Note I wrote about not for. In reading this Michael Tomasky piece about the electoral college and how it favors Obama (R-Money would have to pull what Tomasky calls an “inside straight” to win), he has very nice things to say about stat/poll wonk Nate Silver.
Silver, in the 2008 election, gained national attention for basically calling the presidential election and Senate races correctly (he got 50 out of 51 states right for the presidential election). No doubt Silver is a smart guy.
But this reminds me of those money managers studies: over any period of time you examine (let’s say three years), some money managers will beat the market. Like a drum. When you look at the next period, they don’t do so well. In fact, there is typically no difference from random picking. However, some managers will also do well in the next assessment period. A genius is born! Or it’s, again, the outcome of a statistical process–by chance, some will be lucky the second time around too.
All of this is a long way of saying that I don’t think Democrats–and pundits in general–should place so much faith in Silver. He is a really bright guy, but it will be interesting to see how he does in 2012.