2012: The Post-Gut Election: A Victory for Facts

Nate Silver nailed it.  Andrew Tanenbaum nailed it.  Sam Wang nailed it.  Josh Putnam was close.  So was TPM Poll Tracker.  All of them used polls and/or statistical modeling to predict the outcome of the election.  And they were right.

Peggy Noonan?  She thought "the vibrations were right" for a Romney win.  Dick Morris?  Landslide for Romney, because "we got to know Mitt - and we liked him".  Joe Scarborough?  He told Nate there was no way he could be so sure of an Obama win, because it just felt like it was too close to call.

This is 2012.  There is no excuse for not knowing something anymore, or for going with your gut feeling despite all evidence to the contrary.  And the numbers people won.  Big.

So next time around, pay attention to the people that show their work.  Don't listen to a pundit that tells you that a 3% lead with a 3% margin of error is a dead heat, because they don't understand statistics.  Don't listen to reporters that declare a race too close to call when 90% of the polls don't support that statement.  Don't listen to a guy that "unskews" polls, because they just don't look right.  And for the love of God, don't listen to anyone that quotes a Rasmussen poll.

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