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grantcart's Journal
grantcart's Journal
December 14, 2012

Why we need Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense at this point in time.

I agree with the general feeling that we should stop nominating Republicans for Secretary of Defense.

At this particular time there is a particular reason why Chuck Hagel is needed.

The number one job of the next SOD is to push through deep cuts in the defense and intelligence bureaucracies. If it took Liz Cheney to do it I would take her.

The next SOD is going to have to take on deeply rooted interests in the Pentagon and in Congress. Hagel is the guy that can get the biggest cuts passed. Hagel is also a non interventionist at heart.

Before you pass judgment on Hagel have a read:

The Secretary of Defense Cuts

Potential Obama nominee favors massive defense reductions


Potential secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel has expressed support for massive budget cuts that could cripple the Pentagon’s ability to ensure America’s national security, sparking concern among proponents of a robust national defense.

. . .

The likely selection of Hagel has led Democrats and Republicans to express anxiety about what they say are the former senator’s troubling foreign policy views. These positions should disqualify him as a candidate for the nation’s top defense post, they say.

Concerns include his statement that the United States should stay out of war-torn Syria and his support for a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Hagel has also been knocked by the pro-Israel community for his sharp criticism of Israel as well as for advocating direct unconditional talks with Iran.

“If Chuck Hagel has his way, Iran will get nuclear weapons and Israel will be thrown under the bus,” said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and a board member of the Center for American Freedom, which publishes the WFB.

. . .

During his 12-year tenure in the Senate, Hagel adopted foreign policy positions that placed him in the minority of both political parties. His views on a number of critical matters have become even more troubling since that time, sources said.

. . .

Hagel also has taken a tough stance against job creation at the Pentagon.

“Our Defense Department budget, it is not a jobs program,” he stated last year. “It’s not an economic development program for my state or any district.”

The fact is that while other aspects of Hagel's political background might be far right when it comes to defense issues he is to the left of many Democrats.

More importantly he is going to be able to get more cuts through than anyone else.

Finally consider this: This rightwing site quoted above is absolutely terrified of Hagel. They don't think he will get the 60 votes. It may be that they let the Rice proposed nomination hang in the air a longer period than was necessary in order to use up McCain and other's political credit and undermine a certain attack on Hagel.

The case for Hagel boils down to this: He will be the Secretary of Defense Cuts.

Because of a busy work schedule I am unlikely to be able to respond to folks on the thread. Thanks in advance for responses from all different points of view.
November 30, 2012

The President just gave them more paint and paint brushes.


Mssrs, Boehner, McConnell, and Norquist did the rest.

The President offerred them a sweet heart deal last year but they preferred to pass and use it against him in the election, charging that he couldn't get big things done.

They blew their wad and now all the President has to do is wait for the markets to pummel these idiots into sawdust.

The President has many outstanding qualities.

The Republicans are about to realize that they may have way underestimated one of them:


Tik Tock, tick tock the minutes are ticking down and you three guys are going to end up giving all Americans a huge tax increase. Since we all know what would happen if that actually happened and that you will eventually fold the longer you wait the less you will get.

Tick tock, tick tock.

November 9, 2012

DU Exclusive: Paleologos' bizarre behavior at Suffolk U: Incompetent or part of the Gravis Con?

We all have seen the gritty 50's drama about the good hearted fighter who has to raise money to pay for his sister's operation (or some other soap opera twist) and takes a dive for a few bucks.

In the post Citizen's United era the spigots were opened at hundreds of millions of dollars started flowing into SuperPacs and we now know that not all of the money was used to buy ads. Where did some of that money go? Some of it went, as we all know, into a well orchestrated voter suppression campaign. Contractors were caught, voter registration applications were found destroyed but strangely no investigative reporters have gone after the larger question, what was the larger strategy? Who was behind it, who funded it and who implemented it. These are the questions that started with a few burglars at the Watergate apartments and unveiled the vast operations of wide ranging activities headed by Liddy in illegal campaign activities. Will today's reporters live up to the tenacity and courage of those in the 70s?

Among the questionable trends that were detected in the 2012 campaign was the sudden surge of right wing pollsters who came out of nowhere and were providing 30% of the polls in key swing states. In fact one of the pollsters' behavior was so odd that we took an in depth look at the people behind the polls and under the glare of exposure moved the pollster from his position in January to proclaiming that he had been a "manager of national campaigns" to conceding in October that "I am a robo caller, not a pollster".

But that wasn't the only strange behavior of a pollster during the campaign.

In fact another pollster, David Paleologos' (the president of Suffolk University Political Research Center and bearer of the surname of the family that, in this context is extremely fitting, is the last ruling dynasty of the Byzantine Empire) behavior is so strange that questions have to be raised as to his motivation and conduct. These are questions that Suffolk University must address.

First the facts

Suffolk University Polling Results in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida and the actual results;


September 26 SUP finds President Obama leading by 2%.

On November 6 Virginia votes for Obama +3%

North Carolina

No SUP polls, however there are these polls:

Survey USA on October 2nd has the President up by 2.

PPP on September 27th has it a tie

On November 6 Romney wins North Carolina by 2.2%


SUP runs a poll May 6 Showing President Obama +1

SUP runs a poll September 27th showing President Obama +3

It appears that President Obama is going to win Florida by .5 of the vote

So we have a situation at the end of September where Suffolk University polling is showing the President ahead in Virginia and Florida and other reputable pollsters have NC tied (or Obama slightly ahead).

And then we have this on October 10th


With a little less than a month until the election, one pollster says the race in three battleground states is over for President Barack Obama.

“I think in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we’ve already painted those red," David Paleologos, the president of Suffolk University Political Research Center told Fox host Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday. "We’re not polling any of those states again. We're focusing on the remaining states.”

Paleologos is clearly lying because his own latest polls showed Obama ahead and where he didn't poll it was basically tied.

In light of this bizarre behavior there was an immediate reaction of astonished disbelief and then laughter at the lunacy of the claims by Suffolk University Pollster.

A sampling

Tampa Bay Times calls Paleologos "Loser of the Week"


Loser of the week: Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos. Suffolk is relatively new to Florida polling, and Paleologos bizarrely declared on the Fox News Channel that it would no longer poll in Florida, North Carolina or Virginia, because he is convinced President Barack Obama will lose those states. He clearly has little understanding of Florida, which nobody with a political brain can take for granted.

And this from the New York Magazine

Pollsters Puzzle Over Suffolk’s Decision to Call Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina for Romney

Even Bill O'Reilly couldn't believe what he was hearing: David Paleologos, pollster for Suffolk University, was announcing on Fox News that he was pulling out of Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina for good. Romney, it seems, has them in the bag. "We’ve already painted those red, we’re not polling any of those states again,” Paleologos said.

This is an absolutely bizarre decision on its face. The Real Clear Politics polling average currently shows a tie in Florida, Obama up 0.3 percent in Virginia, and Romney up three in North Carolina. There's still nearly a month left until Election Day. How could a pollster possibly call those states for Romney?

. . .

So Paleologos called Florida for Romney because their most recent poll showed Obama with a shaky lead. We're ... even more confused now.

Looking for some answers, we asked some of Paleologos's fellow pollsters what they thought of the decision. None of them had very flattering things to say.

"I think all three of those states are still toss-ups," Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen told us. "We’ve already polled Virginia since the debate and Obama was up by 3. I don’t agree with his assessment, and I don’t know why he would have made it without even conducting any polling after the debates."

Gary Langer, who runs the ABC News/Washington Post poll, quipped tartly, "With that kind of foresight, we should find out who he likes in the fifth at Aqueduct."

SurveyUSA CEO Jay Leve was harsher. "This guy from Suffolk is obviously a jackass," he said.

David Paleologos extremely bizarre behavior and attempt to throw three swing states into the Romney camp didn't just happen. Here is the context. Please note from above the last polls done in VA, NC and FL:

On September 12th we predicted that the Romney Campaign (as opposed to the SupePACs) was likely to experience cash problems. Eight days later the New York Times confirmed that the official campaign funds were going dry and the Romney campaign would borrow $ 20 million to make it throught the end of the month:



Things are looking bad for the Romney campaign's finances. It must be frustrating to look over to the SuperPACs that are awash with an ocean of money and not have enough money to pay for the expensive infrastructure of the campaign. Overhead, Rent, Polling, Transportation, Staff and so on, cost tens of millions a month and cannot be subcontracted outside the campaign. Ironically campaign funds are well regulated and transparent. If you don't believe that just ask John Edwards who ran into massive legal problems on a technical question of misusing campaign funds.

