By ANDRES CORREA
“Anybody that thinks that this race is anything but a tossup right now is such an ideologue, they should be kept away from typewriters, computers, laptops and microphones for the next 10 days, because they’re jokes.”
This is an exact quote from Joe Scarborough referring to the election forecast on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog. However, Scarborough was not the only one who had a problem with the result of the data in Nate Silver’s computer in the weeks leading up to the election. Many right-wing pundits claimed that the polling Silver was using was skewed. Even David Brooks of The New York Times suggested that Silver was “getting into silly land.”
Silver had the last laugh on Tuesday night. After forecasting 49 of 50 states correctly in the 2008 election, FiveThirtyEight forecast all 50 states correctly in 2012. Silver even predicted the extreme tightness in Florida, tweeting on Tuesday morning, “our projected margin in Florida now Obama 49.797, Romney 49.775.” On Saturday morning, the final results in Florida came in to show a slim Obama victory.
People around the nation quickly learned Silver’s name the morning after the election. Tongue-in-cheek accusations of Nate Silver being a witch spread like wildfire throughout social media. Many even shared a link to “isnatesilverawitch.com” and, according to the site, “Nate Silver is probably a witch.”
However, this was really just a victory for common sense and logic over the typical media hype to which viewers of the news have become so accustomed. While many pundits tried to convince the nation that the election would be close enough to keep their eyes glued to cable news, Nate Silver fed the electorate the truth based on empirical data.
While many in the mainstream media seemed frustrated by the approach that Nate Silver’s blog took, in the end they only made themselves seem foolish. The 2012 election was a historical moment for math or, as Bill Clinton would say, “arithmetic.”