Nate Silver是政治圈裡的超級新星——（政治圈裡少有的）言之有物的人。長久以來，美國的政治評論界重要的標準是擁有（合適的）髮型，（潔白的）牙齒或者符合右派（保守派）的觀點。 Silver完全不符合這些前提條件，他有的只是數據，許許多多的數據， 然而這些數據在總統大選之夜被證實了是政治評論裡最重要的環節。投票前，本次總統選舉一直被認為因為選情太接近而無法預計哪方會獲勝，許多評論員強調無論是奧巴馬還是羅姆尼都有獲勝的可能。 （人們預計本次選舉）兩位候選人得得票率將是不相上下，只可惜事實並非如此，奧巴馬和羅姆尼完全不是旗鼓相當。然而，這選舉結果正如Nate Silver幾個月來的預測。在投票當天，他預測奧巴馬將有90.9%的獲得大多數選舉人票，如果按州計算，他準確預測了所有州的選舉結果。
“你們知道誰是今晚（選舉開票夜）的贏家嗎？”MSNBC新聞主播自問自答，“是Nate Silver。”Twitter和博客界都熱鬧翻了。 Nate Silver的處女作品《信號與雜音：預測學的藝術與科學》的銷售量一夜之間增長了八倍並排到了暢銷榜的第二位。媒體一致認為本次大選預測的成功並不僅是Nate Silver個人的勝利，還使所有書呆子們揚眉吐氣了。 Nate憑著他的數學模型單槍匹馬得打敗了一整個政治階級——時政記者，政黨媒體顧問，僱傭文人以及政治評論員。Nate Silver一點也不像炙手可熱的電視新星或華盛頓郵報說的言論界新寵，今年三十四歲的他反倒更像是超人變身前的形象——謙遜而不招搖。當他低著頭拖著步子走近屋裡，他的神情彷彿是對自己被採訪而感到尷尬。可憐的Nate, 人們對他寄以厚望。 “一切像瘋了一樣”，他推了推眼鏡架說，而然他並不認為（人們的狂熱）與他關聯重大，“我彷佛成了這（數據學）象徵性力量的代表，然而人們對我所做事情的推崇遠超了我所應得的。我必須首先說明大家應該要兼聽則明，而不是把某個人的意見當成神諭。”然而，這忠告似乎來的有點晚了。大選的第二天當他出現在Joh Stewart主持的每日秀節目時，Jon Stewart把他奉為“算法之神”。如果換了別的場合，如果Nate Silver的性格更自大一些，這些讚譽也許會顯得太過了。但他的成功故事同時也是個哀兵必勝的故事。選舉前的數週，他的批評者們（大多數是不滿他預測奧巴馬將獲勝的保守派們）對他的預測方法和人身對進行了攻擊。 UnSkewedPolls.com的Dean Chambers召集人們抵制Nate Silver的“巫術數據“，宣稱他神誌不清並嘲諷他是個聲音陰柔身高有限瘦弱的娘娘娘腔。這些批判裡充斥的不僅是反同性戀的歧視（Silver本人是同性戀），還有保守派所特有的對科學理性主意的反感。 （Gawker把這些對Silver的攻擊比作學校裡的體育健將打翻一個孩子手中的數學書並喊“數學不錯，娘娘腔。”不過從某些角度來說，人們的奉承似乎更難以應付。 “這（奉承）的確使我感到緊張，因為我確定我們將會出錯的。”這裡的“我們”還包括了他在2007年設立的提供以數據為主的時政分析博客五百三十八（因538張選舉人票總數得名）。 2010年，他把博客轉移到了美國新聞的聖殿《紐約時報》的網站上。這使得他更加像Clark Kent（超人未變身前的身份）了。我們的採訪是在擁有無敵天際線視角的超級豪華炫目的《紐約時報》曼哈頓辦公樓裡進行，而Sliver界面簡陋的博客確在在選舉前的為時報網站帶來了兩成的瀏覽量——也許（擁有超人系列漫畫版權的）DC Comics公司上個月決定超人（在漫畫出版七十多年後）將離職《每日星球》報社而另創博客並不僅僅是個巧合。如果說Silver不是海量數據超人，那麼他至少確信無疑的是個超級極客，極客界的偶像級人物。他一人證明了大多數時政評論對於尋求真相其就有效性而言與嚴刑逼供無疑。Silver一直是數據的愛好者。 “我一直都有點呆。”成長在密歇根州的東蘭欣市，他家鄉的棒球隊底特律猛虎在他六歲的時候贏得了美國職業棒球全國錦標賽的冠軍，而他也是在那個時候接觸了各種統計數據並愛上了數據。從芝加哥大學獲得經濟學學位後，他在畢馬威當了四年顧問，接著，他開始迷上了網絡撲克。那時候許多人玩網絡撲克的人對撲克並沒有很多了解，而他卻能從他們手中贏得的錢足夠讓他辭掉工作靠玩撲克養活自己。撲克就像Silver生命中的指南針，不僅教會了他什麼事機遇並使得他明白機遇在人生中扮演怎樣的角色。 “玩撲克於我而言是最好的訓練，我從中學會了怎樣衡量新信息的作用，怎樣辨別信息的重要性。我們的直覺在分析信息方面並不是十分在行，我們總是傾向於過度估計新信息的重要性。”“技巧和運氣間存在著微妙而又模糊的關聯。贏錢的時候是因為牌技好還是運氣好？你永遠也不知道。”Silver估算他自己當時從網絡博彩中贏了有大概四十萬美元，這些錢足夠他去追求他的另一項愛好——棒球。棒球這項體育運動正在不斷地改變中，而Silver是少數最早發現這項運動的潛在的數據導向的可能性的人。他設立的以建模分析預測MLB棒球運動員職業前景的Pecota網站，後來他又把這網站賣給了Baseball Prospectus。棒球預測就像一場保守的童子軍與善於分析數據的新來者之間的鬥爭，這場鬥爭後來被Michael Lewis以暢銷書《Moneyball》的形式記錄了下來，其後Brad Pitt主演了同名電影。 2007年左右，Silver開始尋找新的契機。“我當時在尋找像棒球分析那樣的，有龐大的數據庫而且鮮有競爭者的新領域，就在那個時候我找到了政治分析這個領域。”起初，他決意隱姓埋名使用Poblano這個筆名。幾個月後，他對外公開了他的身份。Silver覺得自己當時將以有的數據套用貝葉斯理論用以分析使得他（在和其他政治分析人士相比時）“小有優勢”。美國政治原本就充斥著許多數據，而他所使用的貝葉斯理論（正如他的批評者迅速指出的那樣）也不是什麼尖端科技。英國神父貝葉斯於十八世紀初發現了計算有條件的事件發生可能性的貝葉斯理論。Silver十分同意他批評者的觀點——他甚至不是唯一一個使用貝葉斯理論分析選情的人，而且他們的預測也有不錯的準確度。就其屬性來說，政治分析不過是平平無奇的數據分析，Silver不過是綜合已有的民調結果。然而，Silver建模分析的關鍵確是在於如何衡量某一數據的重要性。這些數據在歷史上有何作用，又怎樣的偏向性，還有什麼別的信息可以藉鑑？Silver的選情分析在極度精妙的美國政治評論圈卻是前所未有的準確，即使算上英國的政治評論圈也一樣是極其罕見。英國這的政治評論圈裡沒有美國那樣豐富的民調數據，選舉預測也許也不那麼準確，但這並沒有阻止《每日電訊報》的Janet Daley湊美國大選的預測的熱鬧。投票當天，她預測羅姆尼將獲勝，而她的理由是奧巴馬的競選活動感覺不太像贏家。其他的政治評論員則有預感羅姆尼有微弱的優勢。 Silver認為和這些競爭者相比，要稍微做得不那麼平庸並不算太難。“數據並不完美，但於我而言，選擇在於數據的不完美或者糊話連篇。人們總說'你沒法給感覺賦值'，但除此外又有怎樣的選擇呢？坐在喬治敦的雞尾酒晚會上吹噓我比托萊多，俄亥俄參加了民意調查的選民更清楚他們最後將怎樣投票？？這種做法實在是非常自以為是。事實勝於雄辯。如果他們僥倖猜對了，那將另當別論，但事實上他們錯了，他們一直錯的挺離譜的。”Silver沒有出現在喬治敦的酒會上，他也不見說客，黨派媒體顧問，競選經理及新聞發言人之類的人。簡而言之，他不是體制中人。美英兩國的政治報導就像一個類似壟斷集團的系統。在英國，政治圈裡瀰漫的這種狼狽為奸的氛圍是在議員報銷醜聞後才受到質疑，而這醜聞則是政治圈外的記者最早曝光的。在美國，政治氛圍則是如Silver所說的“交易般的”。
“如果你（在體制中）表現良好，偶爾你會得到獨家消息，但這不過是許多既得利益間的遊戲。我盡量迴避和兩邊的競選團隊打交道，因為他們所給的信息很多都是（無效的）雜音。”有趣的是競選團隊本身也清楚數據的重要性，尤其是奧巴馬的團隊，他們請了位“首席科學家”。據奧巴馬團隊的競選經理JimMessina介紹，他們的目標是“量化一切”，數據告知他們應當關注那些選民及如何吸引他們。由此看來，Silver所擅長的（數據分析）對於競選活動而言不僅是實質意義而且是至關緊要的。當所支持的候選人獲勝的時候，自由媒體也許並沒在意（數據分析的作用），但下次大選來臨的時候他們會意識到的。因為這是相當於軍事級別的傾向式報導，像無人戰鬥機投擲砲彈一樣精確到個人，整個政治圈只能坐以待斃。《極客宣言》的英國作者Mark Henderson在他的博客中寫到Silver蒸蒸日上的聲望是對許多媒體的反科學傾向的狠狠回擊。舉個例子，“在過去的兩年中，Melanie Phillips（記者，保守派作家）上Qustion Time（BBC的旗艦時政節目）的次數比所有科學家的次數加起來還要多。”Silver的背景和（他分析時所採用的）方法論使他從所謂的因經常上時政節目而為觀眾所認識“500名人黨”中脫穎而出。 Silver相信最糟糕的“群體思考”來自Twitter對一小群人自我引用的意見的放大及扭曲。他以總統候選人辯論為例，“'常規看法'在總統辯論過程迅速被確定。第一場大選辯論的時候我不過是晚了15分鐘，當我到家的時候，該場辯論的結果已經被決定了。”事實上，Silver口中的“呆”才是他的神奇之處。 “我總覺得自己是個局外人，我身邊總有朋友，可是我總是有不合群的觀點。