Daily Meme: Nate Silver's Fickle Friends

  • Yesterday, former New York Times numbers nerd Nate Silver—who just launched his own site, FiveThirtyEight.com—set off panic among Democratic leaders by changing his projection about the makeup of the Senate after the midterms from "tossup" to "slight GOP advantage."
  • Cue the denounciations. In an unusual move, today the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) issued a statement discrediting Silver's analysis (while at the same time calling FiveThirtyEight "groundbreaking"). "In August of 2012 Silver forecast a 61 percent likelihood that Republicans would pick up enough seats to claim the majority," wrote Guy Cecil, the Committee's executive director. "Three months later, Democrats went on to win 55 seats."
  • Over at his blog, P.M. Carpenter takes the DSCC to task: "There's nothing like happy-face propaganda in the sorryass face of facts. Should Silver's facts re-shift in favor of Democrats, he will again be hailed by the DSCC as America's one statistician who has never erred."
  • Showing he did really well in his college creative-writing class, Marty Kaplan envisions waking up the day after the 2014 midterms: "It felt like a trap door had opened beneath your feet, like a Munch scream, like a nightmare—a nauseating, slow-motion wreck you were powerless to prevent."
  • At the Plum Line, Greg Sargeant is nonplussed: "Certainly the fundamentals for are very bad for Dems, but there’s a long, long way to go."
  • The Times's Paul Krugman weighs in to tell us that numbers don't always tell the full story.
  • Predictably, Republicans—who've consistently called Silver a shrill for the left—have suddenly had a change of heart.

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