Who is Nate Silver, creator of 538, the hottest website of the moment? With the US presidential election just a day away, we would love the power to predict who is going to win. This is where Nate Silver steps in. His website attempts to predict the outcome of the election based on constantly-updating data.
Who is Nate Silver?
Born on 13 January 1978, Nate Silver is an American writer, statistician and sports writer. In the past, he has relied on statistical data to analyse everything from baseball to presidential election outcomes.
Silver was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009, after his algorithm predicted the results in 49 states during the Obama election win. However, like many other outlets, the website failed to predict Trump’s unexpected win in the previous US election.
He founded the opinion polling and prediction website fivethirtyeight.com in March 2008.
Historically, he has said he’s voted for Democratic candidates but he isn’t registered for either party and wouldn’t always commit to voting one way or the other.
What is the website 538?
538 is a website focused on interpreting raw data as accurately as possible. It analyses opinion polls, discusses politics and economics and also blogs about baseball and sport. The title, 538, stands for the amount of electors in the electoral college.
Initially, Silver published under the pseudonym Poblano, but after his success in predicting the 2008 election, he decided to reveal his identity.
The website is currently tracking the votes in the US presidential election, ahead of the anticipated 3 November verdict.
Why did Nate Silver found 538?
The website states its aim is to “accumulate and analyse polling and political data in way that is informed, accurate and attractive. Most narrowly, to give you the best possible objective assessment of the likely outcome of upcoming elections.”
The way Silver analyses polls is a many-stepped process. He wanted to create a system that was different from other polling compilation sites.
Here is how 538 differs from other sites:
- They assign each poll a weight based on the pollsters’ previous historical record, sample size and when they were taken. More reliable polls are given a higher ranking.
- They look for and discount outlier polls that would throw off the data.
- They use an “inferential process to compute a rolling trendline that allows us to adjust results in states that have not been polled recently and make them ‘current’.”
- They simulate the election 10,000 times each update to the site. This allows them to create a probability assessment of the data that is also based on historical polling data. They also take into account that certain states are likely to vote the same way.
If you’re looking for interesting and potentially accurate polling information and election predictions, it seems Nate Silver has a good track record for analysing and presenting electoral data.