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The UnSkewed Trend

I noticed the other day that in a Washington Examiner column that Dean Chambers, Mr. UnSkewed Polls, had predicted a Romney EC landslide 311-227:

Mitt Romney maintains electoral vote lead in latest projection.

However, yesterday he posted his final prediction:The FINAL Definitive Projection of the race: Romney wins 51% and 275 EVs (new 11/5):

That is a rather remarkable diminution in projected Romney EVs in four days’ time.

My honest guess is that Chambers realized that the first map was going to seriously damage his reputation amongst the true believers if it was his final map and has shifted to a far more plausible one, albeit one that is still not as probable as an Obama win.  Indeed, the “FINAL Definitive Projection” looks an awful lot like a map generated by looked at the allegedly skewed poll average (such as the RCP averages) mixed in with some pro-Romney hope in OH and CO.

Anyone who still takes Chambers’ methods seriously has to ask how, without major shifts in the polling, he went from 311-227 (and projected Romney wins in some highly unlikely states) to a map that is not that different than the RCP map with the toss-ups taken out.  It really is a remarkable shift, especially if one has paid any attention to Chambers previous’ claims.

For weeks many have claimed that the polls have to be re-weighed by partisan ID and yet here at the end, this does not appear to be what drives the final map (i.e., the one Chambers hopes we remember as opposed to the other ones).  No one is going to give anyone a hard time about missing on Ohio or CO (of course, he calls CO based not on the RCP average, but on the fact that he likes Rasmussen’s weighing for partisanship) and so he has gone from boldly defiant of all of polling to a fairly innocuous prediction.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Ed in NJ says:

    This election is his lottery ticket. Unlike Dick Morris and Karl Rove, he hasn’t built up enough idiot credits in the wingnutsphere, so he has to skew his skewed numbers closer to reality in hopes that his guess is close enough to pass himself off as the right’s answer to Nate Silver. And of course Republicans are stupid enough to fall for it if he’s successful.

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  2. David says:

    Steven, I’m sure had special polling done in the last two days and used real science not that crazy statistics thing to come up with his new map and it has nothing to do with him not wanting to look like a complete fool tomorrow..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Fiona says:

    Maybe he’ll argue that hurricane Sandy stilled Mitt’s momentum and moved the electorate toward Obama. The last map is at least plausible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. legion says:

    My honest guess is that Chambers realized that the first map was going to seriously damage his reputation amongst the true believers if it was his final map and has shifted to a far more plausible one, albeit one that is still not as probable as an Obama win.

    You’re being far too polite and giving far too much credence to someone who is simply one more unrepentant huckster. Not that your guess is wrong, IMHO…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. C. Clavin says:

    He’s showing Romney’s only real path to win. He has to take FL, NC, VA, CO…then hope for Ohio. (Although really I think Romney has given up on Ohio and is throwing a hail-mary…hoping that the voter suppression efforts in PA, and the turmoil going on there today, will help him instead). If Obama takes any of the first four the night is pretty much over.

    What I find interesting is that he is conceeding NH. I’m watching NH because it reports early and has been heavily polled…and we’ll be able to see right away if the polling is statistically biased or not. By giving NH to Obama he is saying they are not. If they are not…

    Anyway…if the polls are statistically biased as Chambers claims and Romney does somehow manage to draw to an inside straight Chambers looks like a genius. If he doesn’t he just joins the other pundits and pollsters who are wrong.
    What we have seen over and over again is that there is absolutely no risk for pundits…there is no down-side for them in being wrong. What they absolutely do not want to do is anger the echo chamber by saying something disagreeable. That carries far more danger than being wrong these days.

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  6. @David: Is that satire or not? Poe’s Law and whatnot.

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  7. Barry says:

    This called ‘doing a Rasmussen’, isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. mattb says:

    Glad to see you writing about this Steven. I had also noticed that move and commented about it on another thread here. What’s particularly striking about the revised “unskewing” is that it’s a far more conservative prediction of victory that either Will’s or Barone’s.

    I’ve also been tracking some of the other Conservative Pollsters @Jan linked to in a previous poll. Here’s where they net out:

    Bob Krumm: Romney ~295 EV / 50.4% Popular
    Scott Elliot: Obama 303 EV / 49.5 (He does state that he hopes and suspects that the base data is flawed and that Romney will win).

    For a record, here’s where the other major pollsters and pundits have netted out:
    Nate Silver: Obama 313 EV / 50.8% Pop
    Michael Barone: Romney 315 EV / No popular vote prediction
    George Will: Romney 321 EV / 49.7 EV
    Dick Morris: Romney 300+ EV / +5-10% Pop
    Karl Rove: Romney 279+ EV / 51% Pop
    Dean Chambers: Romney 275 EV / 51% Pop
    Jay Cost: Romney win

    A nicely compiled list of predictions can be found here:
    http://www.theawl.com/2012/11/wholl-be-the-wrongest-pundits-of-them-all

    And, since I was out running errands most of the day, here’s my sampling of right wing radio: for at least the last two hours of Limbaugh’s show, he was pretty subdued and hedging everything he said with “no one can predict the outcome of this” and “there’s no way to tell what information will be accurate until this entire thing is over.” Not exactly super confidence inspiring stuff. Hannity, also somewhat subdued as well, was “optimistic’ and more or less all in.

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  9. Davebo says:

    Hannity, also somewhat subdued as well, was “optimistic’ and more or less all in.

    That’s because he knows his own idiots are, well, idiots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. Geek, Esq. says:

    Barone and Morris are less credible than the court jester of poll analysis.

    Has-beens.

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  11. PJ says:

    I can’t wait for the unskewed exit poll.

    In Virginia, the skewed exit poll is 39 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican and 28 percent unaffiliated voters.

    That can’t be true. D+6? NO WAY!

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  12. Modulo Myself says:

    @PJ:

    At the mention of exit polls I flash back to my thinner 28 year-old self leaving work at 5:30 prepared to celebrate the imminent victory of John Kerry…and then, a great blur culminating with a very drunken me listening to Blonde on Blonde at two in the morning.

    The present case may vary.

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  13. David says:

    @Timothy Watson: I might be a little snarky on my comment. Lol

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  14. David says:

    Even with his adjustment, he is still way off.

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  15. LCaution says:

    Sort of OT but I’ve been wondering how one becomes a pundit. It appears to be as close to lifetime employment (Gerson, Will) as one can get these days, good pay and benefits, requires little knowledge about anything as long as one can speak and write with “authority” and, best of all, there is 0 penalty for either inconsistency or failure.

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  16. Nikki says:

    …one has paid any attention to Chambers previous’ claims.

    See, there was your problem right there.

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