我覺得這點很重要。如果你從小就是同性戀，又或者你成長在一個相信不可知論且多數成員篤信宗教的家庭，那麼從最開始的時候你就已經是等於在說你不相信社會的主流信念。”到底是同性戀者還是極客的身份讓你覺得自己是個不合群的人？ “可能還是從六歲那年開始對數據的熱情使我開始有這種感覺。”Silver開始擔心許多東西：他的聲望意味著往後的選舉預測將不僅僅是預測，還將影響選情。此外，他還將失去他旁觀者清的優勢。 “（名聲）使我獲得各種機遇，大過年我不希望自己被（體制）侵蝕或者淹沒在體制內。”他正在尋找下個成熟的果實——一個擁有許多數據（可供分析）卻沒有太多競爭對手的領域。經濟新聞分析在他看來已經時機成熟，而地方政府選舉則是“難以預測”。幾年前他曾經對紐約的社區進行過分析——你可以通過自己所關注的因素（綠化空間，優質教育資源）結合從市長辦公室獲得的數據得到個性化的居住社區選擇分析。Silver在成功預測了2008年選舉結果後簽下了一份價值七十萬美元的出版合約，他在書的序言裡坦言出版社簽約的原因是希望他能寫出一本“書呆子們出頭日”之類的書。然而在那時，沒有人能預料到他將會有多大的成就。不過，那時候就連Silver也不知道這本書會怎樣進展。“我當時認為這本書會像是告訴人們出租車司機怎麼工作和選擇客人或者像是介紹網絡婚介網站怎樣運作之類的。這本書裡的確也有這些成分，但是更多的是介紹這當中的哲學原理。這本書是關於客觀性和現實的主觀性的交匯。當我們面對眾多數據的時候，多數情況下我們處理得很糟糕。擁有更多的信息並不意味著我們能更好地預測。”在這本書中，Silver評價了我們事實上非常擅長預測的事物（天氣），我們特別不擅長預測的事物（股票價格），以及我們可以預測但卻忽視了的事物（恐怖襲擊）。早些時候，在和Silver見面前，我見了《黑天鵝》的作者Nassim Nicholas Taleb。出版於2007年的《黑天鵝》聲稱我們現有的世界已經復雜得超出了我們的理解能力，經濟危機的發生不過是時間的問題。我問他對Nate Silver有何看法。 “他是真正的天才，他所做的事情絕對是有價值的。”當我告訴Silver（Nassim對他的讚賞）的時候他感到很高興。我不知道是《黑天鵝》中的比喻或者是站在《紐約時報》大樓令人眩暈的落地窗前的原因，當晚，在我讀到Silver書中關於恐怖主義的章節時，我感到有些詭異。他在911之前就預料到恐怖襲擊的發生，通過雙對數標度分析，他認為造成（如911般）重大傷亡的暴行事實上並不是無法想像的，而且這類事情極可能發生在我們所處的時代，這並不罕見。此外，從數學的角度說，還將有一場可能造成成千上萬傷亡的襲擊發生。我希望這不是Silver的黑天鵝瞬間而只是我在庸人自擾——用偏向性的數據得到偏向性的結論。 Silver使我們認識到人類的判斷是不可靠的。華爾街的交易員們都是投機者，政治評論家們通常毫無頭緒，經濟預測則都是虛構之物。但從另一方面來說，我們發現預測選舉其實相當容易，你只需要是幸運或者很在行。或者像Nate那樣即幸運又在行
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Silver at South by Southwest, 2009
|Born||Nathaniel Read Silver
January 13, 1978 
East Lansing, Michigan
|Residence||Brooklyn, New York City|
|Education||A.B., Economics (2000)|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago
London School of Economics
|Known for||PECOTA, FiveThirtyEight.com|
In 2007, writing under the pseudonym "Poblano", Silver began to publish analyses and predictions related to the 2008 United States presidential election. At first this work appeared on the political blog Daily Kos, but in March 2008 Silver established his own website, FiveThirtyEight.com. By summer of that year, after he revealed his identity to his readers, he began to appear as an electoral and political analyst in national print, online, and cable news media.
The accuracy of his November 2008 presidential election predictions — he correctly predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states — won Silver further attention and commendation. The only state he missed was Indiana, which went for Barack Obama by one percentage point. He correctly predicted the winner of all 35 U.S. Senate races that year.
In April 2009, he was named one of The World's 100 Most Influential People by Time.
In 2010, Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog was licensed for publication by The New York Times. The newly renamed blog, FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus, first appeared in The Times on August 25, 2010. In 2012, FiveThirtyEight won a Webby Award as the "Best Political Blog" from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
Silver's book, The Signal and the Noise, was published in September 2012. It subsequently reached The New York Times best seller list for nonfiction, and was named by Amazon.com as the #1 best book of 2012.
In 2012, Silver was one of the most successful major forecasters of the presidential election. In the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, he correctly predicted the winner of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Silver's predictions of U.S. Senate races in 2012 were correct in 31 of 33 states; he predicted Republican victory in North Dakota and Montana, where Democrats won.
Early lifeSilver was born in East Lansing, Michigan, the son of Sally (née Thrun), a community activist, and Brian David Silver, a former chair of the political science department at Michigan State University. His maternal great-grandfather, Harmon Lewis, was president of the Alcoa Steamship Company, Inc. Silver has described himself as "half Jewish" (on his father's side).
