We really got a closer look at Silver's ability to call close races, though, in 2010. Once again, Five Thirty Eight's Wikipedia entry will tell you that Nate Silver correctly called 34 out of the 37 Senate races that year. Technically, yes. But then again, you could have called at least 32 of them. I mean, really. Did we need Nate Silver to predict that Barbara Boxer was going to win in California or that Lincoln was going get thrown out in Arkansas? Come on. There really were only five (maybe actually four) closely contested races for the Senate in 2010: Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Alaska and Washington state (if you can even consider WA and NV close, but let's.) Do you know how many of those races Silver called correctly? Two. That's right. Out of the 5 close Senate races, Nate Silver missed the mark on 3.
That brings me to a conclusion: Nate Silver is in fact often wrong while predicting the results of statewide federal contests, and when he is, he pretty much always errs on the side of a greater Republican advantage than is actually born out by the election results. The case was the same in that one state he got wrong in 2008: he predicted McCain would win Indiana (in reality, Obama won the state) and he underestimated Obama's popular vote edge by a seemingly small one-point margin (Silver's estimate of margin: 6.1 points, actual: 7.2 points), but that's a 17% error.
Originally posted by muse7
Nate Silver used Math and Facts
Originally posted by xedocodex
I'm wondering how many pundits who have been bashing Nate Silver and his methodology is going to own up and apologize or at least admit he was spot on.
To me, it is absolutely amazing how well he called the swing states down to the percentage.
Which may be why the attacks on Mr. Silver have heated up.
The National Review, noting that Mr. Silver said in 2008 that he supported Mr. Obama, ran a piece suggesting he was a mere cheerleader this time around.
Tim Stanley, a British-born historian and biographer of Pat Buchanan, wrote a blog post today for The Telegraph mocking the way Mr. Silver’s model applies different weights to the various polls it aggregates, and also for being as interested in business and sports as he is in politics. “Nate’s success shows that Democrats are panicking. Losing the war of ideas, they’re resorting to bad maths,” he charges.
At the margins, Mr. Silver is even being attacked because of his sexual orientation. (He is gay.)
Last week, a conservative commentator wrote that, “Silver is a man of very small stature, a thin and effeminate man with a soft-sounding voice that sounds almost exactly like the “Mr. New Castrati” voice used by Rush Limbaugh on his program.”
Over the weekend, Mr. Silver responded on Twitter, saying the attack was “pretty awesome,” because its argument boiled down to this: “Nate Silver seems kinda gay + ??? = Romney landslide!”