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Stat Nerd Better At Predicting Elections Than Predicting The NL East

If you're a seamhead, you know Nate Silver as the Baseball Prospectus geek who has probably forgotten more about algorithms than you and I will ever know. He invented the PECOTA projection system, which predicted Tampa Bay's first 90-win season way back in February when the Devil Rays were still the laughing stock of the AL East. If you're a policy wonk, you may also know him as the geek behind FiveThirtyEight, which has done for political polling what BP has done for your fantasy team—and has been scarily accurate about the results of this year's elections. Shortly before Tuesday's vote, Chief Numba-Cruncher posted his final prediction for the 2008 Presidential Election: Barack Obama would win the election with 52.3% of the popular vote, while John McCain would collect 46.2%. The final vote tally as of this morning? Obama 52.4%. McCain 46.2%. One-hundred-and-twenty million votes were cast and the dude was off by one-tenth of one percent. (He also called 49 of the 50 stats correctly.) Holy. Crap.


Now, he's talking franchise! Silver hopes to expand his secret voodoo magic and apply it to other projects like smaller congressional races, movie box office numbers, and the odds of you getting that blonde girl's phone number tomorrow night. I predict he will soon be rolling in cash and math groupies. Of course, he (i.e., Prospectus) had the World Champion Phillies finishing third in their division this year, so you really never can tell with these things. Election Web Sites Plot to Hold Their Viewers [WSJ, via Gawker] Presidential Fantasy League: An interview with Nate Silver [ESPN] The Popular Vote [FiveThirty Eight] 2008 AL & NL Projections [Baseball Prospectus]

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