Silver showed an interest and proficiency in math from a young age. According to journalist William Hageman, "Silver caught the baseball bug when he was 6.... It was 1984, the year the Detroit Tigers won the World Series. The Tigers became his team and baseball his sport. And if there's anything that goes hand in glove with baseball, it's numbers, another of Silver's childhood interests ("It's always more interesting to apply it to batting averages than algebra class").
As a student at East Lansing High School, in 1996 Silver won first place in the State of Michigan in the 49th annual John S. Knight Scholarship Contest for senior high school debaters.
Silver first demonstrated his journalism skills as a writer and opinion page editor for The Portrait, East Lansing High School's student newspaper, from 1993–1996.
In 2000, Silver graduated with Honors with an A.B. degree in economics from the University of Chicago. He also wrote for the Chicago Weekly News and the Chicago Maroon. He spent his third year at the London School of Economics.
Economic consultant: 2000–2003After college graduation in 2000, Silver worked for three and a half years as an economic consultant with KPMG in Chicago. When asked in 2009, "What is your biggest regret in life?" Silver responded, "Spending four years of my life at a job I didn't like". While employed at KPMG, however, Silver continued to nurture his lifelong interest in baseball and statistics, and on the side he began to work on his PECOTA system for projecting player performance and careers. He quit his job at KPMG in April 2004 and for a time earned his living mainly by playing online poker.
Baseball analyst: 2003–2008In 2003, Silver became a writer for Baseball Prospectus (BP), after having sold PECOTA to BP in return for a partnership interest. After resigning from KPMG in 2004, he took the position of Executive Vice-President, later renamed Managing Partner of BP. In addition to providing executive functions, Silver maintained and further developed PECOTA as well as wrote a weekly feature column under the heading "Lies, Damned Lies". In this column he applied sabermetric techniques to a broad range of topics in baseball research—including, among others, forecasting the performance of individual players, the economics of baseball, metrics for the valuation of players, and developing an Elo rating system for Major League baseball.
Between 2003 and 2009, Silver was a co-author of the Baseball Prospectus (ISBN 0-7611-3995-8) annual book of Major League Baseball analysis and forecasts as well as a co-author of other books published by Baseball Prospectus, including Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning (New York: Workman Publishers, 2005) (ISBN 0-7611-4018-2), Baseball Between the Numbers (New York: Basic Books, 2006) (ISBN 0-465-00596-9), and It Ain't Over 'til It's Over: The Baseball Prospectus Pennant Race Book (New York: Basic Books, 2007) (ISBN 0-465-00284-6).
He was an occasional contributor of articles about baseball to ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated, Slate, the New York Sun and The New York Times.
Silver authored more than 200 articles for Baseball Prospectus. He used a wide variety of research methods and statistical tools in his writings about baseball. The best known is his forecasting system, PECOTA, which remains a signature product of Baseball Prospectus.
PECOTAPECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) is a statistical system that projects the future performance of hitters and pitchers. It is designed primarily for two uses: fans interested in fantasy baseball, and professionals in the baseball business interested in predicting the performance and valuation of major league players. Unlike most other such projection systems, PECOTA relies on matching a given current player to a set of "comparable" players whose past performance can serve as a guide to how the given current player is likely to perform in the future. Unlike most other such systems, PECOTA also calculates a range of probable performance levels rather than a single predicted value on a given measure such as earned run average or batting average.
PECOTA projections were first published by Baseball Prospectus in the 2003 edition of its annual book as well as online by BaseballProspectus.com. The formulae have been updated steadily since then. Silver produced the annual PECOTA forecasts for each Major League Baseball season from 2003 through 2009. Beginning in Spring 2009, Baseball Prospectus took responsibility for future editions and products based on the forecasts.
Political analyst and blogger: 2008–present
Creation and motivationOn November 1, 2007, while still employed by Baseball Prospectus, Silver began publishing a diary under the pseudonym "Poblano" on the progressive political blog Daily Kos. Silver set out to analyze quantitative aspects of the political game in a manner that would enlighten a broader audience. Silver reports that "he was stranded in a New Orleans airport when the idea of FiveThirtyEight.com came to him. 'I was just frustrated with the analysis.... I saw a lot of discussion about strategy that was not all that sophisticated, especially when it came to quantitative things like polls and demographics'". His forecasts of the 2008 United States presidential primary elections drew a lot of attention, including being cited by The New York Times Op-Ed columnist William Kristol.
On March 7, 2008, while still using the pseudonym "Poblano," Silver established his own blog, FiveThirtyEight.com. Sometimes colloquially referred to as 538 dot com or just 538, the website takes its name from the number of electors in the United States electoral college.
In June 2008 Silver began to publish political analysis under his own name, including in his blog, newspapers, and The New Republic. He first appeared on national television on CNN's American Morning on June 13, 2008.
Silver described his own partisan orientation as follows in the FAQ on his website: "My state [Illinois] has non-partisan registration, so I am not registered as anything. I vote for Democratic candidates the majority of the time (though by no means always). This year, I have been a supporter of Barack Obama". With respect to the impartiality of his electoral projections, Silver stated, "Are [my] results biased toward [my] preferred candidates? I hope not, but that is for you to decide. I have tried to disclose as much about my methodology as possible".
Silver described his ideological orientation as one of "rational progressivism":
I regard myself as a rational progressive. I believe in intellectual progress – that we, as a species, are gradually becoming smarter. I believe that there are objectively right answers to many political and economic questions.
I believe that economic growth is both a reflection of and a contributor toward societal progress, that economic growth has facilitated a higher standard of living, and that this is empirically indisputable. I also believe, however, that our society is now so exceptionally wealthy – even in the midst of a severe recession – that it has little excuse not to provide for some basic level of dignity for all its citizens.
I believe that answers to questions like these do not always come from the establishment. But I also believe that it is just as important to question one's own assumptions as to question the assumptions of others.
Activities immediately after the 2008 electionShortly after the November 4 election, ESPN writer Jim Caple observed, "Forget Cole Hamels and the Phillies. No one in baseball had a more impressive fall than Nate Silver.... [R]ight now Silver is exhausted. He barely slept the last couple weeks of the campaign – 'By the end, it was full-time plus' – and for that matter, he says he couldn't have kept it up had the campaign lasted two days longer. Plus, he has his Baseball Prospectus duties. 'We write our [Baseball Prospectus 2009] book from now through the first of the year,' [Silver] said. 'I have a week to relax and then it gets just as busy again. In February 2009 I will just have to find an island in the Caribbean and throw my BlackBerry in the ocean'".
Later in November 2008, Silver signed a contract with Penguin Group USA to write two books, reportedly for a $700,000 advance.
Silver was invited to be a speaker at TED 2009 in February 2009, and keynote speaker at the 2009 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference (March 2009).
While maintaining his FiveThirtyEight.com website, in January 2009 Silver began a monthly feature column, "The Data", in Esquire as well as contributed occasional articles to other media such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He also tried his luck in the 2009 World Series of Poker.
The success of his FiveThirtyEight.com blog marked the effective end of Silver's career as baseball analyst, though he continued to devote some attention to sports statistics and sports economics in his blog. In March 2009, he stepped down as Managing Partner of Baseball Prospectus and announced that he had handed over responsibility for producing future PECOTA projections to other Baseball Prospectus staff members, but that he intended to continue as a writer for BP, including for BP's partner, ESPN.com. In April 2009, he appeared as an analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight. However, after March 2009, he published only two "Lies, Damned Lies" columns on BaseballProspectus.com.
Silver also took on some freelance projects. In November 2009, ESPN introduced a new Soccer Power Index (SPi), designed by Nate Silver, for predicting the outcome of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He published a post-mortem after the tournament, comparing his predictions to those of alternative rating systems.
In April 2010, Silver took an entirely different assignment for New York Magazine, creating a quantitative index of "The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York".
