Putin on the Writs

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Hugh Akston
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Hugh Akston » 17 Oct 2019, 11:45

Mo wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 10:41
Nate Silver pegged the decline due to the Comey letter as about 3% minimum, which would have given her a 5% popular vote win.
So Nate Silver doesn't understand how presidential elections work any better than the Democrats do?
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Mo » 17 Oct 2019, 11:51

JasonL wrote:I'm unwilling to hang an awful lot of narrative on Nate Silver estimations of the effects of a counterfactual. The map is not the terrain and statistical modeling isn't even a map. It's not nothing but it is nowhere nearly enough to argue conterfactuals in close margin singular events.
But person polling at X, then something big happened and in a matter of days they were polling at X-Y without any major events in the intervening days seems to indicate that the event had an effect of a magnitude of Y+/-
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2019, 11:53

Hugh Akston wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 11:45
Mo wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 10:41
Nate Silver pegged the decline due to the Comey letter as about 3% minimum, which would have given her a 5% popular vote win.
So Nate Silver doesn't understand how presidential elections work any better than the Democrats do?
If Clinton had gotten a 5% popular vote margin it's all but a given that she would have won. Yes, yes, in principle one could lose the electoral college while getting a hyuge popular vote margin, but in practice that just never happens.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Hugh Akston » 17 Oct 2019, 12:01

thoreau wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 11:53
Hugh Akston wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 11:45
Mo wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 10:41
Nate Silver pegged the decline due to the Comey letter as about 3% minimum, which would have given her a 5% popular vote win.
So Nate Silver doesn't understand how presidential elections work any better than the Democrats do?
If Clinton had gotten a 5% popular vote margin it's all but a given that she would have won. Yes, yes, in principle one could lose the electoral college while getting a hyuge popular vote margin, but in practice that just never happens.
You'll have to pardon me for not taking your word for it. Even if I weren't extremely skeptical of counterfactuals, I would want to see some data indicating that the votes would shift at the swing state level to move the EC the other way.

And even if all that were true, the fact that Hillary was running such thin margins against as vile a creature as Donald Trump doesn't say great things about her strength as a candidate.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2019, 12:11

Besides Silver's popular vote forecast, he also has a compilation of state-by-state polls. For instance, if you scroll down on this page, you can see polls for PA:

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/20 ... nsylvania/

The numbers are all over the place, but Clinton's margins do seem (mostly) better before Oct. 28 than after Oct. 28. And, yes, I'm aware that most of those polls still showed her winning, so they were wrong in the end, but the trends in the polls showed a narrowing margin, which means that despite their defects for determining the raw absolute numbers, they were probably showing something real about the changes in the numbers.

Here's WI:

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/20 ... wisconsin/

Again, a slight tightening after late October.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Warren » 17 Oct 2019, 12:17

Hugh Akston wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:01
And even if all that were true, the fact that Hillary was running such thin margins against as vile a creature as Donald Trump doesn't say great things about her strength as a candidate.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2019, 12:19

Look, if the question is whether Clinton has ultimate moral responsibility for not running better against Trump, the answer is yes.

If the question is whether there are many things that could matter in a close race then the answer is yes.

But if the question is whether Comey's letter could be one of those things that mattered, or whether DNC hacks mattered, the answer is again yes.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Hugh Akston » 17 Oct 2019, 12:25

Right, but if the question is whether the election hinged on the Comey letter, the answer is clearly no.

And it was never about Hillary running a better campaign. She was a bad candidate. She has never won a competitive election. No amount of spin and PR were going to change the fundamental fact that the majority of the country for one reason or another did not want her to be president. That she got as many votes as she did speaks to what a flaming garbage monster her opponent was.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Aresen » 17 Oct 2019, 12:34

3 years on, it doesn't matter why Trump won and Clinton lost. Debating it is rather pointless unless Clinton decides to run again in 2020. [Everybody stop barfing!]

At this point, I just want Trump out and I'm even willing to settle for Warren as POTUS. (Or even a few months of Pence if the Senate would convict, which I doubt.)
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2019, 12:36

I'm not going to defend Hillary Clinton's merits.

That doesn't mean that nothing else in 2016 had any consequences. One can think that the election would have been very different with a different candidate AND think that Comey's letter had consequences.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2019, 12:40

Aresen wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:34
3 years on, it doesn't matter why Trump won and Clinton lost. Debating it is rather pointless unless Clinton decides to run again in 2020. [Everybody stop barfing!]

At this point, I just want Trump out and I'm even willing to settle for Warren as POTUS. (Or even a few months of Pence if the Senate would convict, which I doubt.)
OFFS, is it now the Official Grylliade Dogma that the past offers no lessons for the present?

