[QODLink]
Listening Post

Predicting the next president

During the 2012 US election, statistician Nate Silver cut through the barrage of polls and forecast Barack Obama's win.

Last Modified: 13 May 2013 14:43
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

The US presidential election was one of the biggest stories of 2012, and when it came to predictions, there was only one winner, statistician Nate Silver.

Throughout last year, American voters were blitzed by political ads, targeted by countless robo-calls by the campaigns and hit with a barrage of polls: national polls, state-by-state polls, approval rating polls, polls of every possible description.

Then the campaigns and journalists argued over what those polls meant, which ones were accurate and which ones were not.

But most everyone seemed to agree on one thing: the election was a horse race, too close to confidently call. Except Silver. And he was right.

The statistician cut through the ads and polls to do what the mainstream media struggled to do - predict a simple win for President Barack Obama.

And Silver, who runs the numbers blog Five Thirty Eight, did not just predict the win – he accurately predicted the result in all 50 states.

Silver's blog, named after the number of voters in the Electoral College, was one of the biggest draws in the run up to voting day. The blog is hosted on New York Times' website and by the end of the year, the paper said his analysis had been one of the top five drivers of web traffic to the site.

Five Thirty Eight was a mini-revolution in the world of political reporting and analysis.

In a digital, hyper-connected world with 24-hour streams of news and information, Silver says his secret is to zero in on the information that actually matters - separating the signal from the noise.

This week, the Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi sat down for an extended interview with Nate Silver to talk about the horserace that wasn’t.

 
Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

Click here for more Listening Post.

370

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.
join our mailing list