Transition to The New York TimesOn June 3, 2010, Silver announced on FiveThirtyEight.com,
In the near future, the blog will "re-launch" under a NYTimes.com domain. It will retain its own identity (akin to other Times blogs like DealBook), but will be organized under the News:Politics section. Once this occurs, content will no longer be posted at FiveThirtyEight.com on an ongoing basis, and the blog will re-direct to the new URL. In addition, I will be contributing content to the print edition of the New York Times, and to the Sunday Magazine. The partnership agreement, which is structured as a license, has a term of three years.The transition to the new blog FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus sponsored by The New York Times took place on August 25, 2010, with the publication online of Silver's first article, "New Forecast Shows Democrats Losing 6 to 7 Senate Seats". From then until the mid-term elections of 2010 in November, Silver's blog focused almost exclusively on developing forecasts of the outcomes of the 2010 U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives as well as state gubernatorial contests. Silver's Times Sunday Magazine feature first appeared on November 19, 2010, under the heading "Go Figure". It was later titled "Acts of Mild Subversion".
While he continued to make electoral forecasts for the 2010 and 2012 elections as a blogger for The Times, Silver also worked on his book about prediction, which was published in September 2012. At that time, Silver began to drop hints that after 2012 he would turn his attention to matters other than detailed statistical forecasting of elections. As reported in New York magazine: " 'I view my role now as providing more of a macro-level skepticism, rather than saying this poll is good or this poll is evil,' he says. And in four [years], he might be even more macro, as he turns his forecasting talents to other fields. 'I’m 97 percent sure that the FiveThirtyEight model will exist in 2016,' he says, 'but it could be someone else who’s running it or licensing it' ".
In an on-line chat session a week after the 2012 election, however, Silver commented: "As tempting as it might be to pull a Jim Brown/Sandy Koufax and just mic-drop/retire from elections forecasting, I expect that we'll be making forecasts in 2014 and 2016. Midterm elections can be dreadfully boring, unfortunately. But the 2016 G.O.P. primary seems almost certain to be epic". Times executive editor Jill Abramson has also declared her wish to keep Silver and his blog: “We would love to have Nate continue to be part of the New York Times family, and to expand on what he does,” she said. “We know he began in sports anyway, so it is not an exclusively political product. I am excited to talk to Nate when he finishes his book tour about ways to expand that kind of reporting".
FiveThirtyEight's election forecasts
2008 U.S. electionsIn March 2008, still using the pseudonym "Poblano", Silver established his own blog FiveThirtyEight.com, in which he developed a system for tracking polls and forecasting the outcome of the 2008 general election. At the same time, he continued making forecasts of the 2008 Democratic primary elections. That several of his forecasts based on demographic analysis proved to be substantially more accurate than those of the professional pollsters gained visibility and professional credibility for "Poblano".
After the North Carolina and Indiana primaries on May 6 the popularity of FiveThirtyEight.com "really exploded. Silver recalls the scenario: 'I know the polls show it's really tight in NC, but we think Obama is going to win by thirteen, fourteen points, and he did.... Any time you make a prediction like that people give you probably too much credit for it.... But after that [Silver's and the website's popularity] started to really take off. It's pretty nonlinear, once you get one mention in the mainstream media, other people [quickly follow suit]'".
On May 30, 2008, Poblano revealed his identity to FiveThirtyEight.com readers. On June 1, 2008, Silver published a two-page Op-Ed article in the New York Post outlining the rationale underlying his focus on the statistical aspects of politics.
My fulltime occupation has been as a writer and analyst for a sports media company called Baseball Prospectus. In baseball, statistics are meaningless without context; hitting 30 home runs in the 1930s is a lot different than hitting 30 today. There is a whole industry in baseball dedicated to the proper understanding and interpretation of statistics. In polling and politics, there is nearly as much data as there is for first basemen. In this year's Democratic primaries, there were statistics for every gender, race, age, occupation and geography – reasons why Clinton won older women, or Obama took college students. But the understanding has lagged behind. Polls are cherry-picked based on their brand name or shock value rather than their track record of accuracy. Demographic variables are misrepresented or misunderstood. (Barack Obama, for instance, is reputed to have problems with white working-class voters, when in fact these issues appear to be more dictated by geography – he has major problems among these voters in Kentucky and West Virginia, but did just fine with them in Wisconsin and Oregon).As a CNET reporter wrote on election eve, "Even though Silver launched the site as recently as March, its straightforward approach, daring predictions, and short but impressive track record has put it on the map of political sites to follow. The Washington Post featured Silver in its 14th annual election prediction contest this year, and he'll be reporting on Tuesday night's results with Dan Rather on HDNet".
Silver's final 2008 presidential election forecast accurately predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia (missing only the prediction for Indiana). As his model predicted, the races in Missouri and North Carolina were particularly close. He also correctly predicted the winners of every U.S. Senate race. The accuracy of his predictions won him further acclaim, including abroad, and added to his reputation as a leading political prognosticator.
Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign signed off on a proposal to share all of its private polling with Silver. After signing a confidentiality agreement, Silver was granted access to hundreds of polls the campaign had conducted.
2010 U.S. electionsShortly after 538 relocated to The New York Times, Silver introduced his prediction models for the 2010 elections to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and state Governorships. Each of these models relied initially on a combination of electoral history, demographics, and polling. Silver eventually published detailed forecasts and analyses of the results for all three sets of elections. His 2010 congressional mid-term predictions were not as accurate as those made in 2008. Silver predicted a Republican pickup of 52 seats in the House of Repesentatives. The GOP won 63 seats. He incorrectly projected the winners of strongly contested Senate races in Nevada, Alaska, and Colorado.
2012 U.S. electionsAlthough throughout 2011 Silver devoted a lot of attention on his blog to the 2012 Republican party primaries, his first effort to handicap the 2012 Presidential general election appeared as the cover story in The New York Times Magazine a year prior to the election: "Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election". Accompanying the online release of this article, Silver also published "Choose Obama's Re-Election Adventure", an interactive toy that allowed readers to predict the outcome of the election based on their assumptions about three variables: President Obama's favorability ratings, the rate of GDP growth, and how conservative the Republican opponent would be. This analysis stimulated a lot of critical discussion.
While publishing numerous stories on the Republican primary elections, in mid-February 2012 Silver reprised and updated his previous Magazine story with another one, "What Obama Should Do Next". This story painted a more optimistic picture of President Obama's re-election chances. A companion article on his FiveThirtyEight blog, "The Fundamentals Now Favor Obama", explained how the model and the facts on the ground had changed between November and February.
Silver published the first iteration of his 2012 general election forecasts on June 7, 2012. According to the model, at that time Barack Obama was projected to win 291 electoral votes – 21 more than the 270 required for a majority. Obama then had an estimated 61.8% chance of winning a majority.
On the morning of the November 6, 2012, presidential election, the final update of Silver's model at 10:10 A.M. gave President Barack Obama a 90.9% chance of winning a majority of the 538 electoral votes. Both in summary tables and in an electoral map, Silver forecast the winner of each state. At the conclusion of that day, when Mitt Romney had conceded to Barack Obama, Silver's model had correctly predicted the winner of every one of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Silver, along with at least three academic-based analysts – Drew Linzer, Simon Jackman, and Josh Putnam – who also aggregated polls from multiple pollsters, thus was not only broadly correct about the election outcome, but also specifically predicted the outcomes for the 9 swing states. In contrast, individual pollsters were less successful. For example, Rasmussen Reports "missed on six of its nine swing-state polls".
- Nate Silver. The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail – But Some Don't. New York: Penguin, 2012. ISBN-13 978-1-59-420411-1.
- The Signal and The Noise reached the New York Times Best Sellers list as #12 for non-fiction hardback books and #8 for non-fiction electronic books after its first week in print. It dropped to #20 (hardback) and #25 (electronic) in the second week, before rising to #13 (hardback) and #21 (electronic) in the third, and remaining on the hardback and electronic top 15 lists the next five weeks, reaching its highest ranking yet at #4 (hardback) at the end of this period. The book's already strong sales soared right after election night, November 6th, jumping 800% and becoming the second best seller on Amazon.com.
