Slate’s Pundit Scorecard

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. 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


  1. Herb says:

    Huh……I coulda swore I saw an earlier version that had Nate Silver somewhere else with an under in the double digits…..

    Maybe it was a different version altogether.

  2. @Herb:

    It says in their update that they originally incorrectly listed Silver’s prediction as his “average of all outcomes”, and have since corrected it to his “most likely outcome”.

  3. @Stormy Dragon:

    As an explanation of the difference, suppose I had a die with sides reading 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4. The average outcome of rolling it is 2 (if we roll it over and over, in the long term we expect the average value across all rolls is 2). The most likely outcome is 1 (if we roll it once, the mostly likely outcome is 1).

  4. Ben says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    In other words, they originally listed the mean, and they’ve since updated it to the mode.

  5. James Joyner says:

    The OTB gang did pretty well here. Doug missed one state (FL), you and I missed two states (VA and FL) ; Dave missed three (VA, FL, and NH). Dodd brought the average down a mite, though.

    Really, the only thing really separating Nate Silver and the other stat gurus here was correctly calling Florida. The rest of us just relied on the raw polling averages and did quite well. Doug correctly saw the VA trend, which RCP picked up the next day; had I picked Monday instead of Saturday, I’d have given VA to Obama, too, since the RCP average had flipped.

  6. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Yup, it sure looks that way. I thought Ohio was like 95% sure to go to Obama, flip-flopped on Virginia as the poll numbers moved, and thought Romney had a 75% chance of taking Florida. Some of the averages had Florida as a tie or leaning Obama, but most had it leaning Romney.

  7. David M says:

    @James Joyner:

    I missed FL as well, the movement towards Obama was pretty late, and as it actually turned out, most of the final polls underestimated Obama’s margin. Still I think that VA/FL were so close that getting those wrong shouldn’t really be held against anyone, assuming they still predicted an Obama win, which wasn’t in as much doubt.

  8. mattb says:

    Hell, I thought he’d take one of the three: Colorado

    I had assumed that FL and VA were just out of reach. Plus I didn’t want to jinx anything.