Yesterday, I caught a post on Stacy McCain’s blog that, well, stuck in my craw. He joins other conservative blogger’s in questioning Nate Silver’s statistical analysis of the election, to offer an insight, well, from the gut, or as he puts it, in somewhat highfalutin’ terms, “from the Hayekian Public Intellectual™”:
Like economic “planners,” Silver succumbs to the illusion of expertise and is seduced by the apparent exactitude of data, so that the Forecasting Model becomes a sort of Five-Year Plan. Silver’s method fails to compensate for situations (not really that rare in politics) where unexpected events falsify the predictive value of polling. Remember that we are talking about the opinions of fallible human beings en masse, as opposed to the behavior of a select group of professional athletes, which is why Sabremetrics cannot be too much help in predicting how the polls will shift in response to events that could not have been anticipated:
- The multilayered fuck-up in Benghazi.
- An utterly lopsided victory by Romney in the first debate
(Read the whole thing.) Stacy’s “gut-hunch”, that Obama’s chances aren’t nearly as great as Silver imagines forecasts them to be, appears to correspond with Obama’s standing in recent polls. In three polls released today, the Gallup tracker, the Rasmussen tracker and the NBC/WSJ poll (which tends to skew left), the president stands at 45, 47 and 47, respectively. The Democrat seems stuck in the mid-forties.
It seems the two stories that Stacy identified, coupled with a sense of economic anxiety and an increasing awareness of Obama’s incompetence, seems to have kept Obama’s numbers down.
UPDATE: Yet another national poll shows Obama at 47%.
UP-UPDATE: Stacy notes today (10.22.12) “that the last time a national poll showed Obama at 50% or better was a CNN poll taken Sept. 28-30.”