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Monday, April 17, 2017

Nothing Changes

I just read the detailed analysis that 538 Blog has done on the likely outcome of the special election for the 6th Congressional seat of Georgia.  That seat is vacant because Tom Price resigned to become Secretary of HHS.  Nate Silver uses detailed mathematical calculations to decide who will win this race.  It's all based upon a bunch of poll of the district.  It's the same sort of analysis that Nate used to tell us last November that Hillary Clinton had a lock on the presidency, and we all know how that turned out.

I don't understand why Silver wastes his time doing this sort of analysis for a special election.  Turnout will be quite low; it always is in a special election.  Further, there has been a late surge in Republicans voting early, something that may or may not carry over to those who vote in person on election day.  Then there's the weird structure for the election.  If anyone gets over 50% of the vote, then he or she will be elected.  Otherwise, there will be a runoff in June between the top two finishers.  There's something like 15 different candidates at the moment which makes the polls even less reliable.

You would think that after November's fiasco, analysts like Silver would be a bit more cautious especially when facing an election for which there are no accurate polls.  That seems, however, not to be the case.  Why do they bother?

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