I'm stepping juuuuust outside of our general unwritten policy to not talk about politics to point out a New York Magazine article profiling Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus and how he carries baseball into politics. It's long, but fascinating if you're into baseball and politics, which, let's face it, I know you are. I've seen you waving your flags in the comments sections.
His first taste of political notoriety:
Silver, who was writing anonymously as “Poblano” and receiving about 800 visits a day, disagreed with this consensus. He’d broken the numbers down demographically and come up with a much less encouraging outcome for Clinton: a two-point squeaker in Indiana, and a seventeen-point drubbing in North Carolina. On the night of the primaries, Clinton took Indiana by one and lost North Carolina by fifteen. The national pundits were doubly shocked: one, because the results were so divergent from the polls, and two, because some guy named after a chili pepper had predicted the outcome better than anyone else.
And a tiny snippet about what he's up to:
So he came up with a system that predicts a pollster’s future performance based on how good it’s been in the past. In finding his average, Silver weights each poll differently—ranking them according to his own statistic, PIE (pollster-introduced error)—based on a number of factors, including its track record and its methodology. One advantage of this system is that, during the primaries, the system actually got smarter. Because each time a poll performed well in a primary, its ranking improved.
I love this. Self correcting system based on past and recent performance.
I know I totally tempted you, but if you have comments, let's stay away from specifics.