Is this going to turn into one of those faculty meetings where we assert that a there's nothing to be learned when large numbers of kids bomb math placement tests and then, after getting inflated C's in their catch-up work, bomb physics?
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2019, 12:43

I think the past matters if we want to figure out whether Trump is an unstoppable juggernaut of MAGAdom or a guy who would have lost to even a shitty candidate but for a few lucky breaks.

I think the past matters if we want to figure out whether a real and flawed Democrat can do as well against Trump as Unnamed Democrat is currently doing in the polls.

But if the only thing to be said about the past is that Hillary Clinton has moral responsibility for her shortcomings, well, enjoy your church service.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2019, 12:46

I guarantee that somebody in the RNC is doing statistical analysis to figure out whether it would be worthwhile for William Barr to announce a federal investigation into [insert Blue nominee name here] in late October of 2020.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Hugh Akston » 17 Oct 2019, 12:48

thoreau wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:43
But if the only thing to be said about the past is that Hillary Clinton has moral responsibility for her shortcomings, well, enjoy your church service.
I think for this to qualify as 'the only thing to be said,' at least one person needs to have said it.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Eric the .5b » 17 Oct 2019, 12:49

thoreau wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:40
Aresen wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:34
3 years on, it doesn't matter why Trump won and Clinton lost. Debating it is rather pointless unless Clinton decides to run again in 2020. [Everybody stop barfing!]

At this point, I just want Trump out and I'm even willing to settle for Warren as POTUS. (Or even a few months of Pence if the Senate would convict, which I doubt.)
OFFS, is it now the Official Grylliade Dogma that the past offers no lessons for the present?
No, it's just tedious to watch people argue which missing leg of the stool was the biggest cause of it falling over.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Aresen » 17 Oct 2019, 12:52

thoreau wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:40
Aresen wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:34
3 years on, it doesn't matter why Trump won and Clinton lost. Debating it is rather pointless unless Clinton decides to run again in 2020. [Everybody stop barfing!]

At this point, I just want Trump out and I'm even willing to settle for Warren as POTUS. (Or even a few months of Pence if the Senate would convict, which I doubt.)
OFFS, is it now the Official Grylliade Dogma that the past offers no lessons for the present?
No. It's just that 3 years on, that particular dead equine has been flogged to the point that it is a mass of bleeding protoplasm that can be shaped to whatever narrative you choose.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Taktix® » 17 Oct 2019, 15:49

Eric the .5b wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:49
thoreau wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:40
Aresen wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 12:34
3 years on, it doesn't matter why Trump won and Clinton lost. Debating it is rather pointless unless Clinton decides to run again in 2020. [Everybody stop barfing!]

At this point, I just want Trump out and I'm even willing to settle for Warren as POTUS. (Or even a few months of Pence if the Senate would convict, which I doubt.)
OFFS, is it now the Official Grylliade Dogma that the past offers no lessons for the present?
No, it's just tedious to watch people argue which missing leg of the stool was the biggest cause of it falling over.
This.
Warren wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 10:39
Jadagul wrote:
16 Oct 2019, 20:07
Clinton's loss was super contingent on the Comey press conference and its timing.
Bah! The election was razor thin. It hinged on everything. Hell, even Russia's Facebook group might have tipped the scales. (It didn't)
The point is, Trump is so unqualified and bombastic, any not-awful opponent should have walked away with it.
Had it not been for Comey, might she have taken another three or four states? Sure, maybe. But she wouldn't have taken another 5% of the popular vote.
The election was close and it shouldn't have been. It was close because HRC is a truly hideous, war-mongering, autocrat wannabe.
Also very much this. (Look at that: me and Warren agree on something in this thread :D )

Comey may have been the most easily-identifiable final straw, but it's fairly large pile of straw.

-

Anyway, there may certainly be some lessons to learn from 2016, but any attempt to use old templates will be doomed to failure in 2020 if only because even the legacy incumbent POTUS advantage is staggering (and that's not even taking into account Trump's stated intent to play dirty and illegally)...
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Taktix® » 17 Oct 2019, 15:53

Also, not to pick at old wounds, but I just want to point out, regarding the video posted above of the Russian troops moving into the abandoned U.S. base in Syria:

Somewhere upthread I was mocked as supposedly claiming the Red Army was going to be marching down American streets. Well, if a U.S. military base is considered a small chuck of U.S. soil, then technically doesn't that video depict the Russian army marching through American streets?
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 17 Oct 2019, 16:11

JasonL wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 11:18
I'm unwilling to hang an awful lot of narrative on Nate Silver estimations of the effects of a counterfactual. The map is not the terrain and statistical modeling isn't even a map. It's not nothing but it is nowhere nearly enough to argue conterfactuals in close margin singular events.
Well, that's the argument against all counterfactual claims, though, isn't it. Silver and 538 are, themselves, very careful to disclaim actually predicting anything, sticking to "hey, this is what the statistical data suggests." I think Clinton, herself, lost the election for failure to pay enough attention to some of the swing states she ended up loosing. But it's still reasonable to say that but for this, that or the other thing happening she might nonetheless have stumbled into a win. You can't win those sorts of arguments, but you can't lose them, either.

