Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Baseball Analyst Draws Fans by Crunching Election Numbers

Nate Silver is one interesting guy. He gained popularity by posting anonymously as Poblano on the Daily Kos. Its early in the game but as you can see he is calling for a very close presidential election in November.

An occasional visit to his website is worth the time. Follow the link in the clip if you find this of interest.
clipped from docs.google.com
What is the significance of the number 538?  
538 is the number of electors in the electoral college.

How is this site different from other compilations of polls like Real Clear Politics?  There are a few things we're able to do over here that these other sites haven't done.  Firstly, we assign each poll a weighting based on that pollster's historical track record, the poll's sample size, and the recentness of the poll.  More reliable polls are weighted more heavily in our averages.  Secondly, we include a regression estimate for each state among our 'polls', which helps to account for outlier polls and to stabilize the results.  Thirