Let’s not forget one of the other big winners of the night in the geek vs. pundit showdown: Nate Silver. I’m sure it was tough for some of his followers to maintain belief that the presidential race wouldn’t be close, Electoral College-wise, when so many media pundits were breathlessly telling us that the race was tied. I was trying to calm family and friends with the forecasts, but people were having trouble accepting evidence over emotion even when the evidence was good news.
It also turned out that our Senate race was not too close to call. Even the most optimistic of projections seem to have undercounted Warren’s support and overestimated Brown’s. However, Silver did peg this race as safe Democratic when most of the media were telling us it was essentially tied.
It was good that many of us refused to believe that the seat was “safe” — not after what happened two years ago, even thought the situations were so very different — and worked as if the race was tied. But it wasn’t close to being tied, even if a couple of outlier polls claimed Brown had a lead due to likely voter models that were obviously off.
So thanks to Silver, the Princeton Election Consortium and others who remind us even while the media does not, that the appearance of one poll showing different results than other polls does not mean the entire race has shifted.
Another lesson: A great candidate with an excellent ground game can move the turnout mix in a favorable direction. And we need to beware likely voter models that take voting history into account in the face of a great candidate with an excellent ground game.