Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's All Over But The Shoutin'

Nate Silver is never wrong.  He has no bias (or so he claims); he just looks at numbers.  His state-by-state predictions in the last presidential  election were frighteningly accurate.  He even accurately predicted this year's Oscar winners -- at least in those categories for which he said he had enough data.

So, I've found myself not worrying so much about  the outcome of the same sex marraige cases just argued before the Supreme Court, either Hollingsworth v. Perry, challenging California’s Prop 8, or United States v. Windsor, challenging DOMA.  In a sense, thanks to Silver, we've already been to the mountaintop on this one.  We can see the promised land, and it really doesn't matter what happens with these cases now. 

Back in 2011, Silver projected public support for same sex marriage using mathematical analysis way too complicated for me.  Here are his predictions, if ballot initiatives were held on same sex marriage every four years: 

In 2004, only 33% of Americans polled supported same-sex marriage.  Support for same-sex marriage then began to rise at a rate of about 2 percentage points a year, growing to an average of 37 percent in polls conducted in 2006, and 41 percent in polls conducted in 2008. It has continued to increase at about the same rate since then. At some point in 2010 or 2011, support began to outweigh opposition.  Among the 37 polls conducted since 2012, all but four have shown more Americans supporting same-sex marriage than opposed to it. As Silver shows in his analysis, there is no reason to think that this linear progression will not continue.

Jeffrey Toobin sums it up quite nicely:  "The question about marriage equality for all Americans is not if it will pass but when. The country has changed, and it’s never going back to the way it was. Though the battles continue, the war is over." 

No comments: