Friday, February 3, 2012

Prognostication #5:
The Nevada Caucuses

Tomorrow, the Republicans of Nevada will have their caucuses. Compared to earlier contests, the amount of polling is woefully small. There are some other primaries and caucuses on Saturday and Tuesday, but this is the only one will any fresh polling data at all, so this is the only one where my system will make a prediction so far.

Nate Silver is happy to use data I do not use in most cases, polls I consider too old to be useful.  He tries to predict into the future using this stale data, a method I do not use or endorse.  But this time, we are using the exact same data, one poll from the Las Vegas Journal-Review taken in the last few days of January and another from PPP taken yesterday and the day before.  In some ways, this is the cleanest test of our different methodologies.  May the best algorithm win.

Here are the two prediction set. As always, my numbers come first and Silver's are second in parentheses.

Romney 50.5%(51.3%)
Gingrich 26.0%(25.6%)
Paul 13.5%(15.0%)
Santorum 9.5%(8.1%)
Other 0.5% (0%) 
I made my prediction without seeing Silver's. I expect he barely knows I exist.  This time, Silver is bullish on Romney and Paul, while my system expects better results from Gingrich, Santorum and Other. I decided to give Other half a percent instead of none because even in the Iowa caucuses with several more choices, the number of people expressing a preference not in the main group was closer to half a percent than to zero.
Because Nevada is farther west than any other contest so far, the polls will close later and the results may not be complete until Sunday morning.  In any case, when 100% of precincts report, I will publish the results and pick over the bones.

For me, this is a lot more fun than reading the tabloids and trying to figure out if some female celebrity really is pregnant or not.  It's a hobby that better suits my talents.

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