Slater predicted the US election result accurately. I did not. Good for him. Bad for me.
The main difference is that I made my pick only four days before the election. Slater made his about six months ago.
I got it wrong, but at least my prediction was intellectually defensible. Sure, I should have given the bad polls more weight than I did. I should have taken Sandy into account. But I could not have known how godawful the Romney get-out-the-vote effort was going to be. And this was not a done deal. Romney was ahead through much of October. The election was his for the taking.
The odds favoured Obama, but no intelligent person could have written Romney off, and done so so early. Slater will back that up by saying that he was just looking at Silver’s analysis. I stand by what I said about Silver also – he’s only as good as the polls he uses, and many of those, even today, do not stand up to scrutiny. D+11 polls do not get vindicated just because they show Obama winning and he won.
If you look at where Obama was campaigning and spending money, it is pretty clear that the states the Romney campaign thought were in play were actually in play. They abandoned North Carolina, and went hard in Wisconsin. While they may have given some of the published polls more credit than the Romney camp, they too thought that the turnout disparity would be much closer. I suspect they were pleasantly delighted to see a D+6 turnout. But if you listen to Slater, who knows so much better than Obama’s own campaign team, they were clearly worrying for nothing!
I look at the post of mine that Slater is using on his blog this morning, and I see nothing in it that I would change. In fact, the parts about him personally look even more pertinent today than when I wrote it. If he takes from this the lesson that he can simply apply pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey punditry to New Zealand politics, I pity the blog-reading public. His blatherings on US politics don’t matter, because NZ has no electoral college votes, but if he wants to be “neutral” and “objective”, instead of getting on team for the big win, he may end up helping to fulfil his own prophecies. That would be a great tragedy, because if we don’t stick up for our own side, nobody else in the media is going to do it for us.