Somehow something has to be done to get more direct donations into the Romney campaign, or they will have to take out more loans which like the first one, will be reported.

Now we have the Gravis miracle.

After 7 non Rasmussen polls in a row show Obama ahead in North Carolina. A brand new pollster comes out with a radically different result.

On October 6th Douglas Kaplan presents the Romney campaign with a magicial result North Carolina is now almost double digits for Romney, he's up 9. As the first highligted link shows we have released a number of articles showing that Kaplan has no academic or professional experience in polling and a checkered (to be kind) past. Under scrutiny he admits that he is not a pollster and that some of his polls "are not very good".

But on October 6th these are the numbers that the right wing media has been thirsting for. The media eats it up and the RW blogosphere explodes and Gravis becomes the most quoted pollster on the internet and becomes a production line of favorable state polls. On October 24th Gravis will anoint the Romney campaign with another blessing of a +8 showing. Along with a few happy Rasmussen polls North Carolina is moved to a lock for Romney.

North Carolina is critical because Romney has to switch 4-5 states from Obama 2008. He has Indiana and Missouri and the next one should be North Carolina which the President won by a hair. If he cannot win North Carolina by a large margin he is not going to be able to flip ANY other state.

So the October 6th poll showing a huge swing for Romney will be great news if it can be believed.

Enter David Paleologos' absolutely incomprehensible statement on October 10th in which he disregards his own and other polling and states that NC, VA and FL are not only going for Romney by large margins (which none did) but that the margins are so wide that no other polling is even necessary.

My, my what a wonderful set of circumstances that show a complete reversal of fortunes for Romney (and which we know by the election day results are completely untrue) that triggers a flow of new contributions back to the campaign.

Just as Kaplan has been discredited it is now appears that David Paleologos was part of a larger con.

Of course we 'could' be wrong and that David Paleologos is, like Kaplan, just an incompetent pollster that happens to produce statements that save Romney's ass.

Part of a conspiracy to create a false meme to help a campaign or utterly incompetent, in the words of another pollster, a jackass, which do you think fits, David?

This is the question that we will be addressing to Suffolk University, the trustees, the administration, the faculty and the students.

Why would you keep a professor that is either corrupt or incompetent.

When James Keefe III pulled his fast one on ACORN we weren't fooled but we were slow.

Fool us once shame on us. Fool us twice and we organize.

We will be following up to bring the bright light of DU onto the incompetent and/or corrupt pollster David Paleologos in our next article. In this case the offense is on many levels. We have an academic using his position to spread false information on the behalf of a campaign and go on partisan media to promote it. But it goes even more than that because David Paleologos didn't just work with bad data he tried to shut down lines of inquiry. This is absolutely unacceptable in any self respecting academic institution and violates everything that a University stands for. It must be held accountable.

Last time we had a number of people join DU and provide us confidential material. We checked it against numerous sources and when verified released it. To date none of the essential facts have been disputed. If anyone reading this has inside information and would like to share it you can join DU and send me DUmail and maintain your confidentiality. We had numerous members of the Gravis Working Group who we only identified by a number and whose real names I never learned.

For the record: The New York Times and Nate Silver have not responded to any of the facts that we have brought forth about Douglas Kaplan and his own admission that &quot he) is not a pollster" hopefully by painting a larger context they will see the significance and do their duty.

November 9, 2012

The time has come to take the (D) off of PPP Polling.

One of the frustrations of the last campaign season was the designation of various polling. Gravis was never identified as R even when it issued polls which gave Romney huge leads in the swing states of CO, VA and NC.

PPP on the other hand seemed to have the most accurate polling. It labeled NC as a tie when Gravis was giving Romney an 8+ advantage. PPP is always identified as a Democratic polling firm because they are frequently hired by Democrats. And yet in 2010 they went against the pack in predicting first that Brown would take Kennedy's seat.

