That’s the “argument” being presented by some yahoo at The Examiner.com. Dean Chambers thinks this is some sort of refutation of Silver’s analyses.
Nate Silver is a man of very small stature, a thin and effeminate man with a soft-sounding voice that sounds almost exactly like the “Mr. New Castrati” voice used by Rush Limbaugh on his program. In fact, Silver could easily be the poster child for the New Castrati in both image and sound. Nate Silver, like most liberal and leftist celebrities and favorites, might be of average intelligence but is surely not the genius he’s made out to be. His political analyses are average at best and his projections, at least this year, are extremely biased in favor of the Democrats.
That, my friends, is as good as his arguments get.a genetic fallacy, from left-field, and an unsupported ad hominem, as well as some oddball question begging,† since the only reason he gives for Silver giving Obama roughly 3-1 odds is, “he’s a liberal”. Apparently he’s such a liberal that the models he built a year ago were designed to skew the polls at this point in the race to hide the “surge of momentum” Romney has developed.
What’s funny, in a sad sort of way, is the way this shows up one of the fundamental flaws of US Presidential politics; we don’t have a truly democratic system. Wyoming has more clout, per person, than Calif. (Bill O’Reilly, in the debate he and Jon Stewart had, was asked if he thought we ought to go to a popular vote; he said no; because that would allow the majority to decide who was president). If it weren’t for the Electoral College, and the odd ways in makes some states more important than others (there aren’t any bilboards in New York, or New Jersey, not about the Presidential Race, here in Ohio… very prominent), this race would be very different, because in national polling, the numbers are a toss-up.
But where it matters, in the “battleground states” Obama seems to be ahead. That’s what Silver is saying, and that’s what Chambers takes issue with. He wants to see polling which is taking the national average, and applying it to the states. If that were done, then 538.com would be saying Romney was fifty-fifty for the win. But reality, in this case, has a bias. That bias is that Romney is behind in the places it matters. Nate Silver sees it that way. Intrade sees it that way.
Dean Chambers wants to see it another way. He asking Nate Silver to massage the data, so the national press will tell the voters Romney has, “Momentum” (why do I suddenly recall, “Joementum“). That would, almost certainly, cause some to decide they ought to vote for Mitt. It would be self-fulfilling. That, I think, is the real complaint. The facts are hurting their dude, and they’d rather there were no facts; or a lie, than the truth.
If you don’t think so, take a look at the “polls” they have; and the loaded questions they are, so it seems, using to asses the actual sentiments of the electorate. It’s echo chamber stuff (and if a lot of people take it, I can see them pulling an American Family Association and claiming the poll was sabotaged). I wonder, if Nate Silver is right, and Romney wins, if Mr. Chambers is going to apologise for calling him a liar.
I’m not giving odds.
†For those who want to play along at home; I recommend this Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies.