Nate Silver and Sam Wang on impact of shutdown

Sam Wang penned an article on the impact of the government shutdown on Republicans and their House seats. It's titled "Republicans could lose their House majority because of the shutdown":

Since the election is over a year away, it is hard to predict how this will translate to future seat gain/loss. If the election were held today, Democrats would pick up around 30 seats, giving them control of the chamber. I do not expect this to happen. Many things will happen in the coming 12 months, and the current crisis might be a distant memory. But at this point I do expect Democrats to pick up seats next year, an exception to the midterm rule.

Nate Silver was the more famous of the election prediction pundits from the last Presidential election, but among people who followed that space closely Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium was just as much a must-follow. Silver's relaunch of hasn't arrived yet, but in the meantime he penned a quick piece over at Grantland, his temporary home.

1. The media is probably overstating the magnitude of the shutdown's political impact.

Remember Syria? The fiscal cliff? Benghazi? The IRS scandal? The collapse of immigration reform? All of these were hyped as game-changing political moments by the news media, just as so many stories were during the election last year. In each case, the public's interest quickly waned once the news cycle turned over to another story. Most political stories have a fairly short half-life and won't turn out to be as consequential as they seem at the time.

Some took these two pieces as an opportunity to pit the two pundits against each other, but as Wang notes, the two are not as far apart as provocative headlines might make it seem. Wang does think this time could be different, though.

Multiple polls, including detailed onerom NBC/WSJ, show that public sentiment has turned against the GOP. Under the radar, gerrymandered districts are swinging much harder than I was expecting. If the election were today, Democrats would control the House by about 50 seats. That will fade, but by how much?

Silver lists other events that didn’t move opinion: Benghazi, and the IRS business, and Syria. But the shutdown has, bigtime. I agree with him that most pundits emit bulls**t, which is why I am working on a prediction model. Right now, the model is saying: as long as the GOP stays on its current path, where the House goes next fall is an even-money bet.

How this impacts the next election will be a fascinating test of whether this gambit by the extremists in the Republican Party really boomerangs on them. Any system that divorces costs from actions really kills the feedback loop that's needed for continuous improvement.