Barack Obama's odds of victory ticked up to 80.9% today in Nate Silver's projection model, a fact unlikely to sit well with Silver's growing legion of Republican detractors. While no one is arguing that Mitt Romney is the favorite, some—like Joe Scarborough—are arguing the race is a toss-up. "What I find confounding about this is that the argument we're making is exceedingly simple," Silver writes at the New York Times today. "Here it is: Obama's ahead in Ohio."
If you take the polls at face value, Silver says, Obama's ahead in enough states to get him to 270 electoral votes. "I am aware—and you should be too—of the possibility that adding complexity to a model can make it worse," he admits, but even "the simplest analysis of the polls would argue that Mr. Obama is winning." It's that conviction that led Silver to challenge Scarborough to bet him a $1,000, no make that $2,000, Red Cross donation that Obama would win. "He’s been on a rant, calling me an idiot and a partisan," Silver tells Times public editor Margaret Sullivan. But Sullivan still called it a "bad idea" and "inappropriate for a Times journalist." Silver later tweeted that Sullivan was an excellent public editor, and that he'd donated $2,538 to the Red Cross.