Sunday, October 09, 2016

Tonight I'm gonna (Rock you tonight)

Nate Silver --

But this is not a relatively newsless campaign like 2012, which was full of overhyped “game changers” that didn’t move the polls. Instead, there’s been a lot of news in 2016 — almost too much to comprehend or consume at once. That can make it hard for stories to metastasize. But when a story has broken through to dominate the news cycle, it usually has moved the polls in the direction that people expected.

Note the circular logic: news has moved the polls when it's been big enough to break through the noise and ... move the polls, and we know which stories these are because they're the ones that ... moved the polls!

A problem with the quantitative approach to political campaign analysis is the lack of any theory of selectivity i.e. how the voter is processing the vast amounts of information out there with signals of very low quality. Thus with the Trump tape, simple explanations (now the voters have clear evidence of the private Trump) are overlooked in favour of stories aligned with preconceived notions (which is not to say they're wrong) about the awfulness of the Trump base and the cynicism of the Republican leadership.

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