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Stats United States Politics

Nate Silver's Numbers Indicate Probable Obama Win, World Agrees 881

An anonymous reader writes "The state-by-state election outcome probabilities today on Nate Silver's 538 imply a 97.7% probability for Obama to win 270 or more electoral college votes this coming Tuesday. A site that allows anyone but U.S. citizens vote seems to indicate that the rest of the world hopes these numbers are accurate. "
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Nate Silver's Numbers Indicate Probable Obama Win, World Agrees

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  • Don't Count on it... (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:43AM (#41880961)


  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:46AM (#41881005)
    Now does anyone have data on whether the forecasting of a win discourages the supporters or opponents of the projected winner from actually voting?
  • uhh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <> on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:46AM (#41881009) Homepage
    The link to FiveThirtyEight says Silver predicts an 86.3% chance of an Obama victory. The "97%" link is to an anonymous python script and output at a different site. Could we get some context here?
  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:47AM (#41881029) Homepage Journal
    Taking a hint from the last election, if the news outlets all say that Obama will win, then everybody will vote for Obama because everybody loves to vote for the winner. They got him in last time and they are doing their best to get him in this time. Not that I think Romney is great either, but Obama has just been awful for our country, for international relations, and for me personally.
  • He's probably right. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yog ( 19073 ) * on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:54AM (#41881165) Homepage Journal

    But winning the battle won't win the war. Mr. Obama will be weakened by the divisive campaign; the electorate is bitterly split, and he will find Congress harder to work with. The members of Congress will be acutely aware that 48 or 49% of the popular vote went to his opponent (and he may even lose the popular vote). They will be less willing to go out on a limb to support his policies unless they are from strongly pro-Obama districts, and the average district will be closer to a 49-51 split.

    This year's elections reflect a very divided country that is uncertain how to proceed. As the wars wind down, the economy will be the foremost topic on most people's minds, and Mr. Obama has only a minority of the people's support on economic issues. Probably, we will have four years of deadlock and uncertainty followed by the 2016 presidential elections which will either vindicate Mr. Obama's big government approach, or relegate him to the history books.

    Just my humble opinions :)

    I hope that everyone votes tomorrow, regardless of your choice. The best possible outcome is that everyone votes; that way, the elections more fully reflect the will of the people, so that we can put this nastiness behind us, let bygones be bygones, and move on. Democracy -- gotta love it! The worst possible form of government, except for all the other forms of government (Winston Churchill).

  • Better... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WGFCrafty ( 1062506 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:56AM (#41881215)
    better the devil you know than the devil who won't tell you anything substantial about his devious plans, if they even exist.
  • by AdamHaun ( 43173 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:02PM (#41881285) Journal

    As a Brit, I honestly have no idea whether this is parody or not.

    It's a reference to a church sign seen in rural Texas: []

    Whether the commenter was taking it seriously, I have no idea.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:13PM (#41881459)

    This year's elections reflect a very divided country that is uncertain how to proceed.

    Sure its not the opposite? A nearly 50/50 means both sides played well and almost perfectly figured the exact lies to tell to get 51% of the electoral vote.

    Using made up numbers, its like the stereotypical Right Left value to get 50% of the vote is exactly 7.1, so the right guy played at 7.095 and the left guy played at 7.105 and its all down to who looks nicer on the camera or whatever. I guess its extremely clear the winner will only be 0.05 off the R/L scale compared to what the electorate wants. I claim this is today's situation.

    No idea what to do is when its a blowout. Lets say one side has a professional politician and the other side has the village idiot and the same 7.100 R/L gameplay position will win half the votes. So the pro aims at a 7.105 score and the moron goes for 3.995. Well its probably going to be a blow out win for the pro, but all we know "for certain" about what the population wants, is the aggregate will of the electorate is somewhere between 4.000 and 7.100, who really know for sure. I claim this is like Reagan's second term.

    Nearly 50/50 means both sides know what lies the population likes to hear. Its only a blowout when one side has absolutely no idea what lies the population likes to hear.

