Nate Silver answers question I’ve been asking for a while: Should Obama concede Florida?

By on October 20, 2012

There are several reasons why I no longer gamble on professional sports, none as important as this: I was never very good at it. I just couldn’t help but over-think every wager to the point where I would almost forget which way I had bet.

For this same reason, I’m also not very good at making predictions about political outcomes. Occasionally, I am spot-on right. But I also often wrong. As with sports, I tend to over-think every prediction. I also like to hedge my bets, err, predictions against what I fear happening.  Case in point, I predicted that Deveron Gibbons would finish second in St. Petersburg’s 2009 mayoral election, not because I actually thought he would finish second, but because I did not want him to finish in the top two and I figured me predicting it would put a hex on his chances.  Gibbons, in fact, did not make the run-off, but I doubt it had anything to do with the whammy I put on his candidacy.

In September of 2011, I made another one of my hexes/predictions/wagers that I genuinely did not want to see come true, but feared would. It’s turning out to be the stupidest smartest predictions I’ve made (so far) this election cycle.

wrote, “(A)t some point in October 2012, the Obama Campaign will shift its resources out of Florida and re-allocate them to the Midwest.”

I just can’t believe how stupid smart that prediction is.

Of course, two weeks ago, I was saying this one of the stupidest  predictions I had ever made. What the hell do I know?!

Fortunately, Nate Silver is a lot smarter than me. This afternoon he answer the question I’ve been asking for a while: should Obama concede Florida?

According to the FiveThirtyEight “now-cast” on Friday, Romney would be a 78 percent favorite to win Florida in an election held today. Projecting forward to Nov. 6 introduces a bit more uncertainty, but he’s now a 69 percent favorite to carry the state on Election Day, according to the model.

Romney’s gains in Florida call into question how vigorously the campaigns should be contesting it over the final two weeks of the campaign. Romney might consider relaxing his efforts there, while Obama’s campaign might consider de-emphasizing the state.

Based on the FiveThirtyEight tipping point index, Florida is now only the 9th most important state in the Electoral College math. There is only about a 2 percent chance that the decisive Electoral College vote will be cast in that state on Nov. 6.

This represents a significant decline: Florida had ranked as high as second on the tipping-point list at earlier stages of the race.

Why is the forecast model so willing to dismiss Florida? It reflects a combination of Obama’s recent weakness in the polls there — and his comparative strength elsewhere.

Thank you, Nate for proving me right, wrong, and then right again this election cycle. Thank goodness I don’t have an account on Intrade - the prediction market that allows you to bet on non-sports events – otherwise I would be broke right now!

Comments

comments