Fordham University examined and ranked the various polling. The most accurate pollster was PPP. PPP therefore has to be considered the baseline and from that point all other pollsters you would either fall in the range of error or show a consistent R or D bias. The pollster who is identified as the most accurate cannot be categorized as having a bias, by definition. PPP is the only pollster that cannot be given either a D or R.

The fact that the most accurate pollster is usually hired by Democrats, or that they are run by Democrats, or that they make the most sense to Democrats doesn't mean that PPP leans Democratic it means that Democrats lean to objectivity.

The media should stop attaching 'D' to PPP, they are only embarrassing themselves.


Fordham Ranks the accuracy of various pollsters.

1. PPP (D)*
1. Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP*
3. YouGov*
4. Ipsos/Reuters*
5. Purple Strategies
6. YouGov/Economist
11. Angus-Reid*
12. ABC/WP*
13. Pew Research*
13. Hartford Courant/UConn*
15. Monmouth/SurveyUSA
15. Politico/GWU/Battleground
15. FOX News
15. Washington Times/JZ Analytics
15. Newsmax/JZ Analytics
15. American Research Group
15. Gravis Marketing
23. Democracy Corps (D)*
24. Rasmussen
24. Gallup
26. NPR
27. National Journal*

November 7, 2012

Magic Presto How DU moved a pollster 5 points to the left.

Don't have a lot of time but quickly two general points on the polling and prediction results. DU group wisdom was better than most of the punditry. North Carolina was largely written off as either a solid Romney or Lean Romney State. It was not. It was, until late in the night, a tossup state. It was the only toss up state that the President didn't win.

Here are the percents of difference in the 6 closest races (from CNN totals)

Florida .56 %
Ohio 1.92%
North Carolina 2.17 %
Virginia 2.96%
Colorado 4.3 %
New Hampshire 5.4%

We were right that North Carolina should have been ruled a toss up, within the MOE and not a lean Romney state, even though he did take it, the only swing state that went his way.

How DU Moved a pollster 5 points to the left

At a time when Romney was looking like he was going to lose every single swing state, and major media is recording that there is a sudden down turn in money coming into the Romney campaign a new pollster emerges and gives encouraging numbers showing Romney walking away in North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado. His numbers go into the averages, right wing bloggers rejoice and, apparently the money starts flowing into the Romney campaign again.

But many DUers call bullshit. And some ripples go out across the web. Astonishingly the owner, Douglas Kaplan (later to be known as Douglas "I am not a pollster" Kaplan) joins DU to defend his company. His responses are uninformed, weak and, remarkably, Kaplan is tossed off the site as an uninformed troll, not even meeting the admittedly low bar we have for trolls here.

Curiosity is raised and I launch an intensive long drawn out 27 minute investigation of Gravis while I am watching Matt Damon try to figure out for the 8th time why he was in Germany killing someone and why does everyone keep calling him Jason Bourne. Using the advanced investigative techniques that escape the New York Times and the rest of the media I take the extraordinary steps of clicking on Gravis Marketing. I then use the seldom used "Google" feature (if you are not familiar with it "Google" google and it will tell you more). This brings up a radio interview and I leave Matt Damon in his confused state and listen while doing paper work. When they get to the heart of the interview Kaplan remarks that the South Carolina's significance in the Republican Primary was because South Carolina "was the first state to leave the Union" and that's when I knew that this guy who presents himself as someone who has managed "national presidential and state campaigns" was in fact a buffoon of limited education or self awareness.

More investigation followed and on October 7th DU ran this thread to the head of the class stating, perhaps still a little too restrained and subtle for Major Media "DU Exclusive: Gravis Marketing exposed as a fraud" http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021489250

It goes out over the internet and various other sites pick it up.

And then a miracle happens.

Those states where Gravis Marketing shows Romney walking away before the DU expose suddenly jump back to the left by 5 points.

In fact Colorado jumps back in just a few days.

Let's look at the "DU Effect" on Gravis results (as sourced by polls listed with Silver)

North Carolina before DU (10/6) Gravis had North Carolina at 8.7% for Romney after DU expose Gravis pulled it down to 4.0 and the final result showed that the Pre DU Gravis was off by 6.7%

Virginia before DU (9/9) had Romney +5.3 and after DU expose Virginia was a tie (10/26) and the final result showed that the Pre DU Gravis was off by 8.2%

Colorado before DU (10/4) had Romney up 3.5% and AA supporting Romney over Obama and just one week later PRESTO (10/11) Gravis found a massive move to Obama who was now up 2.4% and the AA community had changed their minds back to supporting the President. Gravis' pre DU expose poll would be 8.8% the final result.

