Here is an interesting piece that challenges Nate Silver’s 538 model (which Jason has referenced before). Challenging or supporting Silver is becoming something of a fad among election watchers this season. This is one of the better attempts to take on Silver and comes from the perspective of a quantitative baseball analyst. As a baseball fan and early sabermetrics user/supporter, it is pretty cool to see people like Silver and this guy crossing over into political analysis – and having something comparatively useful to add (unlike so many pundits on television). Here is one section of the piece:
But for the Rays, the 2008 environment was not so easily repeated in subsequent years. While still a successful club with a solid defense in a pitcher’s park (and still far better defensively than in 2007) they have led the league in “Defensive Efficiency Rating” only once in the past four years. It’s what Bill James called the Law of Competitive Balance: unsuccessful teams adapt more quickly to imitate the successes of the successful teams, bringing both sides closer to parity. Trende, in his book The Lost Majority, applies the same essential lesson to political coalitions. Assuming that the 2008 turnout models, which depended heavily on unusually low Republican turnout, still apply to Obama’s current campaign ignores the extent to which multiple factors favor a balance swinging back to the Republicans. And the polls that make up the averages – averages upon which Nate Silver’s model rests – are doing just that. Nate’s model might well work in an election where the relationship between the internals and the toplines was unchanged from 2008. But because that assumption is an unreasonable one, yet almost by definition not subject to question in his model, the model is delivering a conclusion at odds with current, observable political reality.