Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Gold Standard Is Silver

It's that time in the political season when we all suffer from constant polls, every day, from way too many pollsters, some with obvious agendas, some less obvious, all clamoring for media attention and its attendant "respect."  This one says that, some other one says another thing, up, down, widening, narrowing, this group, that segment, sampling error, registered voters, likely voters, last Tuesday in a donut shop in Altoona, ad nauseum.

It's all too much.  Too much contradiction, not enough predictability.  The mass proliferation of  polling has defeated the very purpose of polling.  We don't know who to trust anymore.

In such an environment of over-polling, I tend to go with the gold standard, which is Silver.  Nate Silver, that is, and his FiveThirtyEight Blog (always available in Buster's Links).

There's no doubt the presidential race is tightening.  It always does right about now, because . . . 'Murica!  But Nate Silver and his team are stats wonks.  They began in 2008, and they've been uncanny so far.  538.com projected correct outcomes in 2008, including every Senate race, and again in 2012, calling the presidential race correctly in each of the 50 states.

They run 20 different simulations every day in every state.  In terms of chances of victory, they currently have the presidential race like so:

Hillary Clinton 60.3% chance of winning, Donald Trump 39.7%.

It's getting closer, but don't panic . . . yet.

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