The New York Times last week announced that it would begin hosting the popular political blog FiveThirtyEight, and bring founder Nate Silver into its stable of regular contributors.
The NYT’s justification:
Mr. Silver, a statistical wizard, became a media star during the last presidential election season for his political projections based on dissections of polling data. He retains all rights to FiveThirtyEight and will continue to run it himself, but “under the banner and auspices of NYTimes.com,” The Times said in a news release.
In other words, what Silver writes suddenly has more weight. And on Sunday, the fivethirtyeight.com author ranked the nation’s pollsters. Georgia’s two polling firms, Strategic Vision and InsiderAdvantage, fared poorly.
Strategic Vision was blacklisted “for extreme misconduct; substantial likelihood that polls were fabricated.” See the background here. Dave Johnson, the CEO of Strategic Vision, has denied wrongdoing, but has severely cut back his firm’s polling.
InsiderAdvantage of Atlanta, run by Matt Towery, ranked second-to-last on the Nate Silver ranking.
Towery has partnered with WSB-TV over a series of polls in the race for governor, and most recently declared that former Gov. Roy Barnes had a 64 percent lead in the Democratic race.
Towery declared himself puzzled by Silver’s ranking. “Ask him to show me the races that we’ve missed,” Towery said.
The InsiderAdvantage CEO also pointed the curious to a 2008 address at Fordham University where Silver said the following, as noted by the university’s public relations team:
Silver’s analysis showed that Zogby, AP-GFK and Insider Advantage were the most accurate of all polling firms, although the percentages separating them were small. Comparing polling firms can be misleading, he said, because pollsters such as Rasmussen Reports include states like Alaska, whereas Zogby sticks to so-called battleground states.
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