Why Rove's Move Will Backfire

Nate Silver explains the flaw in his logic

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 11, 2013 12:36 PM CST

(Newser) – Conservative activists and Nate Silver haven't always seen eye-to-eye, but they agree on one thing: Karl Rove's new super PAC backing establishment Republican candidates over Tea Party challengers is a bad idea. Of course, Silver's argument isn't ideological, it's mathematical. The problem, he points out in a New York Times post, is that money isn't what's holding establishment candidates back. Last year establishment figures outraised their Tea Party challengers by an average of 4-to-1, yet Tea Partiers won 11 of 23 races.

Indeed, Joe Miller even beat Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary, despite being outraised 20-to-1. What's more, we've already seen Rove's potential targets raise money off the backlash to Rove's efforts. Since the marginal value of money decreases as you raise more—meaning the first $100,000 means more than the last—Rove might actually be helping underfunded upstarts. "The intuition is simply that it may be dangerous to raise the profile of an insurgent candidate for whom a little extra money and exposure could go a long way." Click for Silver's full post.

Karl Rove is seen on the floor after a television interview at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, Sept. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Karl Rove is barking up the wrong tree, Nate Silver argues.   (AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily)
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