Friday, 5 November 2004

Why statistics are helpful

Philip Klinkner manages to present in a four-line table what takes Andrew Sullivan’s anonymized correspondent a paragraph and a bunch of raw numbers.

Both, incidentally, show that the anti-same-sex marriage initiatives had no effect on Bush’s share of the vote in the states where they were on the ballot.

Exit polls misjudged?

Contrary to popular wisdom, Andrea Moro says the final exit polls were accurate and has the numbers to prove it. However, that doesn’t quite explain how the networks nearly blew the calls based on the Kerry-leaning numbers they had—and, once you have the final results, it’s easy enough to go back and reweigh the data to match the “true” results; I’d be curious if anyone has hardcopy of the exit poll results, including the weights, dating from before the returns came in.

A majority, if you can keep it

Apparently Tuesday’s whopping 3% landslide win for George Bush has gone straight to Stephen Bainbridge’s head. Not content just to insult libertarians, he’s decided to make Arlen Specter his personal whipping boy, apparently under the delusion that Specter would take being deprived of his (rightful, under Senate seniority traditions) chairmanship of the judiciary committee any way other than defecting to the Democrats, and probably taking the majority with him—Lincoln Chafee has already made noises about leaving the GOP caucus, and shunting Specter aside would be the handwriting on the wall for folks like Judd Gregg, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and John McCain that the “big tent” is shrinking. If you think Judiciary is hard to get conservative judges through now, just wait until Pat Leahy or Ted Kennedy is running the show.

Joe Gandelman has more realistic thoughts on what’s likely to happen, while the quotes in Friday’s New York Times suggest Specter is unlikely to be pushed aside.

Update: Todd Zywicki apparently also doesn’t get that Specter won’t be the only Republican to defect if he doesn’t get the chairmanship. And citing a vote against Bork—given Bork’s increasing Gore-esque nuttiness over the past few years—doesn’t quite make a particuarly convincing case that a Democrat-led Senate is worth standing on some bogus principle of undying party loyalty.