- On November 12th, The Signal and the Noise (print edition) was named Amazon's #1 Best Book of the Year for 2012.
Silver rejects much ideology taught with statistical method in colleges and universities today, specifically the 'frequentist" approach of Ronald Fisher, originator of many classical statistical tests and methods. The problem Silver finds is a belief in perfect experimental, survey, or other designs, when data often comes from a variety of sources and idealized modeling assumptions rarely hold true. Often such models reduce complex questions to overly simple "hypothesis tests" using arbitrary "significance levels" to "accept or reject" a single parameter value. In contrast, the practical statistician first needs a sound understanding of how baseball, poker, elections or other uncertain processes work, what measures are reliable and which not, what scales of aggregation are useful, and then to utilize the statistical tool kit as well as possible. Silver believes in the need for extensive data sets, preferably collected over long periods of time, from which one can then use statistical techniques to incrementally change probabilities up or down relative to prior data. This "Bayesian" approach is named for the 18th century minister Thomas Bayes who discovered a simple formula for updating probabilities using new data. For Silver, the well-known method needs revitalizing as a broader paradigm for thinking about uncertainty, founded on learning and understanding gained incrementally, rather than through any single set of observations or an ideal model summarized by just a few key parameters. Part of that learning is the informal process of changing assumptions or the modeling approach, in the spirit of a craft whose goal is to devise the best betting odds on well-defined future events and their outcomes.
MediaSilver's self-unmasking at the end of May 2008 brought him a lot of publicity focused on his combined skill as both baseball statistician-forecaster and political statistician-forecaster, including articles about him in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Science News, and his hometown Lansing State Journal.
In early June he began to cross-post his daily "Today's Polls" updates on "The Plank" in The New Republic. Also, Rasmussen Reports began to use the FiveThirtyEight.com poll averages for its own tracking of the 2008 state-by-state races.
He appeared on CNN's American Morning and D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Hardball with Chris Matthews, CNBC's Fast Money, Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, HDNet's Dan Rather Reports, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!, PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The Charlie Rose Show, and The Rachel Maddow Shows on both Air America Radio and MSNBC, as well as to contribute essays and op ed columns to The New Republic, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsweek.
Throughout 2009 through 2012, Silver appeared a political analyst on national television, most frequently on MSNBC but also on CNN as well as Bloomberg Television, PBS, NPR, Democracy Now!, The Charlie Rose Show, ABC News, and Current TV.
Silver also appeared on the The Colbert Report (October 7, 2008 and November 5, 2012), The Daily Show (October 17, 2012 and November 7, 2012), and Real Time with Bill Maher (October 26, 2012). His forecasts and book were featured on CBS News Sunday Morning (November 4, 2012).
That Silver accurately predicted the outcome of the 2012 presidential race, in the face of numerous public attacks on his forecasts by critics, inspired many articles in the press, ranging from Gizmodo, to online and mainstream newspapers, news and commentary magazines, business media, trade journals, media about media, and Scientific American, as well as a feature interview on The Today Show, a return appearance on The Daily Show, and an appearance on Morning Joe.
Recognition and awards
- In September 2008, FiveThirtyEight became the first blog ever selected as a Notable Narrative by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
- November 2008: Crain's Chicago Business profiled Silver as one of Chicago's "40 under 40" notable young entrepreneurs.
- November 9, 2008: the New York Times called Silver "perhaps the most unlikely media star to emerge" out of "an election season of unlikely outcomes" and described FiveThirtyEight with its almost five million page views on Election Day as "one of the breakout online stars of the year".
- December 2008: Newsweek.com identified Silver's November 3, 2008 article "What to Watch For – An hour-by-hour guide to election night" as the 4th most viewed story on Newsweek.com in 2008.
- December 2008: named by The Daily Beast as one of the "Breakout Stars of 2008".
- February 2009: named by James Wolcott in Vanity Fair as one of the "Winners of 2008": "No shiny arrow shot swifter and loftier from obscurity to quotable authority than Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight.com site became the expert sensation of the election season....
- January 2009: Silver was named by Forbes.com to its third annual "Web Celeb 25", which "track[s] the biggest and brightest stars on the Web, the people who have turned their passions into new-media empires. From stay-at-home moms to geek entrepreneurs, these are the people capturing eyes, influencing opinion and creating the new digital world".
- April 2009: Silver was named as one of the "Rolling Stone 100: Agents of Change".
- April 27, 2009: named "Blogger of the Year" by The Week in its 6th annual Opinion Awards.
- April 30, 2009: Silver was named one of "The World's 100 Most Influential People" by TIME Magazine.
- December 2009: Silver was recognized by The New York Times Magazine in its "Ninth Annual Year in Ideas" article for his "Forensic Polling Analysis" of the possible falsification of data by a polling firm.
- 2009: named "Speaker of the Year" by the intercollegiate Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA).
- November 2010: John F. Harris, Editor-in-Chief of Politico writing in Forbes Magazine listed Nate Silver as one of seven bloggers among "The Most Powerful People on Earth".
- In December 2010: Out magazine included Silver on its list of the top 100 LGBT people of the year.
- May 2011: Presented the Henry Pringle Lecture at the Columbia Journalism School.
- March 2012: Crain's New York Business featured Silver as one of New York City's "Forty Under Forty" notable young entrepreneurs.
- May 2012: FiveThirtyEight won a Webby Award for "Best Political Blog" from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in the 16th annual Webby Awards.
CriticismSilver has been criticized for inaccurate predictions. In January 2010, journalist and blogger Colby Cosh criticized Silver's performance during the Massachusetts special Senate election, saying he was "still arguing as late as Thursday afternoon that Coakley was the clear favourite; he changed his mind at midnight that evening and acknowledged that Scott Brown had a puncher’s chance." (Brown won the election.)
Silver's quantitative focus on polling data, without insight from experience in political organizing or journalism, has been a recurring critique from experienced commentators. Huffington Post columnist Geoffrey Dunn described Silver as someone who "has never organized a precinct in his life, much less walked one, pontificating about the dynamics in the electoral processes as if he actually understood them."
Considerable criticism during the 2012 elections came from political conservatives, who argued that Silver's election projections were politically biased against Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for President. For example, Silver was accused of applying a double standard to his treatment of Rasmussen Reports polls, such as a 2010 analysis asserting a statistical bias in its methodology. Mendy Finkel of Daily Caller wrote that "Silver rigged his entire pollster ratings for the sole purpose of lowering Rasmussen's rank." Josh Jordan wrote in National Review that Silver clearly favored Obama and adjusted the weight he gave polls "based on what [he] think[s] of the pollster and the results and not based on what is actually inside the poll". Silver was vindicated by the actual results of the 2012 election, which was poorly polled by Rasmussen.
Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" stated that Silver's prediction that day of a 73.6% chance of a win for Obama greatly exceeded the confidence of the Obama campaign itself, which Scarborough equated to that of the Romney campaign, both believing "they have a 50.1 percent chance of winning", and calling Silver an "ideologue" and a "joke". Silver responded with the offer of a $1,000 wager (for charity) over the outcome of the election. The New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, while defending Silver's analysis, characterized the wager as "a bad idea" as it gave the appearance of a partisan motive for Silver, and "inappropriate" for someone perceived as a Times journalist (although Silver is not a member of the newspaper's staff).
After a post-election appearance by Silver on Joe Scarborough's Morning Joe, Scarborough published what he called a "(semi) apology," in which he concluded:
I won’t apologize to Mr. Silver for predicting an outcome that I had also been predicting for a year. But I do need to tell Nate I’m sorry for leaning in too hard and lumping him with pollsters whose methodology is as rigorous as the Simpsons’ strip mall physician, Dr. Nick. For those sins (and a multitude of others that I’m sure I don’t even know about), I am sorry.
