Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nate Silver on the election

Nate Silver has an interesting piece in his NYTimes column that analyzes polling results post the DNC and RNC conventions. Silver concludes that Obama currently has a 79% chance of winning the general election. Now... I believe that Silver is a fantastic analyst, but I have some major issues with the polling conclusions in this case. My concern is that the conclusions do not take into account some critical data.

 First, the terrible jobless numbers that were released on Friday, the day after Obama's speech, will not have been accurately reflected in the polling sets. While Bill Clinton has received a lot of praise for his speech endorsing Obama - and the polls reflect that the public responded positively- the jobless numbers essentially rebut Obama's argument that the economy is picking up steam. The economy is struggling. I expect that many Americans who regarded the Democratic convention positively will see the latest jobless numbers as evidence that Obama's strong talk is not matched up with reality. I expect that the polling data released next week will reflect this hypothesis.

Second, Romney spent the week of the Democratic Convention preparing for the Presidential debates. He was out of the news. In essence, while Obama and the Democrats launched a full assault on Romney, he was nowhere to be seen. This undoubtedly caused a degradation in his polling numbers V the President. Again, when Romney starts campaigning next week I expect his numbers will improve. 

Third, a lot of voters still don't have a good feel for Romney. As we approach November, it will crucial for Romney to show voters that he is a decent, intelligent and ultimately moderate-conservative Republican. The debates will be incredibly important. Though I am of course biased, I expect that Romney will generate substantially improved personal appeal numbers over the next few weeks. I also expect that he will be able to win the debate with the President on the economy. As I expect Ryan will win the debate with Biden.

This will be a very close election. With its fun moments - See below.

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