    There is also a temporal anomaly in that at least on the R side you need to go hard core neo to get the nomination and then intense middle ground to have a hope of election... so which lies were true? Is he a complete loon or merely slightly right of center? In other words the challenger is always less predictable than the incumbent because of the nomination process.

  • by Stirling Newberry ( 848268 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:16PM (#41881503) Homepage Journal
    It is one thing to oppose a candidate's policies or abhor his record, however people who seethe about how the press is in the tank for Obama have a statistically high correlation to not believing in global warming, darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, and assorted other surreality based community ideals.
  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:16PM (#41881507)
    That is probably a big part of it. Something many governments find frustrating about dealing with the US is how rapidly our politics can shift as we swap out leaders every 4 or 8 years, it makes getting a consistent behavior difficult. It does not help that the US has a long (though obviously not unique) history of going back on deals made by previous presidents.. not that even within a term or party they are that good at keeping their word.

    Regardless, diplomatically, a consistent administration, even if it is not ideal to their interests, is better then a swap out. It is one of the reasons the US state department has such a long history of propping up dictators... even if they are crummy, they represent a diplomatically consistent element to deal with.
  • Bad statistics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vermonter ( 2683811 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:20PM (#41881595)
    Seeing as younger voters tend to vote democrat, and the fact that younger voters are also more likely to be on slashdot (and this voting site) than older voters, combined with the fact that his total vote count is only about 1200, I would hardly consider this a good sampling.
  • by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:20PM (#41881599)
    I disagree and I'm not trying to fight about it. I just think it wasn't laughable, it was sad. "Hope and Change" sound good to a lot of people and I suspect that more people know that their government is fucked up than many of us think. They just don't know what to do about it. Red or Blue, pick your poison. Neither party is offerring any real solutions. Obama just played the outsider well enough to win the election last time and then proceeded to be just like everyone else whose run for President in the last decade or two. Everyone I know who voted for him is dissapointed in him. He should be relatively easy to throw out of office.
  • by bravecanadian ( 638315 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:23PM (#41881639)

    What's in it for the rest of the world if Obama wins?


    1. 4 More years of bowing down to other powers in the world, and likely "Apology Tour II: This time we're REALLY Sorry".

    Pants on Fire. []

    2. Dragging the US down to the same socialistic level so many others in the world are mired in....misery loves company you know.

    Like Canada for example? You know the country everyone is currently ass kissing because we're in better fiscal shape than most? (Thanks Liberal Party)

    3. Even less of the American "We're #1" groupthink by the we can just become more meek, less competitive, and just follow the lead of the UN.

    I don't know about you but I don't think that if you're the best you need to pat yourself on the back about it all the time. That is called bragging and it gets kind of annoying.

    4. An even lower level standard of living for the US...meaning we consume less, leaving more oil for China.

    Probably true.. we're in a race to the bottom in the first world because the playing field isn't level. How is that Obama's fault again?

    5. The US 4 years closer to financial failure...and rebirth as God knows what...I didn't study as far into Saul Alinsky as those in the Obama administration has, but I think this likely is their early goals they are currently in the midst of establishing:

    It has been a long time coming. Sooner or later someone will be left holding the bag and be forced to use their political capital to make the cuts needed or at least rein things in to let growth make up the gap. Again, nothing to do with Obama unless you're going to blame the financial meltdown of the world on him personally.

    And I'm not even saying that Obama has done a great job but I think anyone who is reasonable has to agree he came into a heck of a situation.

  • by Jessified ( 1150003 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:25PM (#41881673)

    Arguably, the US president impacts the rest of the world a whole bunch more than it does US citizens.

    Your lives are run by your corporations. The rest of the world is impacted by your wars and international bullying. Therefore, you should vote for your corporations and we should vote for your president.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:26PM (#41881687) Homepage

    4. An even lower level standard of living for the US...meaning we consume less, leaving more oil for China.

    So that's what all insane gas guzzling is about - using it all up before the filthy Chinese get their hands on any!

    Thanks for explaining.