Politics is a messy sport. And just as ball players who drink beer and eat fried chicken in dugouts across America can screw up the smartest sabermatrician’s forecast, Nate Silver’s formula is sure to let his fervent admirers down from time to time. But judging from what I saw of him this morning, Nate is a grounded guy who admits as much in his book. I was too tough on him and there’s a 84.398264% chance I will be less dismissive of his good work in the future".Silver's nondisclosure of the details of his analytical model has resulted in some skepticism. Washington Post journalist Ezra Klein wrote: "There are good criticisms to make of Silver's model, not the least of which is that, while Silver is almost tediously detailed about what's going on in the model, he won’t give out the code, and without the code, we can't say with certainty how the model works." Colby Cosh wrote that the model "is proprietary and irreproducible. That last feature makes it unwise to use Silver's model as a straw stand-in for "science", as if the model had been fully specified in a peer-reviewed journal".
Reviewing Silver's book The Signal and the Noise, climate scientist Michael E. Mann criticized him for seemingly analyzing the "hard science" physical phenomena of climate trends with the same approach as used to analyze the social phenomena of voter preferences, which he characterized as "laden with subjective and untestable assumptions".
Personal lifeSilver is a grandnephew of geologist Leon Silver.
Silver is openly gay. "I've always felt like something of an outsider. I've always had friends, but I've always come from an outside point of view. I think that's important. If you grow up gay, or in a household that's agnostic, when most people are religious, then from the get-go, you are saying that there are things that the majority of society believes that I don't believe," he told an interviewer in 2012. "When asked what made you feel more of a misfit, being gay or being a geek, he replied, 'Probably the numbers stuff since I had that from when I was six.'" When asked in 2008 if he had noticed people looking at him as a "gay icon," he responded, "I've started to notice it a little bit, although so far it seems like I'm more a subject of geek affection than gay affection". When Dean Chambers of Unskewedpolls.com described him as "a man of very small stature" and "a thin and effeminate man with a soft-sounding voice", and thus untrustworthy, Silver ridiculed the remarks in a tweet: "Unskewedpolls argument: Nate Silver seems kinda gay + ??? = Romney landslide!"
After residing in Chicago, Illinois, for twelve years, Silver moved to New York City in 2009.
Silver has long been interested in fantasy baseball, especially Scoresheet Baseball. While in college he served as an expert on Scoresheet Baseball for BaseballHQ. When he took up political writing, Silver abandoned his blog, The Burrito Bracket, in which he ran a one-and-done competition among the taquerias in his Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago.
Silver plays poker semi-professionally.
- "Nate Silver tweet". Twitter.com. August 13, 2010. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- Alan Schwarz, "Numbers Suggest Mets Are Gambling on Zambrano", The New York Times, August 22, 2004; Alan Schwarz, "Predicting Futures in Baseball, and the Downside of Damon", The New York Times, November 13, 2005; Childs Walker, "Baseball Prospectus Makes Predicting Future Thing of Past," Baltimore Sun, February 21, 2006; Rich Lederer, "An Unfiltered Interview with Nate Silver", Baseball Analysts, February 12, 2007; Tim Murphy, "Timeout with Nate Silver: BP's VP illuminates the sport's fuzzy numbers", Chicago Maroon, May 11, 2007; Steven D. Levitt, "Freakonomics: More on Roger Clemens", The New York Times, February 18, 2008; and Michael Miner, "The Algorithm Method: Hot Type's coveted Golden BAT award goes to a computer program", Chicago Reader, March 27, 2008.
- Nate Silver and Kevin Goldstein, "State of the Prospectus: Spring 2009," BaseballProspectus.com, March 24, 2009.
- Stein, Joel. "The World's Most Influential People – The 2009 TIME 100". TIME. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- Nate Silver, "FiveThirtyEight to Partner with New York Times," FiveThirtyEight.com, June 3, 2010.
- Brian Stelter, "Times to Host Blog on Politics and Polls," The New York Times, June 3, 2010.
- Silver, Nate. "FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus". Fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- Amazon #1 of 2012
- "2012 Presidential prediction rankings". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Hough, Andrew (November 7, 2012). "Nate Silver: politics 'geek' hailed for Barack Obama wins US election forecast". The Telegragh. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- "Wallbank, ''Lansing State Journal''". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't - Nate Silver - Google Books
- Answer This: Nate Silver - Patrick Gavin - POLITICO.com
- Stephanie Clifford, "Finding Fame With a Prescient Call for Obama," The New York Times, November 9, 2008.
- William Hageman, "Baseball by the Numbers," Chicago Tribune (January 4, 2006).
- "East Lansing Debater Wins Scholarship," Detroit Free Press (February 29, 1996). Also see Patricia Montemurri, "Michigan native Nate Silver shows election predictions aren't magic but math," Detroit Free Press, November 11, 2012.
- Link to 1996 high school yearbook photo with brief resume showing status as writer for The Portrait for three years and editor for two years. [retrieved November 8, 2012]
- Nate Silver, "Random, Pretentious Observations from Europe," FiveThirtyEight.com, May 25, 2009.
- Stephen J. Dubner, "FREAK-Quently Asked Questions: Nate Silver," The New York Times, March 12, 2009.
- Rob Kaiser, "Players Place Bets on Poker as Career," Chicago Tribune, October 3, 2004. According to Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff, over a three-year period Silver earned $400,000 from online poker. See Alexander Wolff, "Scorecard: He's So Predictable," Sports Illustrated, September 17, 2012, p. 15.
- Nate Silver, "We are Elo?," BaseballProspectus.com (June 28, 2006) and Nate Silver, "More on Elo," BaseballProspectus.com (July 5, 2006).
- Nate Silver, "For Griffey, the Roads Not Taken," The New York Times, May 11, 2008.
- See Nate Silver's Baseball Prospectus article archive (2003–2009)
- The first diary was titled, "HRC [Hillary Roddam Clinton] Electability in Purple States, DailyKos, November 1, 2007.
- Hannah Hayes, "What Will Nate Silver Do Next?," University of Chicago (webpage feature story), January, 2009.
- William Kristol, "Obama's Path to Victory", The New York Times, February 11, 2008.
- Silver, Nate (August 7, 2008). "Frequently Asked Questions". FiveThirtyEight.com. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
- Nate Silver, "CNN Video," FiveThirtyEight.com, June 13, 2008.
- Nate Silver, "Frequently Asked Questions, Last Revised 8/7/08," FiveThirtyEight.com.
- Nate Silver, "The Two Progressivisms", FiveThirtyEight.com, February 15, 2009.
- Jim Caple, "In baseball, and in politics, the numbers don't lie," "Page 2", ESPN.com, November 7, 2008.
- Leon Neyfakh, "Nate Silver Signs With Penguin In Two Book Deal Worth About $700,000," New York Observer, November 14, 2008.
- See TED2009 program and Shanna Carpenter, "Race and the City: An Exclusive Interview with Nate Silver," TED Blog, April 29, 2009.
- Daniel Terdiman, "FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver on life post-election," CNET.com, March 15, 2009 and Dan Fost, "SXSW: Statistics guru Nate Silver talks Oscars, Manny Ramirez and President Obama," Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2009. See Video of SXSW Keynote Interview, part 1 and part 2.
- Silver, Nate. "The Data". Esquire. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- Nate Silver and Andrew Gelman, "No Country for Close Calls," The New York Times, April 18, 2009.
- Nate Silver, "Crunching the Risk Numbers," Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2010.
- Nate Silver, "This Post Brought to You By Poker," FiveThirtyEight.com, July 2, 2009.
- ESPN's SPi.
- Nate Silver, "The Purpose of the Soccer Power Index," ESPN.com, November 11, 2009 and Nate Silver, "A Guide to ESPN's SPI Ratings," ESPN.com, November 11, 2009. For a comment see Carl Bialik, "ESPN's New Soccer Rankings," Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2009.
- Nate Silver, "SPI in review: How did it do?," ESPN.com, July 19, 2010 [Retrieved July 21, 2010].
- Nate Silver, "The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York: a quantitative index of the 50 most satisfying places to live," New York Magazine, April 11, 2010.
