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View Diary: More accurate than Nate Silver or Markos—and simple, too (70 comments)

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  •  Undecided margin and PVI (3+ / 0-)
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    MichaelNY, seriously70, IM

    Great work!  A good implementation of a straightforward idea (those are always the best ones to rely on!).

    I wonder if it might be possible to simplify even more, and still get a little more accurate.  But I defer to your impressive number crunching for whether it would work.

    Your underlying assumption (which Markos made explicit when he was doing his "manual adjustments") is that undecided or wavering voters will tend to break toward their natural partisan inclinations.  More undecideds will break red (or this year, Libertarian) in an Indiana Senate race, more blue in Massachusetts.

    So why not focus on the average percentage of undecided voters in the polling results?  Yes, different pollsters have different methods for pushing leaners (and a few make the error of leaving out undecideds entirely, oy), so a sophisticated version would account for that.  But still, assuming a random mix of pollsters in each state, you should get a solid number.  The lower the total of fully committed voters, the stronger the effect that you're identifying should be.

    And then, instead of having to do your own regression analysis, and update it after each election, why not piggyback on others' work, and just use PVI?  Allocate the undecideds based on how that jurisdiction leans (which means the method would work on downballot races too, not just statewide).

    And finally -- I've assume you've sent this to Nate, so he can improve his methods?  I'll bet he loves this.

    •  I think you may have hit upon something. (2+ / 0-)
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      MichaelNY, seriously70

      Looking into the undecideds in polls that do not offer 3rd party candidate options may be a better measure of who will actual vote 3rd party than looking at the results of polls that explicitly include 3rd party candidates. I will look at the numbers. Thanks for the idea!

      PVI - see Woody's comment below. Also, PVI or other measures only takes a few minutes to calculate, so it's easy to play around with lots of different variations.

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