A wry view of life for the world-weary

There Ain’t ‘Alf Some Clever Bastards – Part Four

Despite impressions to the contrary the real winner of the psephological exercise conducted on the other side of the pond is the fourth inductee of our Hall of Fame – Nate Silver.

Silver, in his blog fivethirtyeight, named after the number of votes in the electoral college, offered a 90.9% probability of an Obama win and correctly called the results in 49 of the 50 states – the Florida result has not been finalised yet – and predicted that Obama would win 332 electoral college votes and Romney 206, a result which will be correct if Florida returns Obama. This betters Silver’s 2008 performance when he called all bar one of the outcomes correctly.

The alumnus from the University of Chicago where he gained an economics degree was the brains behind the “Moneyball” system which showed how statistical models can help win in baseball. A variation of the methodology is being used in football to identify the qualities of potential transfer targets.

His psephological model is a numerical election simulator based in part on demographic trends and past polling history. He ran the model thousands of times every day, updating the model with the latest polling figures and economic data – and watching the outcomes – who won most often and with what frequency.

It is very clear as the dust settles on the US election that the key factor was the impact of Hispanics and Americans of colour on the outcome, particularly in swing states. The Republicans need to widen their natural support base if they are ever going to arrest this trend.

Anyway, bask in your glory, Nate, and best of luck for the next one


If you enjoyed this, why not try Fifty Clever Bastards by Martin Fone which is now available on Amazon in Kindle format and paperback. For details follow the link


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