Friday, January 18, 2013

Rapid-Fire Book Club, Birthday Edition

No, I'm not done with the last set of books yet, but I have another as a birthday present, Nate Silver's The Signal And The Noise. Also known as, the book Nate Silver promoted via Twitter the moment it became apparent that, after all the rage from the media who was calling the Obama/Romney race a virtual tie and down to the wire while Silver had Obama at a 90.9% chance of winning, and all the rage from the Republican side of the aisle who really, truly thought Mitt Romney had it in the bag, Silver was going to nail all 50 states.

He did miss the North Dakota and Montana Senate races. Virtually nobody even noticed, because A, the Presidential race is what everyone notices, and B, virtually nobody notices North Dakota or Montana any other time and why should they start now? Considering the model he uses bases itself largely on polls,
 there wasn't much of anything that could have been done about North Dakota, a Republican-leaning state sparsely polled and showing five polls in favor of Republican Rick Berg, one tie, and one buried poll from June showing Democrat Heidi Heitkamp- the eventual winner- up 47-46. Montana, which by Election Day had trended from Republican Dennis Rehberg to Democrat Jon Tester, the ultimate winner, was a little less forgivable, but clearly Nate's able to absorb that hit. Projections were not made for the House.

Of course, this is why Nate puts in percentage chances instead of calling things ironclad locks.

The accuracy rate I figured he was going to get given his previous results is why I didn't even bother with a prediction map myself, instead saying, 'I'll go with whatever Nate Silver's predicting.' And if you're going to do that, the person you're putting your faith in had better be damned good. Nate Silver is that damned good.

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