- For more information about the working agreement between The Times and Nate Silver's blog, see Mallory Jean Tenore, "FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver adjusts to New York Times, 6 months after joining the newsroom," Poynter, June 3, 2011, and Margaret Sullivan, "On Identifying a Rape Victim, Naming a Prophet, and Nate Silver’s Role," The New York Times, September 21, 2012.
- Nate Silver, "New Forecast Shows Democrats Losing 6 to 7 Senate Seats," FiveThirtyEight/NYT, August 25, 2010.
- Nate Silver, "Go Figure: Who's No. 1?" NY Times Magazine, November 19, 2010.
- For example, Nate Silver, "How to Beat the Salad Bar," The New York Times, March 17, 2011.
- Jason Zengerle, "The. Polls. Have. Stopped. Making. Any. Sense.", New York, September 30. 2012.
- The colloquial term "mic drop" has been defined as: "When a performer or speaker intentionally drops/throws the microphone on the floor after an awesome performance". See Urban Dictionary. [retrieved November 20, 2012]
- "Skew Yourselves: Nate Silver Is Here To Answer Your Questions," Deadspin, November 14, 2012.
- Alex Weprin, The New York Times Wants To Keep Nate Silver, ‘Expand On What He Does’", Mediabistro, November 27, 2012. Also see Connor Simpson, "What the Future Holds for Nate Silver at The New York Times," Atlantic Wire, November 27, 2012.
- See, most notably, Mark Blumenthal, "The Poblano Model," National Journal, May 8, 2008.
- Sean Redmond, "Numerical Order: Famed Statistician Nate Silver Discusses the Future of His Near-Flawless Forecasts," Chicago Weekly, January 9, 2009. On this point see also Silver's discussion in Megan Garber, "Talking Shop: Nate Silver," Columbia Journalism Review, November 11, 2008.
- Nate Silver, "No I'm Not Chuck Todd," FiveThirtyEight.com, May 30, 2008.
- Nate Silver, "Margins of Error," New York Post, June 1, 2008.
- Stephanie Condon, "Q & A: The Formula Behind FiveThirtyEight," CNET News, November 3, 2008.
- Editorial, "In Praise of ... Nate Silver," The Guardian, November 6, 2008.
- Stephanie Clifford, "Finding Fame With a Prescient Call for Obama," The New York Times, November 10, 2008.
- Issenberg, Sasha. The Victory Lab. Crown Publishing Group. p. 290. ISBN 030795479X.
- "Obama Campaign Shared '08 Polling With Silver" BuzzFeed, September 5, 2012
- Micah Cohen, "38 Days Later," The New York Times, December 10, 2010
- Nate Silver, "Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election," The New York Times Magazine, November 6, 2011.
- Nate Silver, "Choose Obama's Re-Election Adventure," The New York Times, November 3, 2011.
- For a partial bibliography, see Micah Cohen, "Reads and Reactions," The New York Times, November 19, 2011.
- Nate Silver, "Why Obama Will Embrace the 99 Percent," The New York Times Magazine, February 15, 2012.
- Nate Silver, "The Fundamentals Now Favor Obama," The New York Times, February 15, 2012.
- Nate Silver, "Election Forecast: Obama Begins With Tenuous Advantage," The New York Times, June 7, 2012.
- FiveThirtyEight/NYT blog
- Daniel Terdiman, "Obama's win a big vindication for Nate Silver, king of the quants," CNET, November 6, 2012.
- Although Silver put a "toss-up" tag on the presidential election in Florida, his interactive electoral map on the website painted the state light blue and stated that there was a 50.3% probability that Obama would win a plurality of the state's votes.
- A fourth analyst, Sam Wang, missed only the State of Florida in his final presidential election forecast. See Sam Wang, "Presidential prediction 2012 – final," Princeton Election Connection, November 6, 2012.
- "Emory professor called Electoral landslide in June," Atlanta Journal and Constitution, November 8, 2012.
- Simon Jackman, "Pollster Predictive Performance, 51 out of 51," Huffington Post, November 7, 2012
- Josh Putnam, "The Electoral College Map (11/6/12): Election Day," FHQ (FrontloadingHQ), November 6, 2012.
- Swing states in the 2012 election were Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin
- Jonathan D. Salant and Laura Curtis, "Nate Silver-led Statistics Men Crush Pundits in Election," Bloomberg Business Week, November 7, 2012.
- The reason for these misses might be found here: John Sides, "A Second Look at National Pollster Accuracy," The Monkey Cage, November 7, 2012. [retrieved Nov. 8, 2012]. However, notably Public Policy Polling by itself correctly predicted the winner of every state.
- New York Times Best Sellers List
- Jason Notte, "Nate Silver sees soaring Amazon book sales: The FiveThirty Eight blogger's confident and steadfast Obama forecast gets readers curious and critics furious", MSN Money, November 8, 2012.
- Amazon Best Book of Year 2012.
- Carl Bialik, "Baseball Analyst Draws Fans by Crunching Election Numbers," Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2008.
- Andrew Romano, "Making His Pitches: Nate Silver, an all-star in the world of baseball stats, may be the political arena's next big draw," Newsweek, June 16, 2008,
- Julie Rehmeyer, "Scooping the Political Pollsters," Science News, July 11, 2008.
- Adam Sternbergh, "The Spreadsheet Psychic," New York Magazine, October 12, 2008.
- Derek Wallbank, "E.L. native's predictions pitch politics a curveball: Applying baseball stats analysis creates buzz around 30-year-old", Lansing State Journal, July 5, 2008. Also highlighting Silver's dual skills at baseball and political analysis were Alex Altman, "Q & A: Political Pollster Nate Silver," Time, October 6, 2008, Joe Lemire, "The Sports-Politics Connection: FiveThirtyEight," Sports Illustrated, October 13, 2008, James Janega, "Odds are, he knows the score – Chicago statistician Nate Silver has turned from sports to politics, with striking results," Chicago Tribune, October 27, 2008, Ben Heller, "The 2008 Sports Nerd of the Year: Nate Silver," CBSSports.com, November 7, 2008. and Childs Walker, "Projecting politics & baseball with Nate Silver," Baltimore Sun, April 8, 2009.
- The first such posting was Nate Silver, "Today's Polls: The Bounce Hits the Badger State," The New Republic, June 12, 2008.
- "Rasmussen Reports to Partner with FiveThirtyEight.com," Democratic Underground, June 14, 2008. [retrieved November 27, 2012]
- See D. L. Hughley transcript from November 1, 2008.
- Fast Money.
- Democracy Now.
- "A conversation with Nate Silver". Charlie Rose. 2008-10-31. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- Aside from his "Today's Polls" entries, Silver's first general essay in TNR was Nate Silver, "It's the Gas Prices, Stupid," The New Republic, August 14, 2008.
- Nate Silver, "Will Young Voters Turn Out for Obama," New York Post, August 10, 2008; and "McCain's (Long) Road to Electoral Win," New York Post, October 26, 2008.
- Nate Silver, "Why McCain Is Still In It," Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2008.
- Nate Silver, "Debunking the Bradley Effect," Newsweek (October 28, 2008).
- For example, he appeared on the Rachel Maddow show on December 28, 2011 as well as January 2, 2012.
- For example, a two-part video of an interview by Howard Kurtz on Reliable Sources on September 25, 2011: Part 1Part 2; an interview about the Florida primary on January 26, 2012; and "Piers Morgan Tonight," September 26, 2012.
- bizbuzz3 (2008-11-03). "Video of Nate Silver on Bloomberg, March 8, 2010". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Need to Know: Nate Silver on Why Polls Don't Always Add Up". Pbs.org. 2010-10-15. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- What's the Impact of the Debt Debate, August 2, 2011.
- Democracy Now 5-18-2010.
- e.g., January 23, 2012.
- ABC "Topline", 9–28, 2010.
- For example, Silver appeared on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" on February 14, 2012.
- Nate Silver on "Colbert Report" 2008 and Nate Silver on "Colbert Report" 2012.
- Nate Silver on "The Daily Show".
