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Author Topic: Philosophy on tossups?  (Read 10029 times)
Gustaf
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« on: May 16, 2006, 03:06:43 pm »
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Am I the only one to believe that to be intellectually honest one should assign about as many tossups to either side?

On the forum compiled prediction all tossup states except Minnesota are called for Democrats. I suspect that this is people allowing their partisanship to blind them. If you feel confident in calling a state, set it to lean. If you aren't, well, if you toss a coin there will be as many heads as tails coming up, and ignoring that is a little wrong if you ask me.
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2006, 03:09:34 pm »
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For me, "tossup" does not mean "I have no clue whatsoever where it is", but rather, "the advantage one candidate has over the other is minimal".  Conversely, "lean" means that one candidate has a significant lead, and "strong" means "I really can't see this candidate losing".

I think that the prediction itself is better to look at than the confidence, given that everyone has a different definition of "strong", "lean", and "tossup".
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2006, 04:53:34 pm »
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For me, "tossup" means "if the election were to be held today, I couldn't with 90 percent certainty give a winner."
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2006, 05:05:13 pm »
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For me, "tossup" does not mean "I have no clue whatsoever where it is", but rather, "the advantage one candidate has over the other is minimal".  Conversely, "lean" means that one candidate has a significant lead, and "strong" means "I really can't see this candidate losing".

I think that the prediction itself is better to look at than the confidence, given that everyone has a different definition of "strong", "lean", and "tossup".
I agree completely with that. Take the Missouri Senate Race for example. Do I think McCaskill will win? Yes, I do. Do I consider it a tossup? Yes, but I think McCaskill will come out on top.  Would I go so far as to call it "Lean Democrat?" Absolutely not. I'm going to end this self-interview before I start to sound like Donald Rumsfeld.

Basically, it depends on what your definition of "lean" and "tossup" are. I may be optimistic, but I try not to be blatantly partisan.
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2006, 05:24:30 pm »
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If you want a good example of what I mean, I recently flipped Minnesota in my gubernatorial prediction from Tossup Republican to Tossup Democrat.  The reason for this is that I had initially thought the Republican had a slight advantage, but now I believe that the Democrat has a slight advantage.
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2006, 12:55:26 pm »
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For me, "tossup" means "if the election were to be held today, I couldn't with 90 percent certainty give a winner."

^^^^^^^^^^
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2006, 06:40:46 pm »
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I put tossup on many of the close races because I don't want to be blindly partisan.  I recognize the race will be close, but I think that the Democrats can pull it out in many of the races because of the political climate.  To me, lean means I'm 50% confident since it's the middle of the three choices.  I don't think that I'm 50% confident for many races.
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2006, 06:43:09 pm »
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I don't use tossups.  They're a copout.  Since there's no set standard for what a tossup or a lean or a strong is, I just put every state at lean or strong.  And if a race is close, I'll keep it to the incumbent as long as neither side has a decided advantage.
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2006, 09:01:35 pm »
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I don't use tossups.  They're a copout.

It's a copout to call a race as it is?  You still have to declare a winner even if you use "tossup".
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2006, 12:22:31 pm »
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On the forum compiled prediction all tossup states except Minnesota are called for Democrats.
It's gotten worse. Right now 13 races are called Dem, 9 are tossup Dem, and 14 are called Rep. None are tossup Rep. :Shocked
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2006, 03:04:22 pm »
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On the forum compiled prediction all tossup states except Minnesota are called for Democrats.
It's gotten worse. Right now 13 races are called Dem, 9 are tossup Dem, and 14 are called Rep. None are tossup Rep. :Shocked

That's what I'm talking about. My point is basically this:

If you take a number of races and you say, in race A the Democrat incumbent is behind by 5% but will still win because of factors X and Y. And in race B the Democrat challenger is behind by 3% but will win because of Z. And in race C, an open seat, the Democrat is tied but will win because of P and Q, and so on and so on, and for EVERY SINGLE race you can't call for sure you end up predicting the Democrats, then I think there is something wrong with your objectivity. All these races don't look the same, so they shouldn't all go the same way.
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2006, 03:11:01 pm »
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and for EVERY SINGLE race you can't call for sure you end up predicting the Democrats, then I think there is something wrong with your objectivity.

Well, to be fair, in every one of those races save for Illinois, pretty much all polls have shown the Democrat with a small lead.  There isn't a rampant number of cases like you're asserting where the Democrat is consistently behind but it's predicted for the Democrat.  Pretty much only Illinois.  There's also California, but it's been a long time since we've seen a poll from there, and polls have shown both Schwarzenegger and the Democrats leading at one point, so it's not exactly a stretch to say that the former might lose.

Anyway, I have both Illinois and California as Republican on my map, so I've already done my part.
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2006, 12:35:02 am »
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I currently have Colorado, Michigan and Florida as Tossup Republican, and Oregon might join them soon.

Interestingly, I seem to be the only person who thinks the Republicans will hold Colorado. Even htmldon's ridiculous and blatantly partisan prediction has us winning Colorado. Not that I'll be upset if we do win it.
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Gustaf
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2006, 12:39:46 pm »
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I also have Colorado as Republican. We have seen two polls only, one showing the Republican ahead and one showing the Democrat ahead and both with about 20% undecided. There is no reason to predict a seat like that switching.
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2006, 12:00:17 am »
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For me toss-up is a race in which the two candidates are within the margin of error (usually 3-5%).  There are some exceptions where I'll go with my gut feeling on how it's going to play out, but normally won't put a 52-48 race in the Strong category unless I really know something will change.
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« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2006, 12:06:26 am »
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I currently have Colorado, Michigan and Florida as Tossup Republican, and Oregon might join them soon.

Interestingly, I seem to be the only person who thinks the Republicans will hold Colorado. Even htmldon's ridiculous and blatantly partisan prediction has us winning Colorado. Not that I'll be upset if we do win it.

Michigan will stay Democrat; Granholm hasn't advertised yet and Devos has already poured some 10 million dollars into the race.
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