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November 16, 2011


Here's a question: Consider two approaches:

1. Fit a model to the last 17 elections
2. Fit a group of models to the 16 elections prior to the most recent one. Then choose a weighted average of this group of models based on how well each one fits the most recent election.

If I understand correctly, #2 is Mongomery's approach (or some simplified version of it.) It seems to me, the combination model arising from #2 can be looked at as a model based on the 17 previous elections. So, in principle, is approach #2 fundamentally different from approach #1? I don't the answer.

I have no confidence on the "appropriate estimates of uncertainty." I think these models are all based on the convenient, but unrealistic, assumption that there's no change in the way various factors affect the election. IMHO the change in the underlying relationships is the greatest source of uncertainty. Unfortunately, there's no way to measure this figure.

Given the (presumed) changes in election causality, it would seem to make sense to give greater weight to more recent years. Maybe political scientists are already doing this.

In this post, Bob Somerby convincingly argues that Obama is getting much more favorable media treatment than Al Gore did. Somerby calls this bias against Gore; conservatives call it bias toward Obama. Either way, I think there is a glaring difference in the media treatment of these two men.

ISTM this difference in media bias is something that should be taken into account when using the 2000 results to predict 2012.

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