So to all of those FReepers, Cave Dwellers and Right Wing nut jobs that just rushed over and gave Kaplan a big embrace, we caught him red handed in the act and everything that we have said about Kaplan, and his past has been proven true. You can hire as many schmucks as you want to put lipstick on a pig but it is still just lipstick on a pig.

So while we got the pollster to jump back 5 points it should be noted that his pre DU expose numbers were 6.7 to 8.8% off the final result (Human events how do you like those numbers. Do you still consider that 'bullying'?)

Oh yeah and all of those toss up swing states that you reached in and got your hard earned money and threw it at the incredibly rich Romney so that he could appear to be competitive in for absolutely no effect?

He lost them all except NC, which was a cliff hanger.

We were right and you were duped.

Oh and one more thing, FOUR MORE YEARS.

Full index on Gravis Polls here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021568200

November 5, 2012

Toasting the person most responsible for taking Romney and his money down:

The unknown man or woman who taped Romney with his fundraisers.

Whoever you are we are very grateful.

If you ever reveal yourself you will never be able to buy yourself another drink or meal in public for the rest of your life.

Mitt you could have been a contender but you opened your mouth at the wrong time and
let everyone see what you are really all about, so close, so sad.

Good summary by ABC news.


Before a May 17 fundraising dinner at a Florida mansion, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told the reporters who'd been tailing him on the campaign trail that he was sorry they couldn't follow him inside.

"Too bad you can't come to the fundraisers," Romney told reporters.

While the journalists were left outside, however, someone inside the lavishly catered dinner decided to do a little freelance reporting, creating the latest viral recording to jar a national political campaign.

A camera secretly recorded Romney from a serving table at the edge of the room as he addressed an audience of 40 or 50 at the $50,000-a-plate event, delivering remarks that would make headlines four months later. Romney dismissed Obama supporters as entitled "victims."

"There are 47 percent who are with him," said Romney, "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what."

November 5, 2012

Gravis Working Group versus the New York Times, letter to NYTimes Ombudsman

<Because the work product to get here was shared I give credit to the unnamed assistants of the GWG but
in this case the arguments are mine, so any errors are mine alone. It is doubtful that a single letter to the
NYT is going to get far. If you are interested in sharing your opinion on the subject Margaret Sullivan is the
NYT Ombudsman and her email address is public@nytimes.com.

Also I don't have time to crosspost this elsewhere. I waive all copyright and thank you in advance for crossposting elsewhere, please let us know if it gets any traction >

Dear Margaret,

I am writing to raise serious questions about the NYTimes use of polls from the time of August through today.

I have discovered and exposed one of the most frequently used and heavily weighted pollsters used by the NYT (and more specifically Nate Silver) as someone who is a prolific liar with no post high school education (although multiple CVs claim 'attending' various diploma mills like DeVry) and no previous professional association with a pollster. With a group of citizen investigators we have pieced together the 'pollsters' last 10 years of professional work and know that he is a frequent target of federal and state investigations because he violates federal laws with junk faxes and robo calling. In fact he is a robo callier, not a pollster, confirmed by the source himself. I have detailed these charges in a 10 article expose at Democratic Underground and you can find an index to the articles here:


If you are short on time but have some interest start with article;

X. Gravis Working Group: Douglas Kaplan confirms our charges he is not a pollster.


After our constant bombardment Douglas Kaplan admits the following

1) He is not a professional pollster
2) He has no academic training in polling
3) His earlier polls were substandard
4) He has 'had to hire' a statistician and a 'political adviser' because these are areas outside of his expertise.

To the other charges, contained in a hundred pages of published material, he doesn't comment on, but no one has refuted a single one of our charges or facts.

This is not a trivial issue about a habitual liar (in an interview with the Voice of Russia Kaplan boasts that he has run both Presidential and State campaigns) who punked Nate Silver.

