from Nate Silver [xxx@xxx]
to Mark Blumenthal [xxx@xxx]
Mark Blumenthal [xxx@xxx]
date Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 4:17 AM
subject Research 2000 weirdness
Not to sound too conspiratorial, but to be honest I'm getting
a little bit suspicious about Research 2000, or at least the
polling they've conducted for Markos over the past two years.
Do you know those guys at all?
Research 2000 president Del Ali has refused to go on the record but his attorney attacked Kos and threatened to countersue instead of providing the data that would show that the polling for DailyKos was done randomly according to accepted polling standards.
Ali's attorney, Richard Beckler of Howrey LLP in Washington, told TPMmuckraker in an interview, "This guy is completely all wet. This allegation of fraud is absurd." He added, "These guys are basically ruining Mr. Ali's business."
Beckler promised to take "some kind of action soon against all of them" -- referring to Kos and the three authors of the analysis calling R2K's data into question. He declined to elaborate. Beckler also questioned the credentials of the three authors -- who Kos called "statistic wizards" -- Mark Grebner, Michael Weissman, and Jonathan Weissman. They are respectively described in the Kos post as political consultant, a retired physicist, and a wildlife research technician.
The problem for Del Ali is that Kos released the crosstabs for all to see. Attacking the messenger won't work when Nate Silver can show non-randomness from the data already released. Nate Silver says that the Grebner, Weissman and Weissman report was excellent.
Kos' Lawyer Adam Bonin (AdamB) is not taking hostages.
"He handed Daily Kos fiction and claimed it was fact and got us to put our name on it," said Attorney Adam Bonin of R2K president Del Ali.
Random numbers have random correlations. Nate Silver analyzes R2K and PPP data. PPP 's data set is random. R2K's is highly correlated.
Nate explains the correlation problem succinctly.
and the daily results were remarkably consistent from day to day. At no point, for instance, in the two months that they published daily did Obama's vote share fluctuate by more than a net of 2 points from day to day (to reiterate, this is for the daily results (n=~360) and not the rolling average). That just seems extremely unlikely -- there should be more noise than that.
R2K's lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to Nate Silver to attempt to stop him from publishing the evidence that supports the position that R2K's polling data is bogus.
The cease and desist letter, which is published below, attributes to FiveThrityEight statements that were made by others. It alleges that "you have engaged in a campaign to discredit and damage R2K by posting negative comments regarding Mr. Ali, the Company, and its work products on the "Daily Kos" blog. It further threatens a lawsuit, unless I "immediately cease and desist all such activities, and retract all previous publicly transmitted statements."
I emphatically stand behind any statements I have made about Research 2000, and will be constrained by nothing other than my common sense and my professional integrity in any comments I should elect to make about Research 2000 in the future.
The simulation found that Obama's daily numbers should have moved by at least 3 points from one day to the next about half of the time, given the sample sizes that Research 2000 was using. In fact, they never moved by as many as 3 points, not even once. This behavior is exceptionally nonrandom. Indeed, we should also have seen a fluctuation of 5 or more points about once every four or five days, and a change of 7 or more points about once every two weeks -- this obviously never happened, either.