Who's the Nate Silver of Picked to Click 2012?

Categories: Picked to Click
Chalice_number_1.jpg
Photo by Emily Utne
So, how many of you actually could predict this was going to happen?
Many among us have heard the name Nate Silver a lot in recent weeks leading up to the U.S. Presidential Election. He's the number-cruncher who very closely predicted which state's Electoral College votes would go for Barack Obama and which would end up in Mitt Romney's paws. Googling "Nate Silver map side by side" might crash your browser at this point because this guy has received so many plaudits.

Silver's impressive accuracy got us wondering if Picked to Click, our yearly best new local bands poll, could ever be projected with that level of precision. The short answer: Not yet. There's not a single person in the Twin Cities who predicted the top five for Picked to Click with their ballot, or with any other sort of statistical model that we're aware of. But a few people came very, very close.

See Also:
Picked to Click 2012: The best comments
Picked to Click 2012: By the numbers
Picked to Click 2012: Ballots and Winners


While Gimme Noise got high marks on the AP Statistics standardized test in high school -- but ended up with his head on his desk during the "mathmatical induction" unit -- this analysis is not nearly as rigorous as anything Silver did. But it does provide some food for thought. Also, it gave us some thoughts on some hilarious "states" providing electoral votes you could plot on a map -- writers, bookers, radio personalities, Twitter stars, bloggers who hate City Pages, etc.

Just to get us back acquainted, here are the top 10 finishers in the 2012 Picked to Click:

1. The Chalice 83 points
2. Pony Trash 78 points
3. John Mark Nelson 71 points
3. Wiping Out Thousands 71 points
5. Heavy Deeds 63 points
6. Actual Wolf 58 points
7. Strange Names 39 points
8. Observer Drift 36 points
9. Prissy Clerks 34 points
10. Audio Perm 32 points

I looked at all 146 ballots submitted and applied a simple subtraction formula to figure out which entries most closely resembled the end results. For example, if you voted for winner the Chalice at number one, you assess no points, but if you put them at number five, you'd get four points.

Here's a fake ballot, with the actual finish of the artist (ties are taken into account), to make the point:

1. Cactus Blossoms (19) = 18 points
2. Greg Grease (27) = 25
3. Arby (74) = 71
4. Adam Bubolz (92) = 88
5. Actual Wolf Lords (254) = 249
Total: 451

Note: With nearly 300 artists receiving votes, most people's ballots get "scores" in this range -- or even higher -- and it speaks to the diversity of opinions among the voters.

The ballots with the lowest number of points, AKA the closest to the end results, are featured below. You may recognize some of these names. We also noted how many of their voted artists ranked in the Picked to Click top ten.

Kyle Matteson, AKA @Solace and a guy who attends a lot of concerts:
1. John Mark Nelson (3)   
2. Wiping Out Thousands (3)  
3. Actual Wolf (6)   
4. Pony Trash (2)   
5. Strange Names (7)

Total: 10 points (5/5 from the top ten)

Sonia Grover, First Avenue booker:
1. John Mark Nelson (3)   
2. Heavy Deeds (5)   
3. Actual Wolf (6)   
4. Strange Names (7)   
5. Wiping Out Thousands (3)

Total: 12 points (5/5 from the top ten)

David Safar, 89.3 the Current music director (votes not in order):
3. Strange Names (7)   
3. John Mark Nelson (3)   
3. The Chalice (1)   
3. Actual Wolf (6)   
3. Prissy Clerks (9)

Total: 15 points (5/5 from the top ten)

Andrea Swensson, 89.3 the Current music reporter (votes not in order):
3. Bomba de Luz (12)   
3. Wiping Out Thousands (3)   
3. The Chalice (1)   
3. Strange Names (7)   
3. Actual Wolf (6)

Total: 18 points (4/5 from the top ten)

Jade Tittle, 89.3 the Current assistant producer:
1. Wiping Out Thousands (3)   
2. John Mark Nelson (3)   
3. Van Stee (13)   
4. Strange Names (7)  
5. The Chalice (1)

Total: 20 points (4/5 from the top ten)

Pat O'Brien, AKA @BrokenHalo and Gimme Noise contributor:
1. Wiping Out Thousands (3)   
2. Van Stee (13)   
3. Actual Wolf (6)   
4. Pony Trash (2)   
5. A. Wolf & Her Claws (11)

Total: 24 points (3/5 from the top ten)

Barb Abney, 89.3 the Current host:
1. A. Wolf & Her Claws (11)   
2. The Chalice (1)   
3. Actual Wolf (6)   
4. Van Stee (13)   
5. Strange Names (7)

