Wednesday, October 31, 2012

State Poll-National Poll Divide

One thing that has bugged me about the coverage of the election was the idea that there was a high probability of Romney winning the popular vote by a decent amount (>1%) and Obama winning the electoral college.  Joe Scarborough seems to be one of the worst offenders at this.  Much of the polling seemed to suggest that not only is this a possibility but a fairly likely event as well.  However, it never seemed intuitively to me to be a all that probable.  Yes, there have been a few elections where the popular vote loser won the electoral college, but in each of those cases the popular vote was quite close.

Well today a couple of the better analysts have examined the problem and basically said that one of the polls has to be wrong.  Sean Trende says when you aggregate all of the states, the state polling is not consistent with the national polling.    Nate Silver suggests that the state polling is better.  While Jay Cost seems to be skeptical of the state polling, at least in Ohio.  It is good to see some confirmation of my own intuitive thoughts.

One caveat is Hurricane Sandy.  If the hurricane really depresses voting in New York and New Jersey, it probably will not have much of an impact on the electoral college as Obama would likely win both states anyway.  However, it could impact Obama's popular vote total enough that Romney wins the popular vote by a bigger amount (i.e. 1-2%) and Obama still wins the electoral college.  There again this scenario would not be able to explain the current polling discrepancy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Extra Wild Card Excitement?

I am not buying any added excitement from adding an extra wild-card team in baseball. 

In the AL if there had not been an extra wild card, the end result would have been exactly the same.  Since the Orioles and Rangers finished with the same record, the result would have been a one-game playoff like what happened.  The added wild card probably only removed drama, as the Orioles could see the Yankees winning early and knowing they were playing in a one-game playoff on Friday whether they won or lost.  Without the extra wild card, the Orioles could have been playing to avoid the one-game playoff.  Also the A's-Rangers loser would not have been guaranteed at least a one-game playoff, likely increasing the drama associated with that game.

In the NL, the extra wild card probably increased interest, though the Cardinals race for the last spot never got that close down the stretch, and the one game playoff was pretty dramatic.  Still I would take the un-manufactured drama of the A's-Rangers game or last year's final day over the manufactured drama of the Cardinals-Braves game.

Friday, October 5, 2012

No Statistics in MVP Discussions?

The other day on Pardon the Interruption, Michael Wilbon was arguing for Miguel Cabrera as the AL MVP.  (Sorry I can't find a link).  As part of his argument he said he did not want to hear anything about "statistics" in arguing against Cabrera.  Those arguments all pale in comparison when put next to Cabrera winning the Triple Crown. 

Huh?   The Triple Crown argument is a "statistical" argument as home runs, RBIs and batting average are all statistics.  I guess it just depends on what statistic you use.