  • Re:As a Canadian (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:29PM (#41881749) Homepage

    As Canadians, we tend of overestimate the power of the presidency because we equate it to being the prime minister, and having a friendly congress to having a majority in Parliament. It's similar, but crucially it's without any party discipline. Members of your own party are likely to agree broadly with you in general, but there's no guarantee they'll vote with you, and they can actually be terrible burdens. A big part of what happened to Obama was that Blue Dog Dems, realizing they were swing votes, could command a high price for their support (e.g., Bart Stupak, a centrist Dem from Michigan, trying to add pro-life clauses to the Health Care Reform bill). Had the Dems in Congress shown any kind of unity, they could have steamrolled the Republicans. But while the Republicans have shown more discipline, it's still herding cats.

    A Canadian PM with a majority can pass pretty much any legislation that he wants that doesn't cause a PR uproar that threatens re-election. Simple as that. No American president has ever had that much power domestically.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:29PM (#41881763) Journal

    I mean honestly, why would we?

    On a pure geopolitical level, one would expect "other countries" citizens to hope that the guy will win who'll weaken the US as an international competitor.

    So like Chavez, Castro, and Putin all rooting for Obama, this "world vote" should be a negative indicator of who Americans vote for, no?

    On a further note, Americans rarely care who the leadership will be in any other country, why should we care what foreign citizens hope for our leadership?

    Seriously - for 8 years of the Bush2 administration, we heard about nothing but the evils of 'cowboy' diplomacy and US unilateralism. Yet the last 4 years have been nothing if not the "US Apologia World Tour 2012" in which our president has repeatedly apologized for US conduct and stressed multilateralism - and I don't see that anything's really improved.

  • by AlecC ( 512609 ) <> on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:39PM (#41881947)

    But that is politics today: Jean Claude Junker, PM of Luxembourg and longest serving Head of Government in a democracy: “We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it.”

  • by bhlowe ( 1803290 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:47PM (#41882073)
    I disagree. There are several points that make Nate's prediction "optimistic":
    • Obama is not polling above 49.5% in many of the tossup races. Those races are likely to go to Romney, as incumbents rarely exceed their late term poll numbers--whereas the challenger can pick up a lot of last minute change votes.
    • Reagan Democrats: The polls extrapolate from 2008 results to predict 2012. But this year is looking more like 1980.
    • Romney voters have switched from "voting against Obama" to voting for Romney. The debates were a huge win for Romney in that regard.
    • Campaign Rally Sizes: Obama's crowd sizes are down 90% from 2008.
    • Golfer in Chief: Why did Obama get dragged away from the golf course on the day of the UBL raid? Strange disconnect in priorities. Same with lavish vacations to Aspen, HI, Africa, Spain... while claiming he won't rest until unemployment is down. (Unemployment rates are not down over 4 years.)
    • Independents favor Romney. Many polls split independents evenly, but by most accounts, Independents are 3:1 Romney.
    • States like PA that haven't voted a Republican in decades are statistically tied. That speaks volumes.
    • Bradley Effect: This is where someone says to a pollster that they are voting for someone, but don't. Attributed to race, but this could be attributed to any number of Obama's qualities that annoy voters.
    • Broken promises: Obama had a golden opportunity to do the many great things he promised. He has let most liberals down. Most democrats are not voting because they like the job Obama is doing, but simply because they won't support Romney.
    • Nate Silver is getting a lot of attention because of his 2008 predictions. Past performance does not guarantee future performance. Nate is not an unbiased source.. he has a political and financial stake in an Obama win.
    • ~25 major papers have switched their editorial support from Obama to Romney. That takes a major change of heart.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:51PM (#41882161)


  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @01:11PM (#41882597) Homepage Journal
    What is true is that polling has never won an election. What wins elections is voting, and if we are to have a government for the people and by the people we must vote. A non representative government, such as that fought by the founding fathers is simply not in the best long term interest of the country.

    So, no, polling is not going to win an election. The most famous example is the Dewey/Truman race in which polling gave Dewey the win, and the Chicago Tribune wrote it up as such. The accepted reason for this is that they only polled people with telephones, which skewed the results. This is of course the result in all polls. If is impossible to get a representative sample or voters because no one knows who is going to vote on the day. There are likely voters, and registered voters, but the magic to use this get a reliable poll is simply that, magic.

