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Nate Silver: Political Fallout May be Overhyped

by Keith Koffler on October 11, 2013, 5:25 pm

Nate Silver, the respected poll data cruncher who accurately predicted the 2012 election results, wrote a piece today for his blog FiveThirtyEight cautioning against all the heated analysis predicting doom for Republicans as a result of the shutdown.

Silver notes that any given issue tends to be fleeting, and that the last shutdown in 1995 didn’t noticeably hurt Republicans at all.

Republicans certainly need such assurances, as yet another poll – this one by NBC/Wall Street Journal – finds them at their lowest approval rating ever, with only 24 percent giving them having a favorable rating. Meanwhile, the gap in blame between President Obama and the GOP has opened up, with 53 percent blaming Republicans for the shutdown and only 31 percent blaming Obama.

This is not to be taken lightly, and it was probably inevitable given that the Washington press corps covering the shutdown is convinced conservative Republicans are evil space aliens from the planet Simpleton.

But I think even if there’s grumbling about tactics like shutting down the government, Republicans have the issues are their side, and when the smoke clears will be viewed as the principled Party that believed desperate measures were needed to salvage a desperate situation – that being a nation beset by Obamacare and endless piles of debt.

Silver notes that in 1996, Republicans did just fine.

Nor was Clinton’s victory over Bob Dole in 1996 anything unexpected. Incumbent presidents generally win reelection even under marginal conditions (as Barack Obama did last year) — and they’re overwhelming favorites during peacetime elections when the economy is robust, as it was during 1996. Furthermore, Clinton did not have much in the way of coattails: Democrats gained just two seats in the House that November, and wouldn’t win back the chamber for another decade.

And they’re likely to hold power in 2014 too.

In 2014, likewise, it will require not just a pretty good year for Democrats, but a wave election for them to regain the House. But wave elections in favor of the party that controls the White House are essentially unprecedented in midterm years. Instead, the president’s party has almost always lost seats in the House — or at best gained a handful.

This shutdown is “just one issue,” Silver notes. Given the range of things that inform people’s votes, how much is this going to matter in 12 months?

My view is, it’s three issues. The shutdown, Obamacare, and the debt. And the GOP wins on two out of three.

{ 4 trackbacks }


Sadie October 11, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Hi Ho Silver!
I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with polls directing decisions. Every poll has been directed by the MSM and/or its affiliates.

This is not a beauty contestant pageant about who comes out looking fabulous on the political stage. If that was the criteria, they’d all get the hook!

Julie Brueckheimer October 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Exactly! Exactly! I looked at a poll in which the Republicans were savaged. The polled supposedly responded that the Republicans were “unlikeable, dishonest, not compassionate, not refreshing, not inspiring and not innovative.” Really, on their own or did the pollster make a few suggestions? Well, who knows? I’ll say this, these are the sort of things the low information voters concern themselves with.

Sadie October 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm

“…a few suggestions…?”

If it were in a court of law, they’d be leading the witness.
Since it’s a poll, they’re leading the witless.

AFVet October 11, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Veterans don’t forget, and we don’t relent.

swedishlady October 12, 2013 at 3:17 am

Julie, off topic but thanks for your kind words a couple of threads ago. I have had problems commenting, maybe the NSA was harrassing me….

Julie Brueckheimer October 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

: – ))

Julie Brueckheimer October 12, 2013 at 10:11 am

Mark, this is a one=time response from me. I’ll remember your name, and I’m letting you know I don’t get embroiled with trolls.

Marilyn Miller October 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

I want to be a Teapubican.

Star October 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

Please refrain from using the TB term on this site. It’s boring and gross.Thank you.

Susan October 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Applause! Applause! Some phony pollster for state-run media either gave the RINOs the excuse they needed to fold, or they got scared off by the negative press. Makes no difference to me. Just proof positive that the RINOs are putting their political careers ahead of the financial survival of America, all because of a fraudulent poll.

Sadie October 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Time for the GOP to change their logo from an elephant, who has a good memory, to another species.

All suggestions welcomed. ; )

AFVet October 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm

How about an angry Tiger.

Julie Brueckheimer October 11, 2013 at 8:50 pm

How about a paper tiger?

AFVet October 11, 2013 at 10:24 pm

That’s what they are now.

Susan October 11, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Under the current party leadership? How about a herd of sheep?

Sadie October 11, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Hilarious! Unfortunately, there’s already too many sheeple.

BB October 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm

He accurately predicted the 2016 results? That might be a typo.

srdem65 October 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Time will tell.

I think the stress is getting to me, because that’s the best I could come up with, and goodness knows, I usually have a lot to say.

Sadie October 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Retreat and relax. I take several days off a week from this daily dose of dreck.
Unfortunately for me, I watched the C-Span hearings on Social Security and disability fraud hearings this past Monday, late one evening. I still haven’t recovered from what I heard – record-breaking theft and corruption with the full knowledge of the administrative judge in Henderson, WV. I shutter to think of the trillions of dollars misspent, wasted on crap and outright thievery… and my favorite pick of the week: Utah Nat’l Guard cancelled an order for (2) mechanical bulls. WTF?! Why would they have ordered them in the first place.

CiscoKid October 11, 2013 at 7:42 pm

I recall someone either wrote or said ” tell me what results you want in a poll and I’ll make the questions to show them “.

