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Saturday, November 20, 2010


"Hi I'm Austan Goolsbee from the council of economic advisors, and today I wanted to talk a little bit about a major milestone hit by General Motors."

I don't want my cars to hit any milestones. I generally try to stear them away from milestones among other things. But I promise this was presented as an example of the brilliant Obama communications strategy.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Republicans made fools of themselves, but the joke's on the US

In a cavernous old print shop, the Alaska Division of Elections began the painstaking task of counting the more than 92,000 write-in ballots cast in the race between Murkowski, tea party favorite Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams.

Yes fewer than 92,000 votes are required to gain the power to put a hold on any and all legislation in the worlds only remaining super power. Less than 0.03% of the population. Oh and check your constitution. There is nothing we can do about it short of revolution.
How well did my predictions do compared to those of highly paid pundits ?

Several pundits didn't do all that well as noted by MediaMatters (via Benen)

I made the following predictions on September 15 (predictions down in the comment thread).

"I guess R gain 5-6 (which is huge given the fact that this election is 6 years after 2004).

To go way out on a limb, I guess R pickups in ND, AR, IN
PA & IL and 0 D pickups. You will notice that compared to polls I am predicting poor perfromance [SIC TSW*] for tea partiers (so lose NV and Co). "

I didn't see Feingold's loss in Wisconsin coming, but there was almost no polling before September 15 and almost no discussion (I admit Cook had moved it to toss up).


Republicans gain 5 or 6 Correct
Hoeven wins in ND Correct
Boozman wins in AR Correct
Coates wins in IN Correct
Kirk wins in IL Correct
Toomey wins in PA Correct
Bennet wins in CO Correct
Reid wins in NV Correct

Unless someone can find other predictions which I made, that's 8 out of 8. Now in the main post I discussed the possibility that the narrative would be Tea Party ruins Republican chances in the Senate. In fact the narrative is Democrats Shellacked in House.

*So I can't type So what

Sunday, November 07, 2010

This seems worthwhile to me

Friday, November 05, 2010

I ask Nate Silver to estimate some parameters.

It seems to me that in many senatorial races the actual outcome was closer to the last few polls than to the smoothed average. That is it seems to me that less smothing (more sensitivity) would have been better for Senatorial races. Nevada is an exception, but this works for Penn and Wash (closer than smoothed average although they are still counting in Wash) Colorado (other sign than smoothed average) and Kentucky (wider than smoothed average).

My thought (which I believed before the election so I might just be seeing what I expected) is that optimal forecasts involve less smoothing for Senate electoins than House elections or Presidential elections. The logic is that people are learning about the candidates in October so population voting intentions change a lot.

In contrast people have been inundated by information about Presidential candidates since it seems like forever so they have learned all that they are willing to learn by October and made up their minds unless they are determined not to.

Also in contrast, most people never learn much about candidates for the House of Representatives ( I strongly suspect that many voters don't learn the names and just look for the D or the R).

I'd guess gubernatorials are like senatorials.

In any case, the question of which smoothing parameter works best is an empirical question and can be answered using your data set. I'd be interested in estimating optimal smoothing parameters and testing the null that the optimal smoothing parameter is the same for senatorial, presidential and house elections.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Politico hails acqua Buddha within 17 minutes of polls closing.

Also calls for DeMind and Laehy with 0% reporting.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Republicans have made me miserable with an effective (if in my view cynical) political strategy. Now one has decided to torture me with hope. His line is that Republicans are doing OK in early voting, because this election they are doing better than in 2008.

Here we will have huge GOP gains for sure and his line is that they are doing better than 2008.

"We've seen a very, very significant shrinking of the [early voting] gap between Republicans and Democrats," said Jordan Shaw, a spokesman for the North Carolina Republican Party. "We think the early voting numbers bode well for us."

Monday, November 01, 2010

I complained that today was nothing special no rally to restor sanity and/or fear, no Halloween (more fear) no election (the sum of all fears). Now I realize I was wrong. Today is the 18th birthday of Ruby Rubacuore. This means that her face can now be published as she is not longer a minor whose privacy must be especially well protected.

Italy's very sober establishment daily Il Corriere della Sera celebrates the event. I noticed a photo of her face on the web last night, but I didn't understand (how dense).

She is now an Moroccan Italian young woman who is in the news because Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called the police in Milan to say they should release her, because she was Hosni Mubarak's niece. Ungratefully, she is now describing Berlusconi's bunga bunga an event featuring him and numerous young women (and an underage girl or two).

Journalists around the world (OK mostly around Europe) are convinced that this is the person who will finally bring Berlusconi down (I'll believe that when I see it)

At least the names of the newspapers and TV networks are comprehensible here Ah a google translation gives just the right extra touch of further absurdity.

I hasten to assure the reader that The Guardian is not guilty of objectifying Karima al Mharoud (her real name) by referring to her as "it". when it comes to English Italian English translation and gender errors she happens to the best of us.

I am also very sure that Daily Telegraph correspondent Nick Squires has never denied having sex with Silvio Berlusconi. I assure the reader that the original is roughly as garbled as the google re-translation. The extra problem again is gender of pronouns. In Italian pronouns are rarely used for subjects, because person and number can be guessed from the conjugation of the verb*. So google had to guess that the subject was a "he" not a "she" or an "it." I hasten to add that, as far as I know, I am the first man to deny that he has ever had sex with Berlusconi.

(all verbs but "to be" have 6 different forms for gender and number in all tenses and modes except the present subjunctive (for which pronouns are used as needed) -- also one can't be something which doesn't have a clear gender and number in Italian -- If I say I am red with embarassment over my spelling, in Italian you can tell I am male).
The model, says the Rome correspondent Nick Squires, says he received 7,000 euro after attending an evening at the home of Berlusconi, but denies having had sex with the premier. La giovane ballerina di danza del ventre al centro dell'ultimo scandalo sessuale in Italia dice che sta scrivendo un libro, continua la corrispondenza.

Polls close in Kentucky in just 30 hours and 28 minutes.