    Now what polls can do is direct campaign efforts and misdirect the populous about the election. In a tight race any form of voter suppression is going to help someone like Romney, and polls can be useful, although such forms of voter suppression, i.e. the attack on Acorn, obviously did not help McCain. So again we see that polling is not going to help in the case of a well funded competitors. If Rasmusen was the most cited poll, then it likely many would stay home. However in the light of other polls, Rasmusen may in fact encourage voters for Obama that might stay home given his lead in most states.

    This is seen in New Hampshire with Romney. If Romney gets 70% of the white non hispanic vote he wins the popular vote, but likely will lose the electoral college. This is why he is spending so much time in New Hampshire. It is his most likely path to a win. But the polling shows him losing, so many of his supporters might stay home. New Hampshire is 90% white non-hispanic, but 33% college educated, which traditionally is less supportive of Republicans. So Romney is fighting the polls by hanging out there. White voters are not usually suppressed, but can be discouraged. There is a ballot measure that would appeal to Romney supports, which might help on turnout.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @01:20PM (#41882755)

    Still, even THOSE spending policies...would be better than BHO's....who has spent WAY more than only 4 years (vs. Bush's 8 years).

    Apparently, your calculator is broken. []

  • by microbox ( 704317 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @02:06PM (#41883631)

    Given the degree of failure we see each and every time Keynesian economics is tried through history

    Through history? You mean, since the Great Depression.

    Sure the evidence is mixed -- like why was there such a huge boom after WWII when the government was repaying so much debt? But there is no conclusive evidence that macroeconomics is wrong, and there is inconclusive evidence that it does work. Such is the murky world of economics.

    Trickle-down economics, on the other hand, is known to be junk. We already have a glut of investment money waiting to be parked. Cutting taxes for the rich just allows them to concentrate more wealth and power, and it doesn't trickle anywhere.

    Read up on 19thC economic history for why we have the social and political reforms that we do. A true conservative would respect that those laws were put there for a reason, and what to know what those reasons are.

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:00PM (#41884603)

    "After Obama Care .... you can't hardly blame them. Remember Obama didn't run on Obama Care, yet that was the first (and only) accomplishment of BHO."

    Er, wait, do you not remember the 2008 election, or do i not remember the 2008 election?

    *checks wikipedia* [] Okay, either you're confused, or wikipedia is lying (always a possibility.)

    "Since announcing his presidential campaign in February 2007, Obama emphasized withdrawing American troops from Iraq, increasing energy independence (that includes New Energy For America plan[40]), decreasing the influence of lobbyists, and promoting universal health care as top national priorities."

    So he spent all his political capital during the 2 months when the Democrats had a majority of both houses pushing through Obama Care, which was one of his platform positions during the election.

    "Passed without any Republican help (he didn't want any help)"

    Say what? He did it without any Republican help because the Republicans adamantly refused to cooperate with the Democrats on pretty much anything. I'm not sure where you get the idea that he didn't want Republican support. I'm sure he would have loved to get Republican support instead of having to ram it through. (He may certainly have said he didn't _need_ the help, which was A: more or less true, and B: the kind of thing you say when you know you're not going to get any help anyways.)

    So yes i'm pissed that Obama didn't manage to get _more_ of his election promises fulfilled, but i'm just as pissed at the Republicans for being willfully obstructionist to any plan that might possibly help as i am at the Democrats for not being more effective at getting around the Republican obstructionism.

    Of course i knew going in that there was no way Obama was going to be able to deliver all the Change he promised, but he was still better than the alternative then, and he's still better than the alternative now, and no way in hell am i going to reward the Republicans for trying to hold the country hostage in order to achieve their wacko ideological goals.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @03:02PM (#41884635) Journal

    If you haven't noticed, the bombs have been dropping for over a decade now. Obama even started dropping them directly on US citizens. These things are life and death, and we've been choosing death in election after election.

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