Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nate Silver and The Art Of Prediction

Last night I went to City Winery to see Nate Silver record a live podcast for Slate. I've been a fan of Silver's since the 2006 elections, when he started using polling data to reliably predict the outcomes of the contests. Last night's roundtable provided surprisingly little in the way of revelations. Silver did remind everyone how difficult it is to predict elections, owing mainly to the scarcety of historical data but also to the innumerous variables which can affect the outcomes. However he did note that he ran his model yesterday morning against a hypothetical Romney-Obama matchup. Romney came out on top 50.2% to 49.8%. I am personally going to go ahead and chalk this one up to the fact that there is a lot more campaigning and vetting to go before next November. Silver also noted that according to his models, Obama is a shoo-in for a second term should we shave a point and a half off the unemployment rate in the next 10 months. I'm not sure how likely that is, but it interesting to note. Also in the house, or as Michael Steele would say, the heezy, former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer. It's always bittersweet when Spitzer enters the equation. I was a huge fan of the former Governor's, and it was one of the great political disappointments of my life to witness his downfall. Of course, an Obama defeat this November would probably dwarf the devastation I felt when Spitzer was caught in his web of lies. According to Silver, there's a good chance that this happens. Let's hope he's wrong.

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