Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Nate Silver's Batting Average

It currently stands at .975:
Barack Obama may have comfortably won re-election in the electoral college, and squeaked a victory in the popular vote. But here is the absolute, undoubted winner of this election: Nate Silver and big data. The analyst, despite being pilloried by the pundits, outdid even his 2008 prediction. In that year, his mathematical model correctly called 49 out of 50 states, missing only Indiana (which went to Obama by 0.1%.) This year, according to all projections, Silver’s model has correctly predicted 50 out of 50 states. A last-minute flip for Florida, which finally went blue in Silver’s prediction on Monday night, helped him to a perfect game.
Statistics isn't some game mathematicians play, it's a science based upon actual numbers. The pundits, all of whom were wrong to varying degrees, can hem and haw all they want, but it doesn't change the math. Karl Rove used to say that "he has the math," but that was so much bluster. If he really knew what he was doing, would he be on Fox News pontificating that the race isn't over, while the hair-sprayed host has to talk him off the ledge (see above)? I think not. Rove was always more about intimidation and saying the things wingnuts want to hear, like how the American public thinks they're dreamy and really wants to go steady. Not. So. Fast. But Karl will be back. There are more billionaires for him to fleece, no doubt. But Rove's sage-like aura of political prescience is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. And people on the right are beginning to figure this out.

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