Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

Nate Silver on uncertainty

Many people I’ve spoken with seem eager to read the oracular  Nate Silver’s hesitancy to make any strong declarations about the outcome of the actual election as a tacit endorsement of the government reported result.

Ballen and Doherty (of Terror Free Tomorrow), in their WaPo Op-Ed, present what they put forward as data that bolsters this reading. Silver responds:

Ballen and Doherty’s point would be worthwhile — if support for Ahmadinejad was as robust as they were claiming. But instead, the presidential preferences of almost half of their survey cohort are unaccounted for — 42.5 percent either refused to answer the question or said they were undecided, and another 7.6 percent said they weren’t planning to vote at all.

While it is dangerous to make inferences about the preferences of undecided voters, the fact that the Iranians in their survey did tend to favor reformist positions on most issues, and had generally tepid reviews of Mr. Ahmadinejad performance, would seem to provide a few hints….

Overall, however, the poll revealed that Iranians gave Ahmadinejad tepid reviews on the performance of the economy, and favored a much less bellicose foreign policy than he has pursued. One would think that under those circumstances, the incumbent would be in a fight for his political future.

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