Mar
24
2014

The DSCC’s sudden, yet inevitable betrayal of Nate Silver.

I so totally knew that they would use this argument.

Democrats aren’t taking Nate Silver’s latest Senate prediction lying down.

In an unusual step, the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday issued a rebuttal the famed statistician’s prediction – made a day earlier – that Republicans were a “slight favorite” to retake the Senate. Silver was wrong in 2012, the political committee’s Guy Cecil wrote in a memo, and he’ll be wrong again in 2014.

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

No, really, I pointed this general situation out yesterday.  And I most certainly will claim points for prescience, here. Although it’s not the most difficult prediction I’ve ever made: the DSCC is almost as predictable as the DCCC, these days.  Six years’ worth of having OFA batten on their resources and staff has left its mark.

Moe Lane

PS: Oh, man, I hadn’t realized that the DSCC was actively building Nate Silver up as a guru:

For the last few months, FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver has been largely absent from the political forecasting scene he owned in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

But that hasn’t stopped the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from sending at least 11 fundraising emails featuring Silver in the subject line over the past four months, even as Silver was building the foundation for his new website that’s launching Monday and was not writing regularly.

It’s all part of a digital fundraising game that will increase in intensity as the election draws nearer, as candidates, political parties, and other groups bombard their email lists with messages designed to draw contributions.

Via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt.  That explains the sudden panic: the DSCC can fundraise off of many a prediction of We may lose the Senate!  One of We’re going to lose the Senate!… not so much.

9 Comments

  • garfieldjl says:

    So the Democrats can’t handle bad news and as usual have to blame someone else…

  • Catseyes says:

    So Nate Silver managed to torpedo the DSCC’s fund raising plans for the year. No wonder their a wee bit ticked off all that planning and build up just got short circuited.

    • garfieldjl says:

      I’d just call it the result of Democrats building up a lot of bad Karma due to Obamacare, the IRS targetting conservatives, etc.

    • acat says:

      Good point, Catseyes. The small and “true believer” donors will still throw down, but the smarter money is going to stay out or (worse, for them…) go to the GOP and try to claim “we were with you all along, mate!”.
      .
      I would not mind Nate quite as much if he were a tad more forthcoming about his “secret sauce”, i.e. how he weights polls. There’s a definite potential that any ‘secret sauce’, if it isn’t actually *codified* (i.e. it exists as a series of numbers and calculations, not “Nate’s gut”) can be subject to bias. (or a past-its’-prime burrito)
      .
      Based on the 2012 presidential race, I could conclude Nate’s sauce is codified, but .. while he called that one, he didn’t – this far out – call the Senate..
      .
      Mew

  • Freddie Sykes says:

    I do not know who used the word “wrong”, The National Journal hack or the DSCC hack. If something is judged to have a 60% chance of happening, then it also has a 40% chance of not happening. Neither result would be wrong. That said, I would rather be the 60% favorite as long as I did not get cocky.

  • JEM says:

    When he gets to “The GOP may have a veto-proof majority” you can start sending him contact info for armed personal security folks, ’cause he’d probably need it.

    • Dave R says:

      Sadly, he won’t need to worry about that any time soon. Pretty nearly everything needs to break right for the GOP to get much beyond +2 or +3 this cycle, and it’s easy to see losing Senate seats in 2016 (when the class of 2010 is up for reelection) even if the GOP wins the White House in anything short of a landslide.

      • garfieldjl says:

        No, too many things are going wrong at the same time for Democrats to hold the Senate (barring the GOP screwing it up).

        Obama’s domestic policy and foreign policy is imploding. The IRS and NSA scandals (remember the IRS, NSA, and AP scandals all came out at about the same time) are still on a lot of people’s minds. The lies to sell Obamacare is on the mind of millions of Americans and most of the Democrats up for re-election are the ones responsible for Obamacare.

        We stand a good chance at winning big in 2014.

        • Dave R says:

          I agree the GOP is likely to win big in 2014; I think you misunderstood what I meant by +2 or +3 — I meant gaining a 2 or 3 seat majority (and so 7 or 8 seats above where we are now), not gaining only two or three seats. It’s just getting from there to a veto-proof majority isn’t coming any time soon, as the GOP is likely to lose ground in 2016 (for the same reasons the Democrats are likely to lose ground this cycle, though a successful presidential candidate could hold down losses). It’ll be 2018 before another non-trivial group of vulnerable senate Democrats are up for re-election; virtually all the non-safe seats up in 2016 are held by Republicans already. Though if there’s any shot at a veto-proof majority in 2018 it would be because the GOP didn’t lose much ground in 2016, which probably means there’s a Republican president and so little immediate need of a veto-proof majority.

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