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David Rothschild
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David Rothschild is an economist. He has a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He works for MSR-NYC studying social media data, polling, and markets. His predictions stream in real-time on PredictWise.

Entries by David Rothschild

Hidden Errors and Overconfident Pollsters

(23) Comments | Posted November 2, 2014 | 3:09 PM

Written with Sharad Goel and Houshmand Shirani-Mehr

Election forecasts, whether on HuffingtonPost's Pollster, New York Times’ Upshot, FiveThirtyEight, or PredictWise, report a margin of error of typically 3 percentage points. That means that 95 percent of the time the election outcome should lie...

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Modern Polling Requires Both Sampling and Adjustment

(0) Comments | Posted August 3, 2014 | 7:55 PM

The American Association of Public Opinion Research is a justly well-respected organization whose publications and conferences are an important means of communication between academics and practitioners. The organization's position at the intersection of academia and business makes it unique in how it can help foster constructive discussion and innovation in...

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Investing Heavily in Romney: Was It a Good Bet?

(6) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 2:03 PM

We obsess about the aggregated prices that emerge from markets, whether it is oil, the Dow Jones, or the prediction market contract on who will be the next president of the United States. The price is a reflection of the subjective beliefs of individual traders, and we spend too little...

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Judging the Oscar Predictions

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 11:36 AM

I judge my predictions on four major attributes: relevancy, timeliness, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. I am very proud of my 2013 Oscar predictions, because they excelled in all four attributes: they predicted all 24 categories (and all combinations of categories), moved in real-time, were very accurate, and built on...

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Oscar Predictions on the Move!

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2013 | 2:23 PM

I created my Oscar predictions in real-time, because real-time movement is an important part of my basic research into predictions, not because I thought the Oscars would provide an interesting domain for movement; I was wrong. In category after category significant movement in the likely winner provides a window into...

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My Confident Predictions for the Oscars

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2013 | 11:03 AM

I am stunned at the confidence of my predictions for the Oscars, seen in real-time here and here. Of the 24 categories that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will present Oscars for live this Sunday, the favorite in eight of them are 95...

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How Many Oscars Will Lincoln Win? Not Too Many!

(0) Comments | Posted February 8, 2013 | 11:34 AM

After addressing all 24 categories individually, it is an interesting and meaningful follow-up to consider how they interact. If Lincoln wins the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, does that make Lincoln's likelihood of winning Best Picture increase, decrease, or is there no correlation?

A positive correlation story assumes...

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What Is Predictive of the Oscars?

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 2:58 PM

I spent several weeks this winter immersed in spreadsheets full of historical Oscar data to explore methods of using fundamentals to predict Oscar winners. Fundamental models work really well in forecasting political elections, where significant categories of data include: past election results, incumbency, presidential approval, ideology, economic indicators,...

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A Quick Peek at the Other 18 Oscar Categories

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 5:52 PM

Most of the discussions around the Oscars focus on the six main categories, but there are 18 other categories with awards on Oscar night. Six categories focus on the best picture in a certain class. Not surprisingly my predictions tend to favor the better known movies in those...

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'Argo' Versus 'Lincoln'

(6) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 10:54 AM

The most exciting movie-to-movie competition in this year's Oscars is between Ben Affleck's Argo and Steven Spielberg's' Lincoln, which will play out in three categories: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. In the beginning of this Oscar season, with the Oscar nominations on January 10, Lincoln held a...

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Obama Versus Lincoln and Argo

(1) Comments | Posted January 17, 2013 | 12:00 PM

Branching out from politics and economics, I have been examining Oscar predictions over the last few weeks. While I approach the science of predictions the same way for both political elections and the Oscars, there are some key differences. When I forecast politics I utilize four main sources...

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The Golden Globes Are All About Argo, But Oscars Still Leaning Lincoln

(3) Comments | Posted January 14, 2013 | 9:10 AM

The Golden Globes are just the first of a series of anticipated events that occur between the nominations and Oscar night, which help shape our expectations for the Oscars. Our expectations are primarily founded on prediction markets, which respond quickly to new information; they

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Handicapping the Oscars, It Is All About Lincoln

(75) Comments | Posted January 10, 2013 | 10:12 AM

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its nominees for 85th Academy Awards and the big story so far this awards season is Lincoln, with 12 nominations. In our initial likelihoods of victory for the big six categories, Lincoln is our most likely winner...

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Government Goes After Prediction Markets and Research

(1) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 12:50 PM

Just 20 days after the 2012 election, the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) brought its hammer down on Intrade, the most recognized prediction market in the United States. This action was not entirely surprising and indeed its specter may have kept some traders away. Yet, despite...

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YouGov/Xbox Poll Respondents Expect Obama Victory in Ohio (and the election)

(34) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 2:12 PM

In the latest YouGov/Xbox poll, the pivotal state of Ohio showed slightly more Romney supporters than Obama supporters. But, when asked who they expect to win Ohio, the same respondents predicted Obama would win their state. Justin Wolfers and I have conducted an exhaustive...

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Xbox/YouGov Panel Quantifies Romney's First Debate Victory and Obama's Subsequent Debate Rebound

(3) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 3:05 PM

Most political polls and pundits declared Governor Romney the runaway victor of the first presidential debate, while President Obama was generally credited with winning the second and third debates. However, what matters is not winning or losing debates, but whether the candidates won or lost votes because...

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Understanding How Polls Affect Voters

(5) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 12:28 PM

There is a lot of concern in the media and political circles about the effects of poll results on voters. In late September, when Obama was dominating the polls, Republicans latched onto the idea that the polling industry was skewing polls in Obama's favor to give...

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Snapshots and Movies: Most Polls Are Snapshots, but the Xbox / YouGov Panel Shows Voters in Motion

(3) Comments | Posted October 22, 2012 | 7:00 PM

Confused by the incredible movement and variation in the daily stream of national popular vote polls? The Xbox/YouGov panel is your antidote to the noise; the panel paints a very clear picture of how the vote intentions of Xbox LIVE users have changed over the past three weeks. After the...

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Xbox Live/YouGov Polling

(4) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 7:06 PM

Xbox, in conjunction with the polling company YouGov, has launched a new poll for this election cycle. The goal of the poll is threefold. First, Xbox wants to create an engaging product for its users. Second, the polling team wants to be able to provide meaningful...

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Why Ohio Is So Pivotal for Romney

(11) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 3:26 PM

There are five states that have a double digit number of electoral votes, where Obama and Romney each still have a decent 15 percent shot at winning: North Carolina (where Obama has a 31.8 percent chance), Florida (57.9), Virginia (73.6), Ohio (77.3), and Wisconsin (83.9). There is something striking when...

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