Was Nate Silver’s model wrong?

Nate Silver's model at FiveThirtyEight gave Biden an 89% chance to win the presidential election. He gave Democrats a 75% chance of taking back the Senate and a 97% chance of keeping the House. Then the election happened. Biden won -- though by a somewhat smaller margin than the model expected: Trump's 232 electoral votes … Continue reading Was Nate Silver’s model wrong?

Your vote matters — probably more than you think

(This post is meant to persuade you to vote. If you already want to vote but don't have a concrete voting plan, check out this post.) In 10th grade civics class I learned about two moral arguments in favor of voting in elections. The first of these appeals to a notion of civic duty: as … Continue reading Your vote matters — probably more than you think

Thoughts on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary

This post is an endorsement of a Democratic candidate for president, but it is not a typical endorsement. When I set out to write this post, I didn't have a particular conclusion in mind. Instead, I figured out how I wanted to think about the primary, then did research on the underlying facts, and finally … Continue reading Thoughts on the 2020 Democratic presidential primary

My 2020 Democratic primary predictions pass the smell test

FiveThirtyEight just published an impressive, sophisticated model of the 2020 Democratic primaries. If you're at all interested in the primaries, take a look -- there's a lot of cool stuff there (they also published a pretty detailed methodology which I also recommend reading). Conveniently, if you scroll down to the bottom of their forecast and … Continue reading My 2020 Democratic primary predictions pass the smell test

Predictions for 2020

In the spirit of Slate Star Codex, I will be offering some of my predictions for 2020. In January 2021 I will return to these and grade them. The predictions fall into three categories: US Politics (there are many of these since it's an election year), Personal (predictions about what I will do next year), … Continue reading Predictions for 2020

Should FiveThirtyEight’s elasticity index have a wider spread?

In 2012, Nate Silver wrote about elastic and inelastic states. An elastic state is one with lots of swing voters. This means that if the national electorate shifted by one percentage point, you would expect that state's vote to shift by more than one percentage point. Alaska, for instance, is an elastic state: although it … Continue reading Should FiveThirtyEight’s elasticity index have a wider spread?

A few things to watch this Tuesday

EDIT: See also, FiveThirtyEight's article on the same topic. Off-year elections will be happening across the US this Tuesday, November 5th. Here are some races I'll be keeping an eye on: Probably the most important election is in Virginia, where control of the legislative branch (both the Senate and House of Delegates) is up for … Continue reading A few things to watch this Tuesday

General election polls *are* predictive one year out

(Also, how to deal with leverage points when doing linear regression) If you closely follow FiveThirtyEight's politics coverage, like I do, there are some mantras you hear repeatedly. One of the most common is: general election polls are meaningless until the election starts getting close. See for instance A Year Out, Ignore General Election Polls; … Continue reading General election polls *are* predictive one year out