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View Diary: Sam Wang > Nate Silver (53 comments)

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  •  Not better or worse just different (5+ / 0-)

    Sam Wang uses median of state polls going back a certain interval of time.  Nate attempts to analyze all polls, determine house effects, etc., and then try to glue them all together to give a better snapshot of a state than any one poll can generate.

    Sam Wang doesn't run umpteen quadrillion tests, he has math that vastly simplifies it.  Nate uses simulations to look at odds of overall victory.

    Both of them are scientists in that they publish their methodology.  This is different from say RCP that uses a poll average of cherry-picked polls to try to set a narrative.  There are other sites that analyze polls and make their methodology transparent.  Believe HuffPo/Pollster published theirs.  

    If you don't like the methodology then you can make reasoned arguments against it.  One argument against Mr. Wang is that he makes the assumption that the state polls represent independent trials and that is intuitively challenging to believe.  Meaning if Ohio has a 75% chance of going Obama and Wisconsin has a 75% chance of going Obama, then if you know Ohio has gone Obama you cannot use that information to predict Wisconsin.  However, Ohio going Obama means that there is a higher likelihood that Wisconsin is going Obama because some of the same forces that guided opinions in Ohio would also guide opinions in Wisconsin.

    If Alabama is 99% going for Romney and Hawaii is 99% going for Obama, and Alabama goes Romney then you can't intuit anything about Hawaii because they are so culturally different.  But if Alabama went Obama then you could assume landslide of epic proportions a la 538-0 and you could chalk Hawaii up.  Much less correlated but still mostly independent.

    Nate uses a blend of national and state polls and some seeding based on trends in the state that would tend to loosely or tightly connect the fortunes of states with similar characteristics.

    -Fred

    Democrats *do* have a plan for Social Security - it's called Social Security. -- Ed Schultz

    by FredFred on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 08:06:17 AM PDT

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