Joe Scarborough penned a spectacularly snotty op-ed in which he sorta not really apologizes for mocking Nate Silver’s election forecasts.
It’s the sort of apology issued by people who can never admit that they were wrong about anything. In other words: Republicans. And of course it attempts to revise history, because that’s what Republicans do.
Since the president’s reelection, liberals have been cluttering my Twitter feed with demands that I apologize to Nate for dismissing his 74.8374629% prediction in October that Barack Obama would win. I have ignored those requests because as is usually the case for ideologues on Twitter, their rage is unfocused and based in ignorance. These critics conveniently forget that I consistently predicted an Obama win throughout the year and even said on Election Day that the president’s stubborn lead in swing state polls would doom Romney.
I won’t apologize to Mr. Silver for predicting an outcome that I had also been predicting for a year. But I do need to tell Nate I’m sorry for leaning in too hard and lumping him with pollsters whose methodology is as rigorous as the Simpsons’ strip mall physician, Dr. Nick. For those sins (and a multitude of others that I’m sure I don’t even know about), I am sorry.
“Nate Silver says this is a 73.6 percent chance that the president is going to win? Nobody in that campaign thinks they have a 73 percent chance — they think they have a 50.1 percent chance of winning. And you talk to the Romney people, it’s the same thing,” Scarborough said. “Both sides understand that it is close, and it could go either way. And anybody that thinks that this race is anything but a tossup right now is such an ideologue, they should be kept away from typewriters, computers, laptops and microphones for the next 10 days, because they’re jokes.”
If the President is sitting at 47 percent in the polls, boy, I’d be shocked if he won. I’ve seen he’s in 48 in some of these polls. So that’s my gut. That said, he’s got an incredible ground game and a lot of early voters are coming out and those early voters that are coming out are voting for Barack Obama. So you have… if you’re a behavioralist — and I am too when it comes to these things — if you’re undecided about Barack Obama and you’ve known him for give years and followed him for five years and he’s been on the front page of your newspaper for five years and been on your TV set every night for five years and everybody’s been talking about him for five years and you still don’t know if you’re going to vote for Barack Obama, history would suggest you’re not going to swing in the last ten days.
Scarborough dismissed math in favor of his gut and got his ass handed to them by Nate Silver. And instead of outright apologizing, and figuring out a way to turn the egg on his face into a delicious omelette, he demonstrates that he still doesn’t get it.
Here’s the thing, Joe — Nate Silver was not “predicting an outcome.” He was calculating the probability that one outcome would come to pass as opposed to another.
It’s not magic — it’s math.
[cross-posted at ABLC]