In the new world of post Citizen United we are faced with vast war chests of hundreds of millions of dollars entering the field from specific moneyed interests like Koch (heavy industrial) or Adelson (gambling). Does the NYT think that this wash of money is only going to be used to buy ad time?

It is not.

The Romney campaign has shown a propensity of buying supporting campaign infrastructure. Need a hundred thousand twitter followers? Buy them. Can't find editorial cartoons that make pro Romney cartoons? Set up a faux editorial cartoon site, hire a cartoonist that works for the Mormon Church and pretend that it has no connection to the Romney campaign.


We have seen with the hateful antics of James Keefe III that there are resources to fund the type of activities that the NYTimes used to win Pulitzer Prizes for exposing ala Liddy and the Plumbers that were part of the Nixon White House. Now they appear to be part of the acceptable landscape and after having taken out an important advocate the poor, ACORN we are now seeing AA standing in 5 hour lines to vote just 12 years after we vowed that it would never happen again.

So it must be asked if the New York Times is missing the big picture, is there a campaign to use vast amounts of money to shape the geography of the campaign for the special interests, beyond simply buying ad.

Now we come to the more specific question of the polls that are used by Nate Silver. While not a statistician I understand his model to be based on the baseball idea model of a virtual conveyor belt of unending statistics. That model worked well in 2008 where there was a vast and unending number of polls due to two contested primaries and the historically unique campaign of electing our first African American President. This year not so much.

In August Gravis Marketing started publishing polls. A lot of them. In certain swing states they were the most frequent. In some cases they had the widest margin for Romney. Silver gave them the highest weight, higher than well established, but Republican leaning Rasmussen. Not only that there were a large number of other Right Wing polls (ARG, Rasmussen, Purple Strategies, et al, ad naseum). In 2008 you could argue that the polls balanced each other out. In 2012 that claim can no longer be made. Zogby is gone.

Silver does weight the polls. Curiously Rasmussen, who is a real pollster and gets paid for it, does not receive full credit because he leans consistently Republican. Rasmussen is honest about his bias and while not academically trained in statistics he has a known background and did in fact attend college.

Mr. Silver gives a heavier weighting to Mr. Douglas Kaplan. Kaplan is a proven liar who never achieved any academic distinction, and admits it. Mr. Kaplan's experience is that of junk faxing and robo calling primarily around marketing dubious travel packages on unsuspecting dupes. He has been the target of federal and state complaints as well as lawsuits by Disney.

Mr. Silver may not be aware of his past but Mickey Mouse is.

As I said I am not a statistician. I am however (or technically was some years ago) a certified inspector in the quality control system known as ISO 9001. In the terms of ISO 9001 the 538 pollster column is in 'significant non compliance' with any known quality system. Mr. Silver's product is based on the raw material he receives. If he doesn't control the BS he gets in he cannot control, no matter how much weighting he attempts, the quality of the product. The first step that Mr. Silver must undertake is to be sure that the pollsters he is using are in fact pollsters.

Honestly it took me only 30 minutes to figure out that Douglas Kaplan was a fraud. I explain it in detail in the above link but I after I clicked on Mr. Kaplan's media link and listened to an interview he did on Voice of Russia where in answer to the question (which was the announced topic of the show) "What is the importance of the South Carolina Primary?", Mr. Kaplan completely disassembles and proffers "South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union" I knew that Kaplan was not only a fake but not a very intelligent one at that.

More investigation and more questionable details about Kaplan flowed out without much effort. Under the steady drumbeat of facts Kaplan acknowledges that he is in fact, not a pollster and that his early polls 'were not very good'. And yet those polls were fine for Mr. Silver.

On Mr. Silver's behalf I know that his model requires a vast number of polls to improve the prediction quality. But, quite frankly, Douglas Kaplan has successfully punked Nate Silver.

It is obvious that Silver's justification is that 'if it looks like a good poll, numbers match like a good poll, and it walks like a good poll' it is a good poll.

This is ridiculous. Clearly we have people doing polling not to reflect opinion but to move perception, or make opinion. Mr. Silver acknowledges this fact every time he gives Rasmussen polls a lower weight.

If you were interested in using a fake pollster, oh say like you are using a fake editorial cartoonist, the way that you would buy your way in is to offer up a number of polls that matched the expected average, then when needed you can start publishing numbers that pull the averaged poll numbers your way.

