Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mouth and money time, part 2:
Hubbard 83, Silver 82
Game over, dude.

I made prognostications in 84 races on Monday, the 33 Senate races and the 51 electoral contests, all the states and the District of Columbia. Nate Silver made predictions in all these and many more.

Let me point out that this is just a hobby for me and he's getting paid and has a staff.

Florida goes to Obama.That's a win for Silver and a loss for me. Technically it is a loss for Matthew Hubbard and not for my system, since my system thought it was a toss-up.

No matter. Silvers gets a win and I get a loss.

The first two disagreements to be called were the Senate races in North Dakota and Montana. My system had the Democrats ahead and Nate's said they were both going Republican.


Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I need to stay in practice with my online Howard Cosell impression.

After 84 contests, I lead 83-82. In races where both of us made predictions in 2008 when I only followed the presidential contests, I had 50 correct with one abstention, Indiana. Silver predicted McCain in Indiana, which means I won that year as well by an ever narrower margin, 50-0-1 to 50-1-0.

Look, people have called me a genius many, many times in my life. If I compare myself to the big dogs, people like Newton and Gauss and Euler and Von Neumann, I know how ordinary I am. But if Nate Silver's a genius in this world, I'm a super-genius.

No brag, just fact. My simple system is better than his arcane one. It's the difference between the elegance of math and the constant tinkering of statistics.

Mathematicians really do outrank statisticians. It's all part of the "physics envy" nature of the ranking of the sciences. I didn't create this bias, but I do essentially agree with it and if it plays to my favor, why should I argue?

No disrespect to guys like Persi Diaconis, who works in both the math and stats department at Stanford and uses one of my algorithms in his class.

There are so many people on the right despising Nate Silver right now, I want to distinguish myself from them. He's not bad at what he does. He's very good. Getting 82 of 84 contests right is excellent, even though some of them are very obvious and everyone will get them right.

I went 83 of 84 on the same predictions. That is clearly better.

I do not want Nate Silver driven from the national stage. I want my chance to be part of the conversation as well. I have important things to say and ways to make polling data better, if anyone thought what I had to say was worth noticing.

With all my heart, I know it is. There are many important things I know that no one on the national stage is saying. 

This is two presidential elections in a row for me beating him. I look forward to 2014. Who knows, maybe he'll know who I am by then and offer me a $1,000 bet like he did Joe Scarborough.

Back when I gambled a lot more, I made it a rule never to borrow money to place a bet. If need be, in this case, I'll make an exception.


dguzman said...

Matty Boy, I bow to your greatness. Now WTF aren't actual IMPORTANT people noticing?

Matthew Hubbard said...

Hiya, Delia! Nice to hear from you.

The problem is that most of the gatekeepers to the national stage are not very strong at math.

If Nate Silver and I made our pitches to a group of math or stats professors, I'm confident my argument would win the day.

In front of a group of newspaper editors, it's a complete crapshoot.

Michael Strickland said...

I called my younger sisters in Coastal Central California last night, who were both on the Edge of Anxiety over the Obama/Romney vote and told them to stop worrying, and since they basically trust me, they asked, "How do you know THAT?" I told them that I had a math teacher buddy who had been crunching numbers obsessively for a couple of months, and if Wisconsin went early for Obama, it was a very, very good sign that it probably couldn't be stolen for Romney in Ohio and Florida.

Speaking of which, isn't it a huge relief that we don't give a shit how Florida voted on any level at all? I'm still waiting for the MegaHurricane to hit them and wipe the place clean from decades of rot.

dguzman said...

Gees, now I'm so bitter: Nate Silver's yukking it up with Jon Stewart, reveling I'm sure in how the world now thinks he's a supergenius. It should be Matty Boy! He's been bringin' it for years! I'm bitter!

Matthew Hubbard said...

Michael: I had several liberal friends who asked me both in person and online about "the numbers" and felt relieved when I told them it wasn't really close.

And yes, the idea that Florida isn't really a vital swing state anymore is a wonderful relief.

dg: I'm going to do what I can to break through. We'll see what happens.

David Stephrent said...

My congratulations to you, this is no small feat. Two things, however:

1. From a mathematical perspective, is your slightly better performance over Silver on this one election sufficient grounds for concluding that you're smarter than him?

2. No offense, but you sound like a really arrogant jerkass. You're perfectly entitled to tell people that you're smarter than Nate Silver and to lament that people should listen to you more and to casually mention how often you're called a genius, but I'm fairly confident that such behavior is a substantial turn-off for a lot of folks besides just myself. So I guess what I'm saying is: good luck with trying to get attention on a national stage that values charisma at least as much as smarts. I think you'll need it.

Matthew Hubbard said...

Hi, David. Thanks for stopping by.

1. This isn't just one election. I altered my system, designed only to predict winners and losers, to predicting percentages in the GOP primaries. I beat him there, too.

2. I agree that I sound like a jerk. It pains me to pile on when Nate has been so abused by so many in the pundit class.

Here's my apology in the way of an excuse. He was the poor nerd thrown out to be beaten by the jocks. Between us, it's nerd vs. nerd and numbers matter.

Yes, I'm confident that his system vs. my system is like a roulette player vs. the house. It's all about outliers and that's why we agreed 81 of 84 times. When outlier come, they mess his system up like a hurricane. To my system, they are a gentle breeze.

As for charisma on TV, let me get to that level and I'll take my chances.

Chris Weidenbach said...

Mr. Hubbard,

Congratulations! I have held Mr. Silver in high regard since learning about him in the 2008 election, and as you say--in several ways--"Scoreboard!"

Why do I--a member of the English Dept. faculty at Laney--care about any of this? Because I teach students to read the news media, and think critically, and I am sickened by the way the punditocracy has fallen all over themselves trying to pretend that the horse-race is too close to call. The corporate news media, and even some independent journalists who mostly do good work, have done the people a great disservice by 1) causing undue anxiety, and 2) influencing people's votes, I believe, by providing false encouragement on the chances of losers winning.

I wonder if you care about these aspects of predictive analysis, and if you have any insight to offer on it.

Also, I have to ask: Have you shopped yourself around to any mass media outlets? If not, I think you should--since you seem to want to be 'discovered' by them, and clearly our populous could use more and better information.

Lastly, do you see a way to apply your skills to helping the Peralta community understand the District's use of funds, and/or helping the District use funds more efficiently to increase our effectiveness in regard to student success?

Congratulations again.

Matthew Hubbard said...

Hi, Chris. Glad you found my blog.

Like you, the horse race aspect of the media is a much stronger bias than any liberal/conservative slant. Before the first debate, it REALLY wasn't close, but then Obama began to slip in the polls. By my count, by Nate Silver's, by the gambling numbers on Intrade, Romney never held a lead, unlike McCain/Palin, who jumped ahead upon her introduction, then slid farther and farther behind as people's opinion of her - and McCain for choosing her - crystallized.

More than just the news media. If you give any money to candidates, they are always trying to get more money from you showing the polls that things are close. The DSCC constantly sent pleas saying the Democrats were on the verge of losing the Senate. I knew better, and sent my money to people who needed it like Tester in MT and Heitkamp in ND.

I am trying to publicize my results.

I haven't looked at how to spend funds more effectively. I'm not even sure where to start on such a question.