The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.
Bottom Stories of the Day
“Another Republican Is Getting Into the 2016 Race Next Month”–headline, Business Insider, May 7
News of the Tautological
“Sen. Warren Seeks to Give Government More Power”–headline, TheHill website, May 8
Cross of Polls
Nate Silver was hailed as a genius for his generally accurate predictions of the 2010 and 2012 U.S. elections. The day after Britain’s general election, not so much, as Politico’s Dylan Byers reports:
Silver fared terribly in Thursday’s UK election: In his pre-election forecast, he gave 278 seats to Conservatives and 267 to Labour. Shortly after midnight, he was forecasting 272 seats for Conservatives and 271 for Labour. But when the sun rose in London on Friday, Conservatives had an expected 329 seats, against Labour’s 233.
The fault, Silver claimed, was with the polling: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that pre-election polls underestimated how well Conservatives would do and overestimated Labour’s result,” the statistician guru wrote in the wee hours of the morning.
And that’s the kind of astute analysis that makes you a statistician guru. For their part, the pollsters blame the voters, as the London Evening Standard reports:
The head of YouGov today said polls before the election were far off the mark because voters said one thing, but then did another once they got to the ballot box.
Chairman Peter Kellner admitted that pollsters got it wrong after consistently showing the Conservatives and Labour tied in the run-up to election night. . . .
Other pollsters also failed to predict the scale of the Tory victory. Mr Kellner said: “What seems to have gone wrong is that people have said one thing and they did something else in the ballot box.”
Maybe the pollsters should try asking people what they’re actually going to do. Kellner also “blamed politicians for relying too heavily on data during their campaigns. He said politicians ‘should campaign on what they believe—they should not listen to people like me and the figures we produce.’ ”
But when he tells them to listen to him, how can they listen to him without listening to him? Pollster’s paradox!
For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”