The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

November 7, 2012

Nate Silver-led stat men crush pundits

By Jonathan D. Salant and Laura Curtis

Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — Nate Silver was right. The Gallup Poll was wrong.

Silver, the computer expert who gave Obama a 90 percent chance of winning re-election, predicted on his blog, FiveThirtyEight (for the number of seats in the Electoral College), that the president would receive 51 percent of the popular vote as he called each of the 50 states, including all nine battlegrounds.

“Nate Silver, right,” said Bill Burton, who moved from the White House to the pro-Obama super-political action committee Priorities USA Action.

Gallup’s daily national tracking poll put Republican nominee Mitt Romney ahead by five points until it was suspended for Hurricane Sandy, and a final national survey released Nov. 5 gave the Republican a one-point advantage.

“These polls are designed only to measure what is happening at the time of that poll in terms of the national popular vote” and are not “designed to be predictive,” Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport said.

With the count in Florida still to be finished, Obama was leading Romney nationwide by two percentage points, 50 percent to 48 percent, the Associated Press reported, and won a decisive Electoral College victory.

Two university-based pollsters joined Silver in correctly predicting Obama’s win, and one of them will be dead-on about the electoral vote tally.

Drew Linzer, an assistant professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta and a former pollster based in California, predicted tUESday morning on the website votamatic.org that Obama would end the race with 332 electoral votes and Romney 206.

Of Silver, Linzer wrote in that post, “his most likely outcome is still Obama 332, followed by 303 and 347, just like me.” Linzer also wrote that his model for votamatic.org had been been predicting since June the Obama win with 332 electoral votes.

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