The 2012 elections are finally over. Barack Obama is our returning president and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that our Facebook friends will no longer trash our newsfeeds with political propaganda. The winner was officially announced around 11:00 last night but there is one person who knew the outcome sooner. This man predicted the results of the election all the way down to the electoral votes and those troublesome swing states and that man’s name is Nate Silver.
Nate Silver had been predicting baseball scores and presidential election outcomes since 2003. His blog, FiveThirtyEight, correctly predicted the ways 49 out of 50 states would vote in the 2008 election but he was still relatively underground during this time. It wasn’t until his merge with the New York Times website that he began his exponential rise to fame. In the late months of September and October, political pundits began giving their predictions for the 2012 election. Some claimed it was going to be extremely close, some foresaw either candidate winning in a landslide and others even pondered the idea of a 269-269 tie vote. Rising up from this rubble, Nate Silver, a statistician, tabulated his predictions based on a combination of some of the most respected political polls using algorithms and other mathematical techniques that only a trained political prognosticator would know. As the election grew closer, over 20% of all New York Times online traffic was from his blog. Pundits and news organizations rejected Silver’s theories and suggested that his polls were skewed towards President Obama. Nate Sliver ended up laughing the last laugh as he correctly predicted how every single state would behave in the election. He is now enjoying his decent amount of fame and appearing on various television shows to talk about his theory.
Nate Silver’s story shows us that we have the ability to predict who our civic leaders will be months before the actual election. With just simple arithmetic, we now have the technology to no longer rely on trusting out gut or holding out hope for one candidate. This will surely change how political pundits and news organizations react to the next coming elections. Viewers will eventually much rather watch statisticians who back up their claims with facts, than pundits who “just have a feeling.”