Secular Right | Reality & Reason



Clarifying contrasts

From FiveThirtyEight:



  • sg · July 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    It would also be interesting to see total dollars from contributions under $200.

    However, this graph seems to demonstrate which candidates are least popular with business and special interests.

  • TangoMan · July 17, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    It’s funny watching pundits, who seem to operate on the same principle as Generals who prepare to fight the last war, recalibrate their positions on Governor Palin. First it was declared that she was an idiot who committed career suicide. Then the polls come out and showed that the public didn’t agree. Then the SarahPAC fundraising total is released, and lo and behold, reality is different from what pundits declared it to be. So, now we see items like this, which elevate Palin’s stature from 9th place amongst Republicans to 2nd place.

    As to the graph, it’s like a blind man feeling an elephant. One slice of data is going to generate a thousand theories. Palin is a fringe as Paul because they both have similar donor profiles. Palin isn’t like Paul because Palin’s fundraising came with no effort while Paul’s resulted from outreach efforts. Palin is like Huckabee because she’s a social conservative and they both appeal to the same donor base. Palin isn’t like Huckabee because she appeals to a broader donor base.

  • Author comment by David Hume · July 17, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    they do that with everything. otherwise there wouldn’t be a big enough supply of distinctive punditry. if you think it’s funny you must waste a lot of time laughing.

  • TangoMan · July 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

    @David Hume

    Imagine if there was a collaborative website where people could grade the performance of pundits, kind of like batting averages. The pundit makes a prediction, then wiki-type people enter it into the database, and later the prediction is graded and added to pundits career score.

    In the end though, as the Iraq War showed, the popularity of particular pundits who were wrong on issue probably won’t decline and the popularity of pundits who were right won’t increase. Accuracy and good judgment are immaterial. Bombast and posture are what sell.

  • Author comment by David Hume · July 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    yes. the issue is demand side. most people are morons, so they demand moron punditry to sate their moron preferences. same problem as outlined in the myth of the rational voter; systematic moronitude doesn’t cancel out. also, same problem with lack of interest in reporting negative results: you need to present some entertaining hypothesis, not admit you don’t know jack shit (the more a pundit knows, likely the more they know they don’t know).

    there are political pundits who i encounter who seem to know some political & american history. but since most people are ignorant idiots who is going to judge them worthy of their data base? and quantitative analysis which has a lower threshold of necessary background knowledge also doesn’t appeal because of the basic idiocy of the average human.

    at least sports writing is self-conscious as to its frivolity.

  • Chris · July 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I was kind of shocked that Nate would post something like this. For one thing, most of the action is in the denominator, which is hugely misleading. Stacked bars of small donors, big donors would have illustrated the point much more clearly.



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