Nate Silver

A shift toward libertarianism

Over at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver points to a recent CNN poll showing that the public shifting more towards libertarian ideas (emphasis mine):

Since 1993, CNN has regularly asked a pair of questions that touch on libertarian views of the economy and society:

Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?

Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?

A libertarian, someone who believes that the government is best when it governs least, would typically choose the first view in the first question and the second view in the second.
[…]
[I]n CNN’s latest version of the poll, conducted earlier this month, the libertarian response to both questions reached all-time highs. Some 63 percent of respondents said government was doing too much — up from 61 percent in 2010 and 52 percent in 2008 — while 50 percent said government should not favor any particular set of values, up from 44 percent in 2010 and 41 percent in 2008. (It was the first time that answer won a plurality in CNN’s poll.)

Democrats upset with Nate Silver over 2014 Senate projections

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is pushing back against Nate Silver’s projections in key races this fall that could decide control of the chamber. The party’s campaign arm issued a memo yesterday in which it highlighted where the election guru has come up short in the past:

“Nate Silver and the staff at FiveThirtyEight are doing groundbreaking work, but, as they have noted, they have to base their forecasts on a scarce supply of public polls,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil wrote in a memo Monday. “In some cases, more than half of these polls come from GOP polling outfits.”

In 2012, Cecil noted, Silver incorrectly predicted Republican candidates would win in Montana and North Dakota, where Democrats ultimately triumphed.

“In fact, in August of 2012, Silver forecasted a 61 percent likelihood that Republicans would pick up enough seats to claim the majority,” Cecil added. “Three months later, Democrats went on to win 55 seats.”

The DSCC, of course, ignores Silver’s October 2012 projection, in which he wrote, “[t]he FiveThirtyEight forecast model now gives Republicans just about a 16 percent chance of winning control of the Senate.”

Nate Silver: 60% chance Republicans takeover the Senate

Jon Karl and Nate Silver

Election guru Nate Silver says that Republicans are likely to win the net-six seats that they need to take control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election, noting that they could pick up as many as 11 seats in the chamber.

In a segment with ABC’s This Week, Silver, who runs the statistics website FiveThirtyEight, told Jon Karl that Republicans will take open seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. He believes that Republicans are likely to take Arkansas, pointing out that polls have shown Republicans “pretty consistently ahead.”

Silver, who accurately predicted outcome in all 50 states in the 2012 presidential election, gives Republicans a 55% shot of taking Louisiana and an even shot of winning in North Carolina. If Republicans win each of those three seats, plus the three aforementioned open seats, they would take control of the Senate.

Silver also gives Republicans a 45% shot of winning in Alaska. He gives lesser odds of the GOP taking Michigan and Colorado, races that are being watch closely by political analysts with buzz building about a “Republican wave.”

“This is the drum roll,” said Karl. “Republicans need six seats. What’s the projection, how many are they going to pick up?”

“I’d say exactly six,” Silver replied, “but it’s probably six, plus or minus five,” acknowledging that Republicans “could” pick up as many as 11 seats in the most extreme “wave election” scenario.

Nate Silver: GOP could take control of the Senate in 2014

With former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) deciding to pass on the open seat in Montana, the odds of a Republican takeover have increased, according to Nate Silver, a political analyst with an uncanny ability to predict elections.

Republicans already had a fair chance to take control of the Senate before Schweitzer’s surprising announcement this past weekend. But with six seats currently held by Democrats in traditionally red states, three of which will be open seats, the odds are beginning to look favorable for Republicans.

“The G.O.P.’s task will not be easy: the party holds 46 seats in the Senate, and the number will very probably be cut to 45 after a special election in New Jersey later this year,” wrote Silver at FiveThirtyEight. “That means that they would need to win a net of six contests from Democrats in order to control 51 seats and overcome Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s tiebreaking vote.”

“A race-by-race analysis of the Senate, in fact, suggests that Republicans might now be close to even-money to win control of the chamber after next year’s elections,” adds Silver. “Our best guess, after assigning probabilities of the likelihood of a G.O.P. pickup in each state, is that Republicans will end up with somewhere between 50 and 51 Senate seats after 2014, putting them right on the threshold of a majority.”

Poll: Americans’ views shift in favor of civil liberties

Americans are not willing to trade liberty for security, despite overtures from President Barack Obama and politicians from both sides of the aisle, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac. They also reject the notion that Edward Snowden, the man who linked the information about the NSA’s broad surveillance techniques, is a traitor to his country.

“In a massive shift in attitudes, voters say 45 - 40 percent the government’s anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, a reversal from a January 14, 2010, survey by the independent Quinnipiac University when voters said 63 - 25 percent that such activities didn’t go far enough to adequately protect the country,” the polling firm noted in a release on Wednesday (emphasis added).

