Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A cold, level-headed analysis from a political scientist about what the FUCK happened

1)  Throughout the latter part of the campaign, I have written that Trump's chances have depended on one of two things:  either an intervening event, or massive polling failure.  Both happened.  The polls were wrong across the board.  Clinton's nationwide lead didn't hold.  Trump outperformed across all states.  Massive polling failure.  Why?  That will take time to figure out.  But, we also had an intervening event.  Comey's announcement of the reopened FBI investigation undoubtedly helped Trump in the polls, and the Sunday announcement that it was all bullshit was probably too late to reset the race.  So, while I was predicting a Clinton victory, both of my conditions for a Trump victory materialized.

2)  I began the Nate Silver is full of shit series excoriating Silver for overestimating Trump's chances in mid-October.  In that first post, I posed the question of how I would respond in the case of a Trump victory.  Here was the critical quote:
Now, Trump could still win, in which case there are universes branching out from here with President Trumps, where I revisit this post.  What will I say in those universes?  Perhaps something like this:  "OWWW!  It really hurt when those monkeys came flying out of my ass!" 
Or, more realistically, "wow, that was some crazy shit when they perp-walked Clinton," or a more somber comment on a terrorist attack, because that's probably what it would take at this point to save Trump's candidacy.
Basically, yup.  Comey didn't make her do the perp walk, but yup.  He announced that he had re-opened the investigation into the email issue.  And her polling lead collapsed.  Of course, the polls were bullshit too, but that's another mater...

3)  Let's talk more about my "Nate Silver is full of shit" series, and who beat Silver.  Alan Abramowitz.  In Nate Silver: Master of statistical guitar face, I pointed out that, while Nate Silver gave Trump a somewhat higher probability of victory than other prognosticators as of October, (and  a higher probability than I did), Abramowitz's "Time for a Change" model predicted a Trump victory, and if Trump won, we should call him a badass.  Trump won.  Abramowitz is a badass.  He predicted Trump's victory based on June data (well, his model did, but even Abramowitz doubted it).  And his model is always right.  This was the first year that I have ever doubted Alan Abramowitz's model.  I will never doubt it again.  Here's how it works.  Three variables:  GDP growth in the second quarter of the election year, presidential approval, and a "time for a change" variable that penalizes the party that has won two elections in a row, as the Democrats had going into 2016.  Fuck Nate Silver.  Abramowitz's model called this thing months ago.  My only mistake was that, for the first time ever, I doubted it.  I will never doubt it again.  I repent my sins.  Hail Alan.

Repeat after me:  I will never doubt Alan Abramowitz's "Time for a Change" model again.

4)  Not that this matters much, but that Slate decision to release exit polls?  Yeah, fuck that.  Votecastr was wrong all day.  Fuck them.  Everyone was wrong.


  1. Oddly enough, I'm actually less in the Abramowitz camp today.

    I still have trouble NOT seeing campaign effects in this election. Trump picked up support from rural whites and pushed Latinos to turn out in the southwest. That it ended up around where the models predict may be happenstance.

    Need more analysis and data about this election before I come to a conclusion. The polling miss, for example. Nothing about the fundamentals model predicts a polling miss.

    1. The fundamentals don't try to predict polling successes or misses. That's about either a) polling methodology, or b) respondent honesty, neither of which are relevant to the models. If the models are always right in the end, I don't care how we get there.