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November 21, 2014

2014 Christmas Spending

 

Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $861 for gifts this holiday season, up from $801 last year according to our 30th annual survey on holiday spending. Planned gift spending will slightly exceed spending in 2007, a first since the recession.

 

Year Average
Spending
Percent
Change
2014 $861 + 8%
2013 $801 - 6%
2012 $854 + 32%
2011 $646 - 2%
2010 $658 + 58%
2009 $417 - 3%
2008 $431 - 50%
2007 $859 - 5%
2006 $907 - 4%
2005 $942 - 6%
2004 $1,004 + 3%

Average planned spending peaked in 2001 at $1,052. Average planned spending has recovered from $417 in 2009, with average planned spending for 2014 slightly above average planned spending of $859 in 2007.

When average planned spending is adjusted for inflation beginning with the first survey in 1985, the average planned spending of $861 in 2014 would be worth $390 in 1985.

Details from the nationwide survey conducted November 17-20 are here.

 


 

November 21, 2014

Obama Job Approvals and the National Economy

 

Obama Job Approval Ratings
11/20/14 Approve Disapprove Undecided
Overall 44% 51% 5%
Economy 42% 54% 4%

A total of 44% of Americans say they approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president and 51% say they disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job. In October, 43% of Americans approved of the job Obama was doing and 52% disapproved.

When it comes to Obama's handling of the economy, 42% of Americans approve and 54% disapprove. In October, 41% approved and 55% disapproved.

Among Americans registered to vote, 46% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president and 50% disapprove. On Obama's handling of the economy, 43% of registered voters approve and 53% disapprove.

Details from the nationwide survey conducted November 17-20 are available at The National Economy.

 


 

November 18, 2014

2014 NFL Prediction Accuracy

 

Microsoft's Cortana and Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight.com Elo are predicting the outcomes of NFL games each week during the 2014 season.

The tables below use Brier scores to determine the accuracy of the probabilistic predictions from both models.

Brier scores range from 0 to 1, with 0 meaning the probabilities in the models perfectly match the outcomes of the games and 1 meaning no matches were made (so the closer to 0.000, the better calibration of the model).

If a 50% (0.500) probability were assigned to each team for each game, the Brier score would be 0.250.

Through the eleventh week of the season, the Elo model has a Brier score of 0.211 and the Cortana model has a Brier score of 0.217.

 

Brier Scores
2014 NFL Season Summary 538 Elo Cortana
Week 1 0.212 0.222
Week 2 0.256 0.258
Week 3 0.187 0.209
Week 4 0.242 0.288
Week 5 0.149 0.145
Week 6 0.194 0.194
Week 7 0.211 0.200
Week 8 0.217 0.197
Week 9 0.199 0.201
Week 10 0.189 0.192
Week 11 0.260 0.287
Season totals 0.211 0.217

For the season through week 11, the Elo model is performing about 16% better than assigning all teams a 50% win probability and the Cortana model is performing about 13% better than assigning all teams a 50% win probability. The Brier scores for the season reflect that the average win probabilities among winning teams are 57% for the Elo model and 56% for the Cortana model. On a weekly basis, the models have failed to perform better than assigning each team a 50% win probability ten out of eleven weeks.

In week eleven of the season, the Elo model had a Brier score of 0.260 and the Cortana model had a Brier score of 0.287. These are the worst performances for the models for the season to date.

Both models performed worse than assigning each team a 50% win probability. The average probablity for winning teams in week 11 for the Elo model is 52% and 49% for the Cortana model.

Details for each game are here.

 


 

November 13, 2014

Pollster Ratings
2014 Colorado US Senate Election

 

The following table lists the accuracy of pollsters in the November 4, 2014 Colorado US Senate election using the measure of polling accuracy proposed by Martin, Traugott, and Kennedy.

An accuracy measure of 0.00 indicates that the odds ratio of the survey results matches the odds ratio of the actual results (the closer to 0.00, the better).