Julie Brueckheimer October 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm

That sounds like one of Keith’s quotations of the day, only unfortunately, it happens to the modus operandi.

DeniseVB October 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Good question ?

Hope this goes through, I’ve been getting a lot of “posting too fast” messages……sigh.

Sadie October 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Ed Henry tried unsuccessfully to press Jay Carney this week about it. Carney, did his usual dance around an answer jig.

gracepmc October 11, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Well, conservatives don’t have too many friends at Fox these days. Ted Cruz is the scapegoat. I don’t think this is going to deter the conservatives, but hopefully it will toughen and further their resolve.

And as for the poll, I’ll take any respite — even if it’s only a mirage.

There will be many more days like this.

Julie Brueckheimer October 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Hannity is calling for the removal of John Boehner and other GOP ‘leadership’. If Fox fires him, I think he should go into politics himself.

Julie Brueckheimer October 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm

A wee headline on Drudge: “Compromise” would fund Obamacare, lift debt ceiling, reopen government, and reverse sequester cuts. Can someone please tell me what the Republicans
would get out of this deal?

Sadie October 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Not my vote!

Susan October 11, 2013 at 9:20 pm

They believe they’re handing a defeat to the Tea Party element that both Obama and the RINOs despise. It doesn’t matter to them that they’ve just sold the American taxpayer into financial slavery. Too bad for them it ain’t gonna work. What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. Look out ruling class elites, we’re coming for you.

Aileen October 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Political capitulation? I always, always wonder what in the heck they get…something personal no doubt…nothing, nada, zero for their constituents. They make me sick…every single one of them. How could you look at any American and say that funding the ACA is good for America? Oh, I hope I live to see the day all these folks’ chickens come home to roost.

gracepmc October 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Nothing is what we get out of that deal. But I am not convinced that is the deal. I concede we will have to “compromise”. No getting around that. What I have heard is increase debt limit 6 weeks, keep spending at sequester level. I can live with that short term. I don’t much care that it is close to Thanksgiving.

I disagree with government re opening. Interior has re sold the parks to the states, we’ve screwed the vets so badly that will be fixed, and maybe a few other separate funding things. But essentially keep it shut down at what is it 17% of the federal government? As long as the truly needy are not suffering, and vindictive petty things are kept to a minimum Americans can be resourceful. In McLean a local park shutdown was taken to court and re opened. This was a petty in your face shut down. We have a lot of self important bureaucrats in this country — we need to see them in the sunlight, like the NPS.

AFVet October 11, 2013 at 10:07 pm

They have rendered themselves immune from the laws tht we have to obey.
What the hell do they care about what we think.
Even if they lose the next election, they’re all millionaires anyway.

AFVet October 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm

The best we can do is to destroy their egos.

AFVet October 11, 2013 at 10:19 pm

An alert from the Patriots that they are finished.

Concerned_American October 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Obama was offered more than Obama and Jay Carney said they would accept and this morning Obama refused it?

Bait & Switch! Evidently they don’t think Republicans have been punished enough.

Nina Murphy October 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

GraceMP is right – so many spiteful shutdowns…On the bright side, messing with our vets was a Major Mistake. They are most emphatically NOT low-information voters.

gracepmc October 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm

How your social security and healthcare might be threatened if debt limit deal not reached. — cbs local news. I clicked. Scare the peeps.

Mandy Manners October 11, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Here’s the thing about the belief in Democracy: it’s the rule of the mob.

Who comprises the mob? Dale Six-Pack and Suzy Cream-Cheese, the Low-Information Voters who get their news from Jon Stewart, FaceBook and Twitter.

This nation is not a Democracy. It is a Republic. Well, it once was.

Langley Spook October 12, 2013 at 7:09 am

re: watch the movie “Idiocracy”… those LIV are the future of our “Republic”

(USA, 1776-2008)

Mandy Manners October 12, 2013 at 12:41 am

The Air Force fired the general in charge of its nuclear missiles on Friday, just two days after a Navy admiral with top nuclear weapons responsibilities was sacked. Both men are caught up in investigations of alleged personal misconduct, adding to a cascade of turmoil inside the nation’s nuclear weapons force.

Concerned_American October 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm

They probably were overheard by the NSA making disparaging remarks about “Dear Leader.”

They better refrain from commenting on this or they will wing up in the brig.

swedishlady October 12, 2013 at 3:03 am


M October 12, 2013 at 8:48 am

Goodness, Mark, you are one angry lib…. as most.

DeniseVB October 12, 2013 at 9:19 am

….an angry lib that reads Breitbart :D Good, it’s a pretty balanced news source for “teabagger” haters.

AFVet October 12, 2013 at 10:18 am

Reading does not = comprehension.

Star October 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

Mark has a limited vocab, but you, Denise?

Beverly October 12, 2013 at 9:04 am

One of the problems with polling is that it does not proble for the why of an answer. I detest the Rhino portion of the party who have abandoned conservative principles and so would give the party a negative vote. But, even so they are better than Marxist democrats. Long live Cruz, Paul and Lee. They are the future.

Mark Anderson October 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm

It’s so nice to see Conservatives quoting Nate Silver with love. They had such nice things to say about him in 2012.