Nate Silver's Star Rises With Perfect Election Prediction
The 2012 Presidential Election could not have turned out better for political statistician Nate Silver, who went a perfect 50 for 50 in his state predictions for Obama winning the election. Silver, who runs The New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight, may come off as some type of political clairvoyant, but really he relies on a model that focuses heavily on state polls, as well as historical trends that have influenced past elections.
“Because we saw a late surge toward Obama at the end in the national polls as well as the state polls, that was why, for example, we had Florida shift into really a toss-up,” Silver told The New York Times. "If we’re being very generous we had Obama as like a 50.2 percent favorite, pretty much. But usually in American politics people have more in common than they disagree on.”
Silver drew the ire of pundits when he noted as late as November 6 that Obama had a 90.9% chance of winning, an unusually high figure in what was considered to be a close race. Cable news host Joe Scarborough even went so far as to bet Silver $2000 that he was wrong. But it looks like no one will be betting against Silver for quite some time now that being perfect has become somewhat of a trend. After all, his 2012 predictions only furthered his already sterling reputation from 2008, when he went 49 for 50 in state predictions, failing only to correctly predict Obama winning Indiana.
Silver has since been reaping the rewards. Sales for his book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some Don't, increased by more than 800% on Amazon.com.