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comparison of NYT and WaPo senate predictor
Andrew Prokop:
The Upshot has created a model that's mostly based on polling, with fundamentals playing a supplementary role. "The mixture of polling vs. background varies from race to race," Josh Katz of the New York Times tells me, "But as of today, the background model can account for anywhere from about one-third of the forecast to less than 5 percent." Accordingly, the Upshot's results much better reflect recent polling putting Democrats ahead in several close races.

The Post, by contrast, doesn't currently use Senate polls at all — their model is entirely based on fundamentals. They lay out the broader conditions for each state's race, and make their projections based on those. They plan to add polls eventually, but they wanted to emphasize the fundamentals first. "We wanted to take a more cautious approach and incorporate polls gradually," says Eric McGhee of the Monkey Cage, one of the model's co-creators.

Sam Wang:
Once polls become available, they can capture the same ballpark range of November performance that fundamentals do—and with much less uncertainty. Years of polling have shown that what voters say they want “right now” is a strong starting point for predicting, give or take a few points, how they will vote in the fall. Because of that—no matter the race—the most accurate predictions are made using polling data, when enough of it is available.
I covered some of this on Kagro in the Morning yesterday, and Huffpollster has even more. Sam Wang picks Upshot because of the heavier use of polling, but he notes they're all in the 20-80% range, making it a tossup. Just remember, more often than not, the polls are correct (see Harry Enten).

Dan Diamond on ACA predictions vs reality:

Taken together, the slew of upbeat reports for the industry isn't surprising. (The law was expected to bolster the health care sector by growing the number of insured Americans.) But the positive findings are in contrast to a dire batch of predictions that accompanied the ACA's bumpy rollout across the past year, when the entire law sometimes seemed to be on shaky ground.

Here's a quick look back at several of those predictions, and how early findings are bearing them out -- or not.

Good piece on Maya Angelou from Lucia Graves.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Jill Lawrence:

Rep. Patricia Schroeder had proposed a "firearm fatality reporting system" modeled on a federal database of traffic fatalities that had led to safer vehicles. Pediatricians were hoping that unsafe, easy-to-acquire guns would become as unacceptable as driving drunk or failing to fasten your child's seatbelt.
The doctors never imagined politicians so intimidated that even after 20 children were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, they would refuse to plug holes in the background-check system for prospective buyers. They never envisioned a lobby so powerful it could prevent gun registration, research and even the collection of data invaluable to law enforcement and public health personnel.

If we treated cars that way, they wouldn't be registered or insured. Turn signals would not have been introduced in 1937, and computerized warning systems would not be emerging today. We would not have saved 300,000 lives in 40 years, thanks to seat belts and air bags.

Aljazeera:
Iran has neutralized most of its stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium that could be turned quickly into the core of a nuclear weapon, the U.N. nuclear agency said Friday, leaving the country with only about a fifth of what it would need for such a purpose.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a in a quarterly report that Iran now has less than 90 pounds of the material.

The report also said Tehran was meeting all other obligations under an agreement reached four months ago in Geneva that serves as a prelude to a comprehensive deal now being negotiated.

Front page news? Why not?

Emily Badger:

As of 2012, women were more than twice as likely as men to say they were afraid to walk in their neighborhoods at night alone. Their perceived sense of danger has notably declined since the 1970s, while male fear has remained fairly constant. The shift for women, Clement notes, doesn't appear to be generational. Rates of fear are similar now for women over age 65 as those ages 18 to 39. The same was true in the 1970s.

It's worth noting that crime has broadly declined in the United States since the early 1990s. But it's hard to say how much of women's perception of their safety is attributable to actual declines in crime, and how much is attributable to other factors (like changing social norms about whether it's okay for women to walk around alone).
Part of our lack of data on the consequences of a culture of violence against women stems from the fact that we don't ask enough questions like this one. So let's have some more.

Erica Grieder:
The "conservative" victories yesterday may, however, come back to haunt Texas conservatives. For one thing, the term "conservative" has lost whatever meaning it once had; the new standard, as one conservative put it to me yesterday, is "I know it when I see it"--a reference to Justice Stewart's famous criterion for deciding what qualifies as pornography. The phrase is effectively shorthand for "I have no idea" or "I'd prefer to make it up as I go along". The conservative who offered that definition wasn't wrong, but it is an ominous situation, including for conservative politicians themselves, who may not like answering to whims and report cards.  
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