Former Daily Kos blogger Nate Silver turnedheads with his Obama-friendly election predictions in the New York Times, but CNN's Soledad O'Brien thinks his conclusions show no bias. Of course, the liberal CNN anchor just might have a blind spot for poll numbers favoring Obama.
"Nate Silver is very careful about focusing on the numbers. And he doesn't have a liberal bias in his calculations, which I think is why a lot of people follow what he has to say," O'Brien declared on Tuesday's Starting Point. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
As Election Day draws closer, the New York Times's young star poll analyst Nate Silver (pictured) becomes more and more confident of an Obama win. As of Monday morning, his blog fixed Obama as having a 86.3% chance of winning re-election.
Monday morning Silver posted this on Twitter: "Obama unlikely to win by anything like his post-DNC margins. But Romney has no momentum, Obama's state polling is robust, and time is up."
New York Times star poll analyst Nate Silver continues giving hope to Democrats, and he's getting more confident in an Obama victory as the election draws closer, pegging Obama's odds of victory at around 75%. After a heated debate on MSNBC's Morning Joe, the normally mild-mannered Silver offered via Twitter on Thursday to bet host Joe Scarborough $2,000 that Obama would win, which drew some criticism from the paper's outspoken new Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan. Meanwhile, columnist Paul krugman termed conservative criticism of Silver's methodology "scary."
Silver, a former poster at the left-wing Daily Kos, who usually mans the Five-Thirty-Eight blog at nytimes.com, again made the paper on Thursday with "When State Polls Differ From National Polls," which asserted that Barack Obama will probably win both the Electoral College and popular vote:
The controversial New York Times pollster Nate Silver, who has been roundly criticized for his overly-optimistic Barack Obama polling, told Charlie Rose, on his PBS show on Tuesday: "I don't intend to vote this year."
Silver, responding to a Rose question that he had a political bias in favor of the President, added: "I'd say I am somewhere in-between being a libertarian and a liberal. So if I were to vote it would be kind of a Gary Johnson versus Mitt Romney decision, I suppose."
Before Silver made that claim he attacked MSNBC's Joe Scarborough's recent criticism of his numbers, as he huffed: "He's not using math...He's not using history...He's not using civics." (video after the jump)
One thing that you have to admire about Nate Silver is that he isn’t afraid to go out on a limb. As an example of that, the New York Times political soothsayer currently projects Barack Obama winning the popular vote by 1.7%.
That would place him well on the left side of most current polling. The below histogram shows the distribution of the spread between the two candidates in each of the ten polls that make up the RCP Average on the day of his prediction, October 29.
The closer Election Day looms, the more often New York Times golden-boy Nate Silver is thrust from his Five-Thirty-Eight blog into the print edition with another poll analysis rallying the troops for Obama. In last Saturday's paper Silver, who has been optimistic about Obama's chances in the fact of rising poll numbers for Romney, dismissed results from Gallup's tracking poll showing wide leads for Romney in "Gallup vs. the World." He also boosted Obama in Tuesday's print edition: "We calculate Mr. Obama’s odds of re-election as being about two chances out of three."
On Friday the former Daily Kos poster wrote "Gaining Momentum, Whatever That Is," adapted from a blog post whose headline was more explicit: "In Polls, Romney’s Momentum Seems to Have Stopped."
Tarnished Silver? The New York Times's young star pollster Nate Silver got some guff last week for dismissing Mitt Romney's large leads in the Gallup tracking poll.
In an October 18 post on his FiveThirtyEight blog at nytimes.com, "Gallup vs. the World" (it also appeared, heavily edited, in print) Silver claimed the Gallup poll was overrated and "its results turn out badly" when it's an outlier, noting that in 2008 it "had a four-point miss," predicting an 11-point win by Obama that turned out to be a seven-point margin.
Guess what other big-time poll had Obama pegged as an 11-point winner in 2008? The New York Times-CBS News poll. Though to be fair, in 2008 Silver was not with the Times but writing for his own blog after cutting his political teeth at the left-wing blog Daily Kos (Silver calls himself a "rational progressive.")
The New York Times' s acclaimed poll-meister Nate Silver has a reputation for statistical expertise, but he's getting some guff for dismissing Mitt Romney's recent large leads in the Gallup tracking poll.
Silver's Thursday evening post on his FiveThirtyEight blog at nytimes.com, "Gallup vs. the World" claimed that Gallup's "results are deeply inconsistent with the results that other polling firms are showing in the presidential race, and the Gallup poll has a history of performing very poorly when that is the case."
The Washington Post ran a story slamming pollster Scott Rasmussen on Thursday on the front page of the Style section. Political reporter Jason Horowitz earnestly channeled the Democratic spin from the story's beginning:
ASBURY PARK, N.J. -- Here is a fun fact for those in the political polling orthodoxy who liken Scott Rasmussen to a conjurer of Republican-friendly numbers: He works above a paranormal bookstore crowded with Ouija boards and psychics on the Jersey Shore.
Here's the fact they find less amusing: From his unlikely outpost, Rasmussen has become a driving force in American politics.
Democrats surely dislike how Rasmussen's polls (like this week's showing Harry Reid losing by 11 points) affect the optimism of their donors and activists. But are his numbers accurate?
Media bias often shows itself in which organizations journalists choose to cite or ignore. A very prevalent form of this bias is selective reporting on polling data--polls that show results friendly to the liberal position like are touted while those that show the opposite are buried.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd, pictured right, is the latest reporter to demonstrate such a bias. He took Rasmussen Reports to task on Twitter yesterday, claiming it is "has a horrible track record and us [sic] proven to be unreliable" and is really "[n]ot a serious polling firm." Todd said he would only report on "numbers from a more reliable pollster."
Apparently one such pollster, in the mind of Todd's cable network at least, is Research 2000. But R2K was recently rated one of the least reliable major polling firms in existence by liberal statistician Nate Silver. R2K was not even accurate enough for the Daily Kos, which officially dropped the firm on Wednesday.
The amateur liberal blogosphere is dead, according to a prominent lefty blogger. Chris Bowers made his proclamation Thursday, on the heels of the New York Times's acquisition of FiveThirtyEight, a prominent liberal polling site run by Nate Silver.
Silver, pictured right, was the latest in a string of moves from the liberal blogosphere to traditional media outlets. The Washington Post has, with much fanfare, beefed up its blogging staff of late, most recently by hiring Dave Weigel to cover the political right.
The trend of professionalization should not be surprising. Traditional media are overwhelming liberal, and new media comprise some of the sharpest journalistic minds the nation has to offer. Traditional media need ways to remain relevant. Why wouldn't they draw talent from the vast pool of bloggers?