Mr. Kaplan started publishing polls only 77 days ago (this was 6 months after he had gone on Voice of Russia and talked about his extensive experience as a Presidential campaign manager and glibly lying about dozens of polls that he had done, including one that was coming out just as soon as he got off the air with the English speaking Russophiles. Lie after lie after lie, including detailed discussions about his work in certain counties in Iowa. All now acknowledged by Mr. Kaplan as not being true. He admits he is just a robo caller who wanted to get a bigger slice of the pie.

Again all of this was found out by spending 20 minutes listening to the tape that Kaplan had linked to his own website.

Which brings us to Mr. Silver's probability score on North Carolina.

North Carolina is actually more important than Ohio. Mr. Romney needs to flip a number of states from Mr. Obama's 2008 performance in order to have any level of credibility in the Electoral College race. He has Indiana. After that he has North Carolina. If he can't flip North Carolina (that was decided by only 25,000 votes) then the likelihood that he can flip Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, or Wisconsin are non existent.

North Carolina is the key to maintaining a facade of Electoral College viability. Enter Gravis Marketing and a whole bunch of unknown right wing pollsters. I looked at Gravis because a) most frequent b) farthest out. At the same time that PPP is showing NC a tie. Gravis continues to show it a Romney runaway up by +9 +8 +4. Just as the NYTimes and other outlets are reporting that Romney is having problems raising money Gravis comes in with magic numbers in North Carolina.

Talking about money we should also note that we have also documented that Mr. Kaplan has hundreds of thousands of dollars of IRS liens, multiple foreclosures and has said that he 'isn't making a dime out of the polls'. The kind hearted Kaplan is favoring us with independent polls, paid out of his own pocket, even hiring statisticians and political advisers that coincidentally serve to maintain Romney's Electoral College viability and help keep his fund raising ship afloat.

Hey, even Mickey Mouse wasn't fooled by this guy.

Nate Silver maintains that North Carolina has a 80% probability of Romney winning (ok today he lowered it to 77%). Look at the early voting results. North Carolina is a 50/50 tossup, but given the number of new voters that the Obama campaign has brought in so far, you would have to give a slight edge to the President taking North Carolina.

Why does it matter? Its just one state.

We don't need Nate Silver to be right about Hawaii or Utah. His value, and his only value is in the close states. And in all of the close states, North Carolina is the most important for reasons noted above.

For the record we obtained emails of various editors including political desks and inside emails to Nate Silver offering all of the information about Doug Kaplan and Gravis Marketing before we blogged the results and never got an answer. Further these issues have been discussed in various parts of the blogosphere, including discussion threads at Intrade and we have to assume that Silver and the political desk did know that highly dubious facts about Gravis were available. There are more details to come as well.

At this point none of the charges or facts that we have documented have been refuted and in his last interview Kaplan confirms that he is not trained (either in an academic or professional setting) in polling that he learned it 'from scratch' and that the quality of some of his polls were not good.

Silver might have had a question when one of Gravis' polls showed a majority of African Americans supporting Mitt Romney, but even that obvious brick didn't change the fact that for most of September Gravis was the most prolific and therefore the most used pollster in polling averages and had become, for a few weeks at least "America's most powerful Pollster".

There is more to this story but I will leave you with just one question. At the same time that Kaplan is launching his faux polling company he also launches this Political Action Committee, The Protect Candidate Speech PAC


Nate, New York Times, why would a legitimate independent pollster start a PAC? Has this ever happened before? How would that be consistent with someone that was doing legitimate polling? Is there someway that a dishonest person could profit from such an arrangement? All questions for the future.

Nate Silver and the New York Times didn't just drop the ball, you dropped it in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the World Series.



November 5, 2012

Serious Proposal: Separate Group for FB Meme

What makes GD so interesting is that it is like building a brick fence. One person makes a post about Iowa and another about a poll in Iowa and another on the pollster. Thread by thread a tapestry is woven and if you can keep up with the information, observation analysis and snark it is a singularly rich and sometimes frustrating place (particularly if you don't agree with the majority opinion).

It is a unique place on the web where conversation among a widely intelligent group of people in diverse backgrounds challenge and persuade. It is intriguing but not perfect.

