A quick follow-up on Karl Rove's contention in his now well-known interview with NPR's Robert Siegel:
I'm looking at 68 polls a week . . . and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I'm entitled to THE math.
Obviously, it didn't work out that way. I discussed the topic here and in a subsequent interview on NPR's On the Media. But now, thanks to Newsweek (via Kaus) we have the details on just Rove meant by "THE math:"
The polls and pundits pointed to a Democratic sweep, but Rove dismissed them all . . .He wasn't just trying to psych out the media and the opposition. He believed his "metrics" were far superior to plain old polls. Two weeks before the elections, Rove showed NEWSWEEK his magic numbers: a series of graphs and bar charts that tallied early voting and voter outreach. Both were running far higher than in 2004. In fact, Rove thought the polls were obsolete because they relied on home telephones in an age of do-not-call lists and cell phones. Based on his models, he forecast a loss of 12 to 14 seats in the Houseâ€”enough to hang on to the majority. Rove placed so much faith in his figures that, after the elections, he planned to convene a panel of Republican political scientistsâ€”to study just how wrong the polls were.
So there you have it. Two plus two always adds to four, but sometimes our models and assumptions don't add up as well as we think they will.
Update: Adam Berinsky, an associate professor of political science at MIT, asks a good question in the comments:
Who were these Republican political scientists that were going to attend Rove's conference? I assume they were lined up before the election. If any of them are MP readers, it would be interesting to get their perspective?
I do not hear that as a rhetorical question. If any political scientists want to chime in on this issue, our "Guest Pollster Corner" is open and your comments would very much be welcome. Who knows, could Karl Rove himself be an MP reader?
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