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Author Topic: ARG...... no longer argh ?  (Read 8838 times)
Grad Students are the Worst
Alcon
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« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2008, 05:44:03 pm »
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I think you're misunderstanding what the regression model was for.  The regression model ended up worth less than one crappy poll in most states.  It wasn't for picking up trends the polls didn't pick up. It was for picking up the slack when a state wasn't being polled.  For instance, the assumption was the Dakotas -- being highly similar -- would move together.  So if SD didn't have a poll for a month, but ND had a few, SD would be adjusted to move along with ND.  In some cases, like Indiana, Silver's model was skeptical because the demographics suggested that it shouldn't be close.  But eventually the IN regression came into step, and even when it was out of step, it was the difference of a point and a half at most.  Why?  Because Indiana did have polls, and the model ceded to them.

Silver also provided a raw, trend-adjusted polling model.  That included only subsequent national poll movement (downweighted), pollster quality (see previous caveat), sample size.  True, how much sample size is weighed is arbitrary.  But we do that kind of things in our mind, and it always ends up more arbitrary that way.

The RCP average is really the same thing as the Atlas, a "dumb" average.
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« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2008, 06:36:16 pm »
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I think you're misunderstanding what the regression model was for.  The regression model ended up worth less than one crappy poll in most states.  It wasn't for picking up trends the polls didn't pick up. It was for picking up the slack when a state wasn't being polled.  For instance, the assumption was the Dakotas -- being highly similar -- would move together.  So if SD didn't have a poll for a month, but ND had a few, SD would be adjusted to move along with ND.  In some cases, like Indiana, Silver's model was skeptical because the demographics suggested that it shouldn't be close.  But eventually the IN regression came into step, and even when it was out of step, it was the difference of a point and a half at most.  Why?  Because Indiana did have polls, and the model ceded to them.

Silver also provided a raw, trend-adjusted polling model.  That included only subsequent national poll movement (downweighted), pollster quality (see previous caveat), sample size.  True, how much sample size is weighed is arbitrary.  But we do that kind of things in our mind, and it always ends up more arbitrary that way.

The RCP average is really the same thing as the Atlas, a "dumb" average.

Ah, it's all coming back to me now. Point accepted on non-poll factors. But I think was a bit sceptical of the weighting of the polls. I guess it was a general impression of a lot of weights and stuff that didn't seem solid enough. I like to keep as close to raw data as possible.
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Grad Students are the Worst
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« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2008, 07:46:02 pm »
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I half-agree with you.  I could have lived without the pollster quality weights.  But I like the sample size weights, and the time weights.  Those are things that are hard to mentally quantify on-the-fly.  On those alone, I think it was superior to the RCP average.  Purity is not necessarily optimal.  Besides, both present the pure underlying data.  They just calculate it in different ways ("dumb" average vs. maybe-overcomplicated quantified analysis.)
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« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2008, 05:50:47 am »
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I half-agree with you.  I could have lived without the pollster quality weights.  But I like the sample size weights, and the time weights.  Those are things that are hard to mentally quantify on-the-fly.  On those alone, I think it was superior to the RCP average.  Purity is not necessarily optimal.  Besides, both present the pure underlying data.  They just calculate it in different ways ("dumb" average vs. maybe-overcomplicated quantified analysis.)

It's a trade-off between reliability and relevance (yeah, I'm taking an accounting course, right now...bleh). Weighting should make it more relevant/accurate but it does force you to make various judgement calls on issues and thus help introduce bias. I guess the bottom line is, to what extent did 538 over-perform RCP?
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