Andrew Sullivan Is Always Wrong
Part Three in a Continuing Series
Today, one idiot decided it would be fun to horribly misinterpret statistics and posit that Diebold stole the New Hampshire primary for Hilary Clinton. Mind you, he didn’t actually have any evidence of this assertion (such as reports of ninja hackers breaking into polling centers, or the like), just a statistical analysis he did showing that votes from hand-counted precincts matched the polling done in the days before the election, while the votes from machine-counted precincts did not.
This looks somewhat spooky until you realize that Mr. Noxid fails to mention quite a lot of mitigating factors. He fails to look at his own numbers and see that the machine-counted sample is 6 times bigger than the hand-counted sample. He reports these advantage percentages without correcting for this discrepancy, nor does he mention that the final tally matches up pretty well with the exit polling. He does no sort of geographic correction, matching up the individual precinct and town results with their method of counting. Nor does he ever mention that these machines weren’t the much-maligned electronic voting machines, they were just optical scanners (remember Scantron, everyone?), thus there exists the ever-important paper trail. Mr. Noxid, then, is just a conspiracy theorist with a grudge and a bad understanding of statistics.
This same sort of idiocy infected Daily Kos (no bastion of Clinton love) today (you can find me in the comments here). It became enough of a problem that two front page posters, Devilstower and DHinMI, felt compelled to write debunkings, which I thought would settle the matter.
This is when Andrew Sullivan entered the conversation:
I’m not an expert on this, but is there an obvious explanation for why Obama had a 7.5 percent advantage over Clinton in New Hampshire votes counted by hand and Clinton had a 5.5 percent advantage in votes counted by machine? I presume that it’s a function of differing locations, with the more urban Clinton districts relying more on machines. Is that the right inference?
Sullivan has a Ph.D. in political science (a statistics-heavy discipline) from the Kennedy School of Government at freaking Harvard. Does he really need a bleg to figure this out? From his last two sentences I can see he’s on the right track. Why even write this post, though, if he knew such a nutty theory was bullshit? Why give this moron the benefit of Sullivan’s impressively large traffic?
Oh, that’s right: Clinton derangement syndrome. Sullivan is such an irrational nutjob when it comes to Hillary Clinton that he can’t help but link to or write anything that might hurt her, no matter how baseless or insane it might be. Sure he might not believe Noxid, but what’s a little truth when compared to political utility. Bravo, Sully. Keep up that high-quality analysis the Atlantic is known for.