Total: 25 points (3/5 from the top ten)

Jim McGuinn, 89.3 the Current program director:
1. Actual Wolf (6)   
2. John Mark Nelson (3)  
3. The Chalice (1)   
4. Van Stee (13)   
5. Y.N. Rich Kids (14)

Total: 27 points (3/5 from the top ten)

David Campbell, 89.3 the Current host:
1. The Chalice (1)   
2. Wolf Lords (22)   
3. Strange Names (7)   
4. John Mark Nelson (3)   
5. Prissy Clerks (9)

Total: 29 points (4/5 from the top ten)

A few thoughts on these numbers:
- No one on this list, aside from David Campbell, put the Chalice as their number one. Six of these nine people work at the Current, but David Safar was the only among them voter to have a ballot with five artists from the top ten and have the Chalice incuded.

- Several more folks would've appeared on this list if it hadn't been for one or two extreme outlier artists.

- It appears Wolf Lords and A. Wolf & Her Claws split the vote for Aby Wolf-related projects.

- Van Stee received the most votes of any artist not to receive a first-place vote.

-Two top ten finishers, Observer Drift (8) and Audio Perm (10), didn't show up on any of these ballots.

- Choosing to submit an unranked ballot (3 points each instead of 1-5 points) can have a huge effect on the final results.

- A total of 13 bands show up on these nine ballots:
Seven ballots: Actual Wolf (22 points assigned), Strange Names (17 points assigned)
Six ballots: John Mark Nelson (23 points assigned), the Chalice (19 points assigned)
Five ballots: Wiping Out Thousands (18 points assigned)
Four ballots: Van Stee (11 points assigned)
Two ballots: Prissy Clerks (2 points assigned), Pony Trash (4 points assigned), A. Wolf & Her Claws (6 points assigned)
One ballot: YN Rich Kids (1 point assigned), Wolf Lords (4 points assigned), Heavy Deeds (4 points assigned), and Bomba de Luz (3 points assigned).

Thus, the rankings (actual placement in parenthesis) based upon these nine ballots would look like this:
1. (3) John Mark Nelson
2. (6) Actual Wolf
3. (1) The Chalice
4. (3) Wiping Out Thousands
5. (7) Strange Names
6. (12) Van Stee
7. (11) A. Wolf & Her Claws
8.(tie) Wolf Lords, Heavy Deeds, Pony Trash
11. Bomba de Luz
12. Prissy Clerks
13. Y.N. Rich Kids
 
Next, we decided to find out what would happen if these ballots were removed from the 2012 totals. See the results on the next page.

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5 comments
cinatyte
cinatyte

(Full disclosure: I am an employee of the Current, who voted in Picked to Click.)

 

The major flaw of this analysis is that Nate Silver was trying to project the results of the election. Picked to Click voters were not voting to project the election (not that I know of, anyway), but voting instead for their favorites. None of these nine supervoters were trying to PREDICT the results. I feel that focusing on the Reviler predictions would have been a better launching point in extrapolating data from actual predictions.

 

If a voter approached their ballot thinking, "I am voting for the 5 artists who I think will be the top 5 on the poll," that would be a different story. As is, it's easy to look back in hindsight at the folks whose ballots matched the final results and make them out to be soothsayers. Correlation, however, does not necessarily equal causation, which is why I'm skeptical of the insights afforded by this column. As you say, though, this is not the end of the conversation, and I'm looking forward to seeing what other people have to say.

solace
solace

 @cinatyte you bring up good points, but I should clarify that my P2C list wasn't just voting for my 5 favorite new bands... I did also take into account who I thought would place somewhat too.

 

I've always felt the point of P2C wasn't just your 'Favorite New Bands' (there's plenty of other lists/showcases for that), but moreso bands you think will "break out" from the pack, both locally and (hopefully) nationally.

 

Obviously I have some favorite local bands who I know have a limited appeal, and probably wouldn't vote them in my P2C list. Luckily this year, a handful of my favorites happened to be acts I felt were on the brink and worthy of a vote.

 

good discussion regardless

ReedFischer
ReedFischer moderator

@cinatyte

Yeah, I agree that no one listed, aside from the Reviler fellers, were overtly trying to "predict" the outcome, and I doubt anyone will ever be able to accurately predict Picked to Click.

 

(Note: I've had conversations with some folks who treated their balloting process sort of like predictions. Though I don't think it helped them.)

 

Still, I do think it's interesting to look at how closely a few of the "supervoters" (nice term) ballots correlate with the end results. It's like picking your fantasy football team -- it's hard to keep personal feelings out of the way you rank your picks.

 

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