In that flow people post the latest FB meme. These meme are almost invariably low information in nature. Some people post them to let others know what is going around on FB. Others post it seeking a rebuttal. It is a favorite tool of the putrid troll that is trying to provoke.

As someone who has no interest in Face Book, I just don't have the time and don't really tolerate idiot questions from acquaintances well, and given that I have a practice with several hundred clients and wouldn't want to involve them in my politics, I plan to just let the FB pass me by until I have grandchildren at which time I am sure I will become an insufferable Face Booker.

So at first I was really irritated evey time somebody posted some silly FB meme in GD. Now I see it as a good thing, as a way for people to engage people and persuade them.

In that light I suggest that we have a group especially for FB meme. It would serve a positive purpose in allowing people to post positive and negative things they find on FB. It would also show which FB are getting wide spread attention and which are isolated postings. It would save people from reposting the same meme, as they could find the thread on that FB meme and post on that.

It would take it out of GD which would solve my OCD compulsion to have neat boxes of topics. But it would help traffic for two reasons. FB meme threads generally don't do that well in GD and generally sink out of sight anyway, so a separate group would actually give them more exposure. Secondly it would reduce some of the traffic in GD which can result in a great thread sinking out of sight before it is seen.

It would be particularly helpful to new members who are interested in spreading the word but may be posting a FB meme that is new to them but has had 5 cycles in GD.

I am sure that there are 34 reasons why it isn't a good idea but I can't see them so I submit this humbly so the gang can reduce it to shreds.


November 4, 2012


October 28, 2012

10/27 Update on early voting NC and IA, good news, not great, and possibly great hard numbers.

The early voting news is good, not great, and possibly great.

The good news is that with the possible exception of Colorado the Obama campaign is mounting a huge GOTV effort and will almost certainly be going into every swing state with a huge lead. That's the good news.

In North Carolina for example MattTX at DailyKos reports


Early Voting in NC on Thursday and Friday was pretty consistent with the pattern we saw in Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday early voting. 170,215 people voted on Thursday and 173,543 more voted on Friday.

Overall, 1,352,147 people have voted and President Obama has built up an estimated margin of about 117,939 votes.

The not great news is that in 2008 the President was up 170,000 at the same time. It all comes down to one question, "How many early votes are from regular voters and how many are from so called 'sporadic voters'. There is good evidence that Romney's numbers are simply shuffling election day voters to vote earlier while the President's numbers include sizeable numbers of new or sporadic voters.

It will take more days of reporting to know for sure. North Carolina is going to be very very close, but the President will probably head into election day with an advantage and a fair chance to win. This is 'not great' news.

What makes this also 'possibly great news' is that Romney has to turn a whole bunch of states from bue to red. Give him Indiana, and after that the going gets tough. If Romney does win North Carolina but only by the narrowest of margins it is logical to conclude that Romney isn't going to have enough momentum in other states where Obama's margin was larger than the 14,000 in NC to overturn them.

North Carolina is going to be very very close and Romney really needs a big win in NC not a cliff hanger if he's also going to be taking any other 2008 Obama states to the Republican side.

Nevad also is showing very good numbers as reported by fightingregistrar at DailyKos


In the previous daily report, Democrats bested Republicans by 5,202 ballots cast. In this one, Democrats outstripped Republicans by 5,535. In fact, the Republican percentage went down among early voters since the previous report. These are very solid numbers for us in Clark County, especially considering that Romney is contesting Nevada much more vigorously than McCain did four years ago.

Now, here are the cumulative figures, including mail-in ballots:

Dems 105,338 (49.75%)
Reps 69,294 (32.73%)
Inds 37,107 (17.52%)

TOTAL 211,739

As of this report, 24.86% of the 851,803 active voters in Clark County have voted. That is huge. At this point in 2008, about 17% of all active voters had voted.

(Washoe County, the other large county is basically split exactly even. The two counties account for 90% of the vote. A sizeable win in Clark County determines the state results)

Other notes from McDonald at George Mason


Iowa, 400,000 absentee and early votes, 44% Dems, 30% Rep.

Florida 1.1 million cast with Republicans 45 to Dems 40%, but and this is a big but, in Florida Republicans normally have a 12 point advantage in early/absentee voting and Dems make it up on election day.

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