Saturday, December 1, 2012

When Internal Polls Mislead Who is to Blame? Nate Silver/538 NY Times

Nate Silver's analyses -we now know - were not biased but accurately forecast Obama's re-election.  The Romney campaign's own analyses were not so accurate. The lesson's Nate Silver draws from the Romney campaign's flawed polling are as true for litigation as they are for politics.  I have lost cases in which I invested a lot of time and money the same way that Romney lost.- GWC
Nate Silver reports
Nonetheless, the seeming inaccuracy of Mr. Romney’s internal polls ought to present a warning to future campaigns. The problems with internal polls may run deeper than the tendency for campaigns to report them to the public in a selective or manipulative way. The campaigns may also be fooling themselves.
Our self-perceptions are very often more optimistic than the reality; 80 percent of people think they are above-average drivers, for example.
These problems can be worse when we join together to form businesses or organizations. Honest self-assessment is a challenge for any business, and it is one reason that management consultants are sometimes engaged at considerable expense to provide a supposedly more objective and unbiased take on the state of the organization’s operations. (Much of Mr. Romney’s success in business, of course, came precisely because he was able to identify companies whose organizational cultures prevented them from functioning efficiently.)

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