Top 8: Experts vs Idol Analytics

The Zap2It American Idol Exit Poll has published this week’s picks. Here they are alongside my model.

Why are the experts so confident about Paul? Nobody would lay any money on Haley? And they say it’s six times more likely that Paul goes than Stefano? This is weird. If somebody were to offer me 4:1 odds on Stefano, I’d be on that in a heartbeat. Of course, the people polled only get one pick, and they don’t collaborate. Still, that’s very certain. They are also notably sure that Jacob won’t go. I just don’t see the wisdom here. Again, 4 or 5 to 1 on Jacob, I’d take that bet.

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  • Lurkher

    Voters pick who they believe has the highest chance of leaving. If all the voters had Paul ahead by 10% in their mental model, they’d all pick Paul. This would likely hold true even if Paul were ahead by 5%.

    • Reuben

      I suppose I wouldn’t dispute that. My issue is that, supposing that the true quality of the performances differed by 10 points. There’s ample reason to gamble on the statistical noise. I wouldn’t expect the majority to do it, but I would expect some. We’ve seen a lot of odd results this year, and if you always bet on who you thought was second most likely to go home, I don’t think you’d be doing too badly at all.