 

2014 Colorado US Senate Election
Gardner Udall Odds
Ratio
Accuracy
Ipsos/Reuters 47% 45% 1.00 0.00 
Quinnipiac 45% 43% 1.00 0.00 
SurveyUSA 46% 44% 1.00 0.00 
YouGov 43% 42% 0.98 -0.02 
PPP 48% 45% 1.02 0.02 
Marist/NBC 46% 45% 0.98 -0.02 
Vox Populi 46% 43% 1.02 0.02 
Monmouth 47% 46% 0.98 -0.02 
ORC/CNN 50% 46% 1.04 0.04 
Gravis 48% 43% 1.07 0.06 
YouGov/CBS/NYT* 46% 47% 0.93 -0.07 
Harstad 43% 44% 0.93 -0.07 
Keating* 44% 45% 0.93 -0.07 
Strategies 360* 44% 45% 0.93 -0.07 
Rasmussen 51% 45% 1.08 0.08 
Mellman* 37% 39% 0.91 -0.10 
Benenson* 44% 47% 0.89 -0.11 
Suffolk 46% 39% 1.13 0.12 
Actual 48.32% 46.16%

There are no differences between all 18 polls at the 95% confidence level.

*The YouGov/CBS/NYT, Keating, Strategies 360, Mellman, and Benenson polls had Udall leading.

 


 

November 13, 2014

Pollster Ratings
2014 Colorado Gubernatorial Election

 

The following table lists the accuracy of pollsters in the November 4, 2014 Colorado gubernatorial election using the measure of polling accuracy proposed by Martin, Traugott, and Kennedy.

An accuracy measure of 0.00 indicates that the odds ratio of the survey results matches the odds ratio of the actual results (the closer to 0.00, the better).

 

2014 Colorado Gubernatorial Election
Hickenlooper Beauprez Odds
Ratio
Accuracy
Strategies 360 46% 43% 1.00 0.00 
YouGov/CBS/NYT 48% 44% 1.02 0.02 
YouGov 44% 42% 0.98 -0.02 
Vox Populi 49% 44% 1.04 0.04 
ORC/CNN 49% 48% 0.96 -0.05 
Marist/NBC 46% 41% 1.05 0.05 
Ipsos/Reuters 46% 46% 0.94 -0.07 
PPP 46% 46% 0.94 -0.07 
SurveyUSA 46% 46% 0.94 -0.07 
PPP/LCV 47% 47% 0.94 -0.07 
Monmouth 50% 43% 1.09 0.08 
Rasmussen* 47% 49% 0.90 -0.11 
Quinnipiac* 43% 45% 0.89 -0.11 
Suffolk* 43% 45% 0.89 -0.11 
Gravis* 44% 48% 0.86 -0.15 
Actual 49.21% 46.07%

There are no differences between all 18 polls at the 95% confidence level.

*The Rasmussen, Quinnipiac, Suffolk, and Gravis polls had Beauprez leading.

 


 

Novmeber 13, 2014

Pollster Ratings
2014 Alaska US Senate Election

 

The following table lists the accuracy of pollsters in the November 4, 2014 Alaska US Senate election using the measure of polling accuracy proposed by Martin, Traugott, and Kennedy.

An accuracy measure of 0.00 indicates that the odds ratio of the survey results matches the odds ratio of the actual results (the closer to 0.00, the better).

 

2014 Alsaka US Senate Election
Sullivan Begich Odds
Ratio
Accuracy
YouGov/CBS/NYT 48% 44% 1.02 0.02 
Moore 42% 38% 1.03 0.03 
Rasmussen 47% 42% 1.05 0.04 
PPP 46% 45% 0.95 -0.05 
Harstad 44% 44% 0.93 -0.07 
Hellenthal** 39% 49% 0.74 -0.30*
Actual 48.58% 45.37%

There are no differences between all 6 polls at the 95% confidence level.

*The accuracy measure for the Hellenthal poll falls outside of the 95% confidence interval.

**The Hellenthal poll had Begich leading.

 


 

November 13, 2014

Pollster Ratings
2014 Alaska Gubernatorial Election

 

The following table lists the accuracy of pollsters in the November 4, 2014 Alaska gubernatorial election using the measure of polling accuracy proposed by Martin, Traugott, and Kennedy.

An accuracy measure of 0.00 indicates that the odds ratio of the survey results matches the odds ratio of the actual results (the closer to 0.00, the better).

