A Baseball Nerd Turns to Election Stats

Nate Silver was right on the Rays; he's now calling the presidency
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2008 11:32 AM CDT
The Tampa Bay Rays lost 96 games last year, so plenty of people laughed when Nick Silver predicted 90 wins in 2008. The Rays won 97 games, and are now lead Boston 3-1 in the ALCS.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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(Newser) – Give the sheer number of political polls being produced, and the history of many of them proving wrong, it takes a seriously smart statistician (and something of a nerd) to predict the presidential race with any authority. Nate Silver, the man who "revolutionized the interpretation of baseball stats," is both, and he's doing it again with politics, on his site FiveThirtyEight, New York magazine reports.

One of the only people expecting the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to win 90 games this year (they won 97), Silver has credibility when he says Barack Obama has a good chance of an electoral landslide. How does he do it? By weighting polls based on their methodology and previous accuracy, and tracking demographic trends. Oh yeah, and running 10,000 computer simulations of  the election every day based on those poll projections. A week ago, he had Obama winning those 90% of those simulated elections.
(Read more Election 2008 stories.)