Now Nate Silver Is Just Laughing At You


The Nate Silver Wars are still going—but it’s embarrassing to even refer to it as a proper battle, since the weirdo pundits who think he’s a LIBERAL MOUTHPIECE are too busy breathing through their own mouths to be understood. If you were busy “being without power” or “helping out your neighbors” or otherwise having a life and/or suffering in the hurricane, perhaps you missed the most hilarious intellectual breakdown of the election yet. Poor Dylan Byers—author of today’s instant Politico classic “Media stumped by 2012 outcome” (yup)—took on Times stats boy and America’s boyfriend Nate Silver the other day, with HILARIOUS RESULTS for all of us. It’s still hard to pick which sentence was the dumbest in the Politico piece. Maybe this one: “For all the confidence Silver puts in his predictions, he often gives the impression of hedging.” Hee. Welcome to math. Anyway, now Nate can just have fun.

As regards to “hedging,” what is actually going on is that Silver tries to, you know, inform people. His latest, on state polling, is notable:

Bias, in a statistical sense, means missing consistently in one direction — for example, overrating the Republican’s performance across a number of different examples, or the Democrat’s. It is to be distinguished from the term accuracy, which refers to how close you come to the outcome in either direction. If our forecasts miss high on Mr. Obama’s vote share by 10 percentage points in Nevada, but miss low on it by 10 percentage points in Iowa, our forecasts won’t have been very accurate, but they also won’t have been biased since the misses were in opposite directions (they’ll just have been bad).

But that’s a lot of words.

Meanwhile, Dylan Byers is out there treading the public intellectual trail, tweeting out some smart thoughts for everyone.