 

2014 Alsaka Gubernatorial Election
Walker Parnell Odds
Ratio
Accuracy
PPP 46% 45% 0.99 -0.01 
Hellenthal* 43% 44% 0.94 -0.06 
YouGov/CBS/NYT* 39% 42% 0.90 -0.11 
Rasmussen 50% 43% 1.12 0.12 
Actual 47.94% 46.30%

There are no differences between all 4 polls at the 95% confidence level.

*The Hellenthal and YouGov/CBS/NYT polls had Parnell leading.

 


 

November 7, 2014

Pollster Ratings
2014 Iowa US Senate Election

 

The following table lists the accuracy of pollsters in the November 4, 2014 Iowa US Senate election using the measure of polling accuracy proposed by Martin, Traugott, and Kennedy.

An accuracy measure of 0.00 indicates that the odds ratio of the survey results matches the odds ratio of the actual results (the closer to 0.00, the better).

 

2014 Iowa US Senate Election
Ernst Braley Odds
Ratio
Accuracy
Selzer/DMR 51% 44% 0.97 -0.03 
Suffolk 47% 43% 0.92 -0.09 
PPP 48% 45% 0.89 -0.11 
Marist/NBC 49% 46% 0.89 -0.11 
ORC/CNN 49% 47% 0.87 -0.14 
Optimus 45% 44% 0.86 -0.16*
Rasmussen 48% 47% 0.85 -0.16*
ARS/Fox News 45% 44% 0.86 -0.16*
Monmouth 47% 46% 0.86 -0.16 
YouGov/CBS/NYT 44% 44% 0.84 -0.18*
Ipsos/Reuters 45% 45% 0.84 -0.18*
Quinnipiac 47% 47% 0.84 -0.18*
Garin-Hart-Yang 47% 47% 0.84 -0.18*
Loras College** 44% 45% 0.82 -0.20*
YouGov** 42% 43% 0.82 -0.20*
PPP/LCV** 47% 48% 0.82 -0.20*
Actual 52.2% 43.7%

There are no differences in accuracy between the Selzer, Suffolk, PPP, Marist/NBC, ORC/CNN, and Monmouth polls at the 95% confidence level.

*The accuracy measures for the Optimus, Rasmussen, Anderson Robbins/Shaw/Fox News, YouGov/CBS/New York Times, Ipsos/Reuters, Quinnipiac, Garin-Hart-Yang, Loras College, YouGov, and Public Policy Polling/League of Conservation Voters polls fall outside of the 95% confidence intervals.

**The Loras College, YouGov, and the PPP/LCV polls had Braley leading.

 


 

November 7, 2014

Pollster Ratings
2014 Iowa Gubernatorial Election

 

The following table lists the accuracy of pollsters in the November 4, 2014 Iowa gubernatorial election using the measure of polling accuracy proposed by Martin, Traugott, and Kennedy.

An accuracy measure of 0.00 indicates that the odds ratio of the survey results matches the odds ratio of the actual results (the closer to 0.00, the better).

 

2014 Iowa Gubernatorial Election
Branstad Hatch Odds
Ratio
Accuracy
Monmouth 58% 37% 0.99 -0.01 
Loras College 55% 34% 1.02 0.02 
Marist/NBC 59% 36% 1.03 0.03 
Rasmussen 55% 37% 0.94 -0.06 
Selzer/DMR 59% 35% 1.06 0.06 
ARS/Fox News 53% 36% 0.93 -0.07 
Suffolk 54% 37% 0.92 -0.08 
YouGov 49% 35% 0.88 -0.12 
YouGov/CBS/NYT 50% 37% 0.85 -0.16*
PPP 51% 40% 0.80 -0.22*
Quinnipiac 52% 41% 0.80 -0.22*
Actual 59.0% 37.2%

There are no differences in accuracy between the Monmouth, Loras College, Marist/NBC, Rasmussen Selzer/DMR, ARS/Fox News, Suffolk, and YouGov polls at the 95% confidence levels.

*The accuracy measures for the YouGov/CBS/NYT, PPP, and Quinnipiac polls fall outside of the 95% confidence intervals.

 


 

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