Nate Silver Himself Is the Entity to Be Analyzed


Conor P. Williams

Conor Williams on Twitter. More background here.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Stillwater says:

    I like it. If conservatives adopt this strategy, their turn to the dark side will be COMPLETE. (Bwhahaha!)Report

  2. Avatar DBrown says:

    Yet, let us not forget that there is an almost 1 in 5 chance that Silver is also correct in calling the race for mitt rmoney. Nice thing about race CALLING – you can’t lose (unless the race goes to an unknown third person.)Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    In the grottoes of Neuschwanstein, an ivory hand reaches out of the living rock, as if the rest of the sculpture was embedded within it. Those who say that God speaks only through the prophets are sadly mistaken. God’s natural language is numbers.

    Numbers are the finest of all tools. We may thank the Hindu mathematicians for the Zero, though it’s hard to say where that fits into the larger scheme of that stew pot of ancient wisdom.

    Nate Silver did an interview on NPR the other day. As I sat there, fuming in the gridlock of Poydras Street in New Orleans, Nate laid out his intrinsic bent: he’s a Libertarian in many respects and a Liberal in others.

    DAVIES: Right. So you call them like you see them. But just so we get this on the table, kind of what is your political perspective?

    SILVER: I would describe myself as being somewhere between a liberal and a Libertarian. A fancy way of saying I’m probably fairly centrist on economic policy, but liberal or Libertarian on social policy.

    DAVIES: Now, when you got into political forecasting, were you interested in policy and politics or was it more the challenge of prediction?

    SILVER: Probably more the challenge of prediction. Although one reason why I did get more interested in politics was because at the time poker was my livelihood and Congress passed a law in 2006 that essentially banned Internet poker. So I wanted to see if those rascals would get voted out of office and that increased my interest in politics.


    SILVER: But I more like the – I don’t want to call it the game of the election but I like elections a lot more than I like politics themselves, where elections are an interesting thing to look at and look at the data. It’s very much like a baseball season where it develops slowly, a little bit at a time, and then you have kind of a climactic ending. But I’m not a fan of the political culture per se. I’m happy that I live in New York in its own kind of bubble and not in D.C., which is a wonderful place but where you can’t turn down the street without someone having some kind of tie to Congress or the White House or something else.Report

  4. Avatar matthew fox says:

    Silver loses both ways, correctly predicts a Obama win, no one gets to say sorry to him, Romney wins, he is vilified.Report

  5. Avatar Fred Smit says:

    If Republicans respected science they would known the statistics don’t lie .. and Real Americans are not going to vote for a Mexican Born Polygamist anyhow.Report

    • Avatar Carlos in reply to Fred Smit says:

      You, of course, ignore that the polls are severely undersampling the huge, silent “Mexican Born Polygamist” block.

      Seriously, as a an applied mathematician I am following Mr. Silver’s travails in political punditry rather closely. It is rare that the political class (media, politicians etc…) gets a dose of quantitative, empirically based arguments. This perfect vacuum has been filled by this guy and predictably, he is being assailed via the usual sound of fury of this entitled class. Their binary view of the world (Win/Lose mainly), just does not fit into the rather unpartisan probability distributions being quietly integrated in Nate SIlver’s laptop.Report