10th, 2012, 2:56pm by Sam Wang

Matt McIrvin writes in comments:  “What really drives me nuts is the multi-paragraph news story about what’s supposedly driving a shift in a single poll result.” I concur. Most horserace commentary is drivel. Market pressures reward pundits who give the impression of uncertainty. And individual polls vary enough that there will always be some change […]

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Tags: 2012 Election · Politics · President

Maximize your campaign leverage

August 9th, 2012, 9:00am by Sam Wang

Longtime readers know of my interest in maximizing the leverage of campaign donations. (This also motivates the Power Of Your Vote calculation in the right sidebar.) Instead of the Presidential race, consider donating in Senate races, where six key races are likely to determine control in 2013 (FL, IN, MA, ND, VA, WI) (August 26th […]

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Tags: 2012 Election · Senate

What’s up with the national polls?

August 8th, 2012, 9:09am by Sam Wang

National polling averages are contradictory: Pollster gives Obama by +0.2%, TalkingPointsMemo gives Romney by +0.1%, and RealClearPolitics gives Obama by +3.5%. Who’s right, and why are these measures fluctuating from day to day? Much of the discrepancy is explained by my post on the problem with averaging:

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Tags: 2012 Election · President

Presidential prediction (Take 2)

August 8th, 2012, 9:00am by Sam Wang

Thank you for the feedback on this prediction, which uses polls only and no econometric variables. Because it is based on direct measurements of opinion, I contend that it provides a starting place for other, more assumption-based models. Arguments were made for making an adjustment to the November re-elect probability for President Obama, which I […]

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Tags: 2012 Election · President

Technical notes

August 8th, 2012, 8:54am by Sam Wang

I’ll move a few technical comments to the right-hand “Meta-analysis thread” sidebar. Easier for casual readers and geeks alike.

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Tags: Site News

Fat-tailed distributions

August 8th, 2012, 8:51am by Sam Wang

Attention geeks: As detailed yesterday, I am pondering how to address the issue of black-swan events.

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Tags: 2012 Election · Meta-analysis · President

A nonpartisan statistical approach to Rasmussen data

August 6th, 2012, 10:10am by Sam Wang

Today I describe how we address pollster heterogeneity. Along the way I will also answer (1) why our state probabilities appear more confident than other aggregators, and (2) why the EV distribution at right is so spiky.

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Tags: 2012 Election · Meta-analysis · President

A real prediction for November (Take 1)

August 3rd, 2012, 5:30pm by Sam Wang

Our Presidential predictor isn’t quite ready, but Andrew Sullivan’s link motivates me to put up a provisional draft on how I’m thinking about it. For the impatient, here is the punchline: the long-range prediction is a November Obama win with 10-1 odds. (Update: other assumptions could take it down somewhat). And now the explanation, with […]

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Tags: 2012 Election · President

Will the Senate flip?

August 2nd, 2012, 4:35pm by Sam Wang

A lot hinges on GOP primaries in August. Analysis by the Votemaster.

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Tags: 2012 Election · Politics · Senate

A flaw in the NYT Now-meter?

August 2nd, 2012, 10:01am by Sam Wang

Peter Norvig asks: “You give odds of 10-1 and Nate 7-3.  Can you explain the difference?” The answer is: yes, I can, though it will take several blog posts over the coming weeks. At the end, I will unveil a model, based on polls alone, that makes a true prediction.

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Tags: 2012 Election · President