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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Aresen » 17 Oct 2019, 16:16

Blame Johnson and Stein. Both of them got enough votes to cover the spread between Clinton and Trump in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Johnson also covered the spread in Florida.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by JasonL » 17 Oct 2019, 16:39

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 16:11
JasonL wrote:
17 Oct 2019, 11:18
I'm unwilling to hang an awful lot of narrative on Nate Silver estimations of the effects of a counterfactual. The map is not the terrain and statistical modeling isn't even a map. It's not nothing but it is nowhere nearly enough to argue conterfactuals in close margin singular events.
Well, that's the argument against all counterfactual claims, though, isn't it. Silver and 538 are, themselves, very careful to disclaim actually predicting anything, sticking to "hey, this is what the statistical data suggests." I think Clinton, herself, lost the election for failure to pay enough attention to some of the swing states she ended up loosing. But it's still reasonable to say that but for this, that or the other thing happening she might nonetheless have stumbled into a win. You can't win those sorts of arguments, but you can't lose them, either.
I understand, but I am sensitive for work reasons and general outlook reasons to people being selective in their use of what models told you after the fact. There's this tendency to look at a predictive model, face an unanticipated but not out of bounds outcome, and look for The Thing That Was Underweight. People start talking in hedging terms about how to improve the model, then after sufficient conversation it turns into something very close to Clinton would have won if not for emails. That's model torture because you aren't actually able to hold the rest constant and you could be simply within the variance of your prediction with no necessary "explanation".

tl;dr there is a tendency after the fact to act as though the outcome could have been known and if not for this or that it almost certainly would have gone another way, but you can never just shift one variable.

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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by thoreau » 17 Oct 2019, 16:49

OK, so assigning significant weight to the Comey letter is out. What about assigning weight to the failure to campaign heavily enough in key states? Is that also model torture?
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 17 Oct 2019, 17:02

I rely pretty heavily on FiveThirtyEight because, at least so far to my knowledge, their product has been fairly bias-free, they do a good job of discussing the strengths and weaknesses of most of the data that gets bantered about in the media and they're good about taking some pains to say what conclusions their numbers do and do not support. So, for example, they gave (as I recall) Trump a roughly 30% chance of winning in 2016, pointing out that no one should be surprised if a coin tossed ten times came up tails three times, etc., etc. As a general caveat, Jason's point is entirely valid, but to say one should be skeptical about ex post facto polling analysis hardly leads to the conclusion that it's not reasonable to say this could have been a game changer, that could have been a turning point, etc.

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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by Mo » 17 Oct 2019, 17:05

If a team loses a game 28-24 you can say that there’s a lot of reasons why they lost, but you can also say the pick 6 with 5 minutes to go cost them the game.
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Re: Putin on the Writs

Post by JasonL » 17 Oct 2019, 17:11

If you try to put numbers on it it is model torture. If you say it's a contributing factor nobody could argue with you.

My concern with how some of this works is like - In terms of weight of impact of various things, I think you can look at election outcomes as having some big base of variables, momentum or robustness against one off events or you can view them as fragile and sensitive to singular events. If you see fragility to outcomes you kind of have to look around and ask what are ALL the similar magnitude winds that were blowing and in which direction, and it would be super weird to pick just one that just so happens to match a narrative to use as The Reason. Weather in a swing state could be The Reason for example. My point is there is no The Reason in small effects in tight races.

I think models can help us determine big trends that suggest a runaway or a tight race and where the key places might be. I don't think the models are sensitive enough and peoples narrative biases are too strong to use those same models to pick apart small effects in tight races. Don't spend calories on small effects in tight races because you can view tight races as high variable events, ask why the race with a moron was tight.

Yeah, Mo, we've had this discussion before. I think you are more willing to say that than I am until you are near zeroes on the clock (i.e. what does the defense do when they take the field). I think the narrative focus around that one event is too strong and given too much weight. When you predict wins and losses for the next year you apply pythagorean regression to a team that won a lot of single score games in the 4th quarter. The models acknowledge it's almost a push over a presumed multiple event series but we dwell on the single event too much because The Outcome Matters.

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