- Real Time with Bill Maher
- CBS News Sunday Morning, "Taking the Pulse of Nate Silver's Numbers," November 4, 2012.
- Nick Stango, "Top 25 Nate Silver Facts," Gizmodo, November 7, 2012.
- Chris Taylor, "The Triumph of the Nerds," Mashable, November 7, 2012; Jocelyn Noveck, "He called it, and now Silver's a pop-culture star," Associated Press, November 9, 2012; Martin Robbins, "Can Nate Silver's example save political journalism?" The Guardian, November 13, 2012; Ken Bensinger, "Number crunchers were right about Obama despite what pundits said," Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2012; James Rainey, "Parsing polls: Nate Silver picks on target, Rasmussen not so much," Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2012; Ron Seely, "Seely on Science: Nate Silver gains fame by harnessing power of math," Wisconsin State Journal, November 9, 2012; Greg Sargent, ""What Nate Silver Really Accomplished," The Washington Post, November 21, 2012.
- Conor Friedersdorf, "How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File: Nate Silver was right. His ideological antagonists were wrong. And that's just the beginning of the right's self-created information disadvantage," The Atlantic, November 7, 2012; Frank Rich, "Fantasyland: Denial has poisoned the GOP and threatens the rest of the country too," New York, November 9, 2012.
- Tarun Wadhwa, "Nate Silver and the Rise of Political Data Science," Forbes, November 7, 2012; Dorie Clark, "How Nate Silver Won the 2012 Presidential Election," Harvard Business Review, November 7, 2012; Steve LeVine, "The smart guesswork that applies even in Nate Silver’s world," Quartz, November 11, 2012; Joe Weisenthal, "Here's The Real Reason Nate Silver's Perfect Election Call Was Such An Awesome Breakthrough," Business Insider, November 10, 2012.
- Eric Lundquist, "Nate Silver's Big Data Lessons For The Enterprise," Information Week, November 8, 2012; Daniel Terdiman, "Among the top election quants, Nate Silver reigns supreme," CNET, November 8, 2012.
- Kelly McBride, "What Nate Silver’s success says about the 4th and 5th estates," Poynter, November 8, 2012; Jonathan Stray, "Data, uncertainty, and specialization: What journalism can learn from FiveThirtyEight’s election coverage," Nieman Journalism Lab, October 31, 2012.
- Jennifer Ouellette, "Why Math is Like the Honey Badger: Nate Silver," Scientific American, November 7, 2012; and Bora Zivkovic, "Nate Silver and the Ascendance of Expertise," Scientific American, November 14, 2012.
- Today Show, November 9, 2012.
- Silver on Daily Show, Nov. 7, 2012
- Morning Joe on November 20, 2012.
- "FiveThirtyEight.com earns the distinction of being the first blog selected as a Notable Narrative. In his posts, former economic analyst and baseball-stats wunderkind Nate Silver explains the presidential race, using the dramatic tension inherent in the run-up to Election Day to drive his narrative...." See Nieman Storyboard. [Retrieved July 12, 2012].
- Mike Colias, "Nate Silver," Chicago Business, November 3, 2008. For a video interview related to this profile, see Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight.com.
- Clifford, Stephanie (November 10, 2008). "Finding Fame With a Prescient Call for Obama". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- Nate Silver, "What to Watch For – An hour-by-hour guide to election night", Newsweek.com, November 3, 2008.
- Year in Review: Murder, Politics And Crocs – The top 10 most viewed stories on Newsweek.com in 2008," Newsweek.com, December 23, 2008.
- The Daily Beast, December 21, 2008.
- James Wolcott, "The Good, the Bad, and Joe Lieberman," VanityFair.com, February 2009.
- "The Web Celeb 25," Forbes.com, January 29, 2009.
- Rolling Stone, April 2009.
- "THE WEEK Opinion Awards". The Week. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- New York Times Magazine "Forensic Polling Analysis".
- CEDA Awards. "CEDA Awards". Awards.cedadebate.org. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- John F. Harris, "The Most Powerful People On Earth: My Picks: Bloggers," Forbes Magazine, November 22, 2010 (retrieved online at Forbes.com).
- "16th Annual Out100". OUT Magazine. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- Jim Romenesko, "Silver's advice to young journalists in the digital age," Poynter, 23 May 2011.
- "Text of Henry Pringle Lecture, 2011" (PDF). May 17, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "Crain's New York". Mycrains.crainsnewyork.com. 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- "2012 Webby winner". Webbyawards.com. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- Cosh, Colby (2010-01-19). "Mr. Overrated". Macleans. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Dunn, Geoffrey (2012-09-07). "FiveThirtyHate?: Nate Silver Gets His Numbers Crossed in Charlotte". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Gregory Ferenstein, "Why Pundits and Politicians Hate NYT Election Forecaster Nate Silver," TechCrunch, October 30, 2012.
- Nate Silver, "Rasmussen Polls Were Biased and Inaccurate; Quinnipiac, SurveyUSA Performed Strongly," FiveThirtyEight, November 4, 2010.
- Finkel, Mendy (2012-11-02). "Nate Silver’s Rasmussen obsession". Daily Caller. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Jordan, Josh (2012-10-22). "Nate Silver’s Flawed Model". National Review. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Sullivan, Margaret (2012-11-01). "Under Attack, Nate Silver Picks the Wrong Defense". New York Times. Retrieved 3 November 2012.. For a comment and evaluation see Andrew Beaujon, "New York Times wants to hold Nate Silver to newsroom standards", Poynter, November 2, 2012.
- For discussion of another "pundits vs. Nate Silver" case, see John Cassidy, "Brooks vs. Silver: The Limits of Forecasting Elections," The New Yorker, October 24, 2012.
- Joe Scarborough, "My (Semi) Apology to Nate Silver," Politico, November 21, 2012.
- Klein, Ezra (2012-10-30). "The Nate Silver backlash". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "Nate Silver and the Trials of a Forecaster," ThreeHundredEight.com, November 6, 2012.
- Mann, Michael (2012-09-24). "FiveThirtyEight: The Number of Things Nate Silver Gets Wrong About Climate Change". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- Carole Cadwalladr, "Nate Silver: it's the numbers, stupid", The Observer, November 17, 2012.
- Carole Cadwalladr, "Nate Silver: it's the numbers, stupid," The Observer, November 17, 2012.
- Japhy Grant, "Nate Silver on African-Americans, Prop 8. and Being A Hero to Gays & Geeks Everywhere"], Queerty, November 21, 2008. [retrieved 6 November 2012]
- Dean Chambers, "The far left turns to Nate Silver for wisdom on the polls," UnskewedPolls, October 25, 2012. [Actual site is blacklisted by Wikipedia, hence direct link is not provided here.]
- "Silver Mocks Accusation He's Too 'Effeminate' to Analyze Polls," The Advocate, October 28, 2012.
- Nate Silver, "FiveThirtyEight Joins East Coast Media Elite," FiveThirtyEight.com, March 30, 2009.
- Zak Stambor, "Number Cruncher," University of Chicago Magazine, July–August, 2008.
- "BurritoBracket.com". Burritobracket.blogspot.com. 2004-02-23. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
- On the role of The Burrito Bracket in Silver's engagement in blogging see Dan Cohen, "The Ivory Tower and the Open Web: Introduction: Burritos, Browsers, and Books," Dan Cohen's Digital Humanities blog, July 26, 2011. [retrieved 6 August 2011]
- See Hageman, cited previously; Kaiser, Rob (October 3, 2004). "Players Place Bets on Poker as Career". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 2, 2009.
- Silver, Nate (July 2, 2009). "This Post Brought to You by Poker". FiveThirtyEight.com. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- Nate Silver's Baseball Prospectus article archive (2003–2009)
- Nate Silver's The Burrito Bracket (2007)
- Nate Silver's diaries as "Poblano" on Daily Kos (2007–2009)
- FiveThirtyEight.com archive from pre-NYT period (2008–2010)
- FiveThirtyEight/NYT (2010– )