Author Topic: New York Times to Nate Silver: You’re wrong! (About the midterms) By Howard Kurtz  (Read 243 times)

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Offline mystery-ak

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New York Times to Nate Silver: You’re wrong! (About the midterms)

By Howard Kurtz
Published April 23, 2014

New York Times to Nate Silver: You’re wrong! (About the midterms)

Okay, it’s not exactly a smackdown.

But make no mistake: The New York Times is declaring emphatically that it’s moved on from the Nate Silver era.

You’re predicting the Republicans are favored to take over the Senate? Take that, buddy! We’re picking the Dems.

Now I’m not suggesting that the Times huffed and puffed and tried to come up with a different outcome than its former wunderkind. But it’s interesting that the paper’s launch of its new blog — The Upshot — blazed a different trail than Silver’s 538.

Silver, you may recall, is the data guru who gained a major following when he worked at the Times, especially after he accurately forecast President Obama’s reelection. But he decamped for ESPN when the two sides couldn’t agree on a deal. Executive Editor Jill Abramson has said that Silver’s lawyer proclaimed him the prettiest girl at the party, to which she responded:  “I'm very sorry, but the New York Times is always the prettiest girl at the party.”

When Silver relaunched his 538 site, he got hammered by some on the left for predicting a 60 percent chance that the GOP will capture the Senate this fall. And Times people like Paul Krugman have criticized his new site.

Now comes The Upshot, run by former Washington bureau chief David Leonhardt, with its own “statistical election-forecasting machine.”

And that machine, after clanking into action, says the Democrats have a 51 percent chance of keeping control of the Senate. About the same odds as a coin flip, says the paper.

“The Republicans’ chances have been declining in recent weeks, falling from a recent high of 54 percent. This is mostly due to some unfavorable polls in Arkansas and Iowa,” the Upshot says.

In projecting that Democrat Kay Hagan has a 53 percent chance of holding on in North Carolina but that Mary Landrieu has only a 36 percent chance of surviving in Louisiana, the model considers “the candidates’ political experience, fund-raising, a state’s past election results and national polling.”

What’s missing is any narrative or color about the Senate races. It’s basically all charts.

As for the rest of the site, it’s the latest entry in the cottage industry of “data-driven” journalism, along with Ezra Klein (who moved from the Washington Post to Vox) and others.

My initial impression is that The Upshot is ambitious but … kinda sober and dry. Here’s one lead:

“If you want to understand the 2014 midterm elections, remember this simple fact about American politics: There just aren’t that many swing voters.”

And a writer whose sister ran in the Berlin Marathon reduces it to, well, data:

“What’s so special about running an oddly specific and arbitrary distance (26 miles, 385 yards, which is roughly the distance that the Greek soldier Pheidippides ran to Athens to report news of a victory from the front) within an equally odd and arbitrary period of time?”

Silver’s 538, meanwhile, has a piece on the Boston Red Sox being the slowest team in the slowest major sport (its average game took 3 hours and 15 minutes).

We’ll see which site has the best batting average over time — and whether there’s a broader audience than just wonks.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 08:31:22 AM by mystery-ak »

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Offline Relic

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Funny. In 2012 I thought Nate Silver was simply lefty who was good with statistics. In other words, I thought he was full of crap. He's proven his ability to me, much to my chagrin.

Now, the NYT is disputing Silver because they don't like what he says. If he turns out to be right again, the NYT's tears will be delicious.

Offline Once-Ler

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Now, the NYT is disputing Silver because they don't like what he says. If he turns out to be right again, the NYT's tears will be delicious.

"Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."  -  President Donald J Trump

Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....
...They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security
       Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump 5:35 AM - Sep 14, 2017

Offline olde north church

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Isn't this what the phrase "Whistling pass the graveyard" refers to?
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

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