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In the months leading up to the presidential election, the single most important time of the day, every day, was late in the afternoon, when Nate Silver’s “Today’s Polls, dd/mm” from FiveThirtyEight would appear in America’s Google Readers. Nothing excited liberals more than seeing a new SurveyUSA poll showing Obama +7 in Virginia, for example, precisely because Silver told us all that SurveyUSA was a good pollster. But you know who else was good, and got less credit, was Mark Blumenthal over there at Pollster.com. Poor underappreciated Mark Blumenthal! He used fancy regressions on his poll averages too, you know!? Well we haven’t looked at either of these sites since November 5, but this random Andrew Sullivan post tells us that Silver and Blumenthal are still doing poll analysis — and they’re reaching shockingly different conclusions.

The measure of any good poll analyst for an Internet blog is how well that analyst can look at various streams of data and declare, “this doesn’t really mean anything new.” For example, if Obama shot a homeless puppy while molesting a child on the street one day, causing an 80% drop in his approval ratings, the best poll analysts would declare, “our models show this downward trend to be ephemeral, if not entirely illusory, due to an under-sampling of cellphones in urban areas.”

Which is why this unusual Nate Silver statement from last Friday caused much consternation among everyone:

The benefits of “bipartisanship” are dubious. The public says they want bipartisanship, and a large majority of the public believes that Obama acted in a bipartisan fashion during the stimulus debate. And yet, his approval ratings fell significantly during this period.

The word “significantly” is basically a green light for rival poll analysts, in this case Blumenthal, to KILL KILL KILL:

But evidence of the limits of bipartisanship? Let’s remember that Obama holds an overall approval rating that most polls now peg in the mid-sixty percent range, after winning with roughly 52.9% of the votes cast. Doesn’t the aggregate approval rating, including approval from roughly a third of Republicans, say something about the benefits of the “bipartisan” messaging? And how will those Republican and Republican leaning independents respond to harsher partisan rhetoric from the President?

Moreover, to the extent that Obama’s ratings declined, both Gallup and Rasmussen — the only two measuring his job approval on a daily basis — show that decline occurring by the end of inauguration week, well before Republicans ramped up their criticism of the stimulus bill. So as evidence of a reaction to the stimulus debate, these data fall short.

If there is a lesson in this particular decline in approval ratings, it has little to do with the stimulus plan. I’m not sure I see a lesson here, unless Obama can find a way to hold an inauguration every week.

“…And your baseball site SUCKS ASS.”

In Declining Approval Ratings, Lessons for Obama [FiveThirtyEight]
Lessons in Declining Approval? [Pollster]

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  • ManchuCandidate

    Geek fight! Geek fight!

    Wait till they whip out their slide rules and see whose is bigger.

  • Lionel Hutz Esq.

    You know, if we accept that Obama is a Muslim born in a Mosque in some foreign, heathen land and not the legitimate president, it takes care of all these problems.

  • Noodle Salad

    Can’t all the math nerds put their petty differences aside and devise Rube Goldberg traps for Harry Reid and Michael Steele?

  • Serolf Divad

    Can’t we put them in a big, round cage with medieval weaponry attached to the bars? Three men enter, one come out… three men enter, one come out!!!!

  • shortsshortsshorts

    This is why they were both beat up in high school

  • slavojzizek

    But the polls are still showing Nate Silver is sexiest man in America, right?

  • SayItWithWookies

    …show that decline occurring by the end of inauguration week, well before Republicans ramped up their criticism of the stimulus bill.
    In fact, his drop in approval for that period was a reaction to Aretha Franklin’s hat.

  • Cape Clod

    This contained nothing about assfucking or Truck Nutz so I didn’t understand it at all, also.

  • Min

    Geek fight! Geek fight! My money is on the officious, poorly socialized one.

  • Sussemilch

    The “limits to bipartisanship” – let’s identify those limits quickly.

    They are basically: We (democrats) will describe to you (Republicans) what the agenda is, what the plan is, and how much you’re going to pay for it. Then you will be given an opportunity to squeal/grovel, and when we’re tired of listening, you will take it in the ass.

    Basically replay 2002, but this time we’re on top, and we’re not using the Constitution as a dropcloth.

  • loquaciousmusic

    [re=239320]Serolf Divad[/re]: Can’t we put them in a big, round cage with medieval weaponry attached to the bars? Three men enter, one come out… three men enter, one come out!!!!

    Jeez, that sounds like a Republican self-help group.

  • Vulpes82

    Depending on what Blumenthal looks like, this could be the beginning of some hot geek hatefuck porn.

  • WadISay

    Can we just settle this the way nerds always have? (booger-flicking)

  • Lazy Media

    Oh, great, now we’ve created a new literary genre. Pollster geek slashfic. Eesh.

  • Min

    [re=239406]Lazy Media[/re]: Other things may distract us, but we always return to teh buttsecks.

  • Jim Newell

    I took down the supplemental post because you people don’t seem to be in the mood for a quickie penis joke, if you’re WONDERING.

  • cal

    Blumenthal better not talk smack about my future ex-boyfriend!

  • SwamTheRiver

    Fancy regressions will not help with a president who is forward looking. Besides, I tried a fancy regression during a hypnotic session once and it wasn’t all that.

  • Red Zeppelin

    My god, I need a red bull just to stay awake after reading that, and I am still at work!

  • frumious_bandersnatch

    Oh god. Blumenthal is trying hard for insouciance, when all he really wants is to be under Nate Silver’s desk, seeing where the trend lines go.

  • mylesfromnowhere

    at least now I know we’re Bi-poller

  • SayItWithWookies

    [re=239412]Jim Newell[/re]: No quickie tonight. Oh, well — I’ll just be at home Googling myself.

  • whiskey tango foxtrot

    Just goes to show that bipartisanship is favorable to any given person as long as the rest of the American People ™ are going to completely agree with them.

  • Jim Newell

    [re=239471]SayItWithWookies[/re]: Eh, nevermind, I put it back up, because why not.

  • SayItWithWookies

    [re=239483]Jim Newell[/re]: Yay! For an evil overlord, you’re alright.

  • Jukesgrrl

    [re=239310]Noodle Salad[/re]: WIN.

  • somelegalbitch

    That’s nice, but I don’t see how it ends with me getting it on with Nate Silver.

  • PerhapsSo

    There is a 99.7% chance of Nate Silver getting in my pants if he shows up at my doorstep right now.

  • Lionel Hutz Esq.

    [re=239483]Jim Newell[/re]: Assuming you read your own press, you should know by now that we are all Wymyn around here, including you, and don’t take kindly to your phalic-centric jokes.

  • ladymacbeth

    i would have really liked if the last two posts (not the penis graph post which i also liked) had had the same alt-txt.

    PORN?? on the INTERNET?

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