“There is a gender gap on counter-terrorism efforts as men say 54 - 34 percent they have gone too far and women say 47 - 36 percent they have not gone far enough. There is little difference among Democrats and Republicans who are about evenly divided. Independent voters say 49 - 36 percent that counter-terrorism measures have gone too far,” added Quinnipiac. “Some of the largest growth in those concerned about the threat to civil liberties is among men and Republicans, groups historically more likely to be supportive of governmental anti- terrorism efforts. “

Kudos to Nate Silver and Public Policy Polling

Admittedly, I read Nate Silver, author of FiveThirtyEight, pretty often. His commentary on polling and trends has always been insightful. Unfortunately, Silver was unfairly slammed by conservative pundits who thought that he had a bias against Mitt Romney, especially after a story broke that he had received internal polling from Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008.

Silver was a winner on Tuesday night, whether you want to admit it or not. I hope Republicans realize that, while he may have his own opinions, Silver does a good job of providing factual information to those who want a better understanding of polling and predicting electoral results.

According to a study released yesterday, Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based Democratic firm, was the nation’s most accurate pollster. They may ask some ridiculous questions to Republicans from time to time in their polling, but they got it right. Like Silver, they also deserve credit.

Press Corps asks about Obama’s plan

The White House Press Secretary had an interesting day yesterday.  He was asked several times about President Obama’s debt-ceiling plan.  Well, there isn’t one, and the folks on the right are chomping at the bit.  I can certainly understand why.  Oh sure, Press Secretary Jay Carney gave hints about the plan, but wouldn’t go into detail.  He said, “We’re showing a lot of leg.”  When pressed for more, he mockingly said, “You need it written down?”

Well, yeah.  It would help.

A couple of years ago, the White House derided the GOP because they didn’t have it written down.  Republicans were supposedly “unserious” because they didn’t have a budget.  So, the Republicans produced a framework.  They “showed a lot of leg”, if you will.  Then Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mocked it because it didn’t have the specifics he felt it should have.  Sort of like how Obama’s plan seems to lack a lot of specifics.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of that “if you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t be part of the conversation” crap.  I don’t think Obama should just shut up because he doesn’t have a plan all his own.  However, I do believe that the President probably should have a plan of his own to put forth.

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit proposes that the reason there isn’t a specific plan is because Obama knows that he’ll get hammered with it in the General Election.  I can’t say he’s wrong on that one.

Boehner tells House GOP to get in line

On Tuesday it looked like conservatives in the House Republican Conference were prepared to kill Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to end the budget ceiling stalemate. But it looks like he is building enough support to move it through the House, though it has taken some arm twisting that is most assuredly going to set off grassroots conservatives and the tea party movement:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he ordered GOP lawmakers to “get your ass in line” behind his debt proposal during an interview Wednesday on a conservative radio show.

“My goal is to continue to work with all our members so we get them to the point where they say ‘yes,’ ” Boehner said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.

A large number of conservative Republicans are opposing Boehner’s proposal, arguing it does not go far enough in reducing government spending.

But Boehner said he couldn’t understand why any Republicans would position themselves with Democrats opposing his plan.

“Barack Obama hates it, [Sen.] Harry Reid hates it, [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi hates it,” he said, naming off the Democratic leadership.
[…]
Boehner would have a lot of leverage ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline for lifting the debt ceiling if the House approves his bill.

“We’ll see,” Boehner said in response to the veto threat. “In the absence of any other plan, your plan becomes the plan.”

Boehner outlined his strategy to box the president into having “no choice but to sign it into law.” He said a rival proposal from Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, did not have the support to pass Congress.

Election forecasters continue to see big gains for GOP

Tomorrow is election day. As has been well documented here and elsewhere, Republicans are expected to pull off a huge electoral victory and take control of the House of Representatives, while the Senate will likely remain out of their grasp, a point conceded by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) over the weekend.

Charlie Cook updated his projections over the weekend, seeing greater gains for Republicans in the House than forecast in the lead up to the election (emphasis mine):

The Cook Political Report’s pre-election House outlook is a Democratic net loss of 50 to 60 seats, with higher losses possible. A turnover of just 39 seats would tip majority status into Republican hands. The midterm maelstrom pulling House Democrats under shows no signs of abating, if anything it has intensified. Whereas fewer than a third of Democratic Senate seats are up for election, House Democrats are suffering the full violence of this national undertow. Over a quarter of the entire 255-member House Democratic caucus have trailed GOP opponents in at least one public or private survey, and nearly half have tested under 50 percent of the vote in at least one poll. At this point, only 185 House seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Democratic, while 200 seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Republican, and 50 seats are in the Toss Up column. While there are certain to be at least 43 new members of the House thanks to 41 open seats and two vacancies, between 40 and 50 incumbents (over 95 percent of them Democrats) are likely to lose their seats, making for possibly the largest freshman class since 1992.

Cook also gives us some things to look for tomorrow:

Charlie Cook: I’ll be sacking groceries if GOP doesn’t take the House

Charlie Cook, a political analyst and founder of the Cook Political Report, was on Morning Joe yesterday to discuss the mid-terms, which are now just five days away (it’s almost over!). Cook explained that if Republicans don’t take back the House of Representatives, he’ll be “sacking groceries”:

Nate Silver writes that a GOP takeover isn’t inevitable, but it is likely. His model is still showing a net pick-up of 52 seats in the House for Republicans.

Something tells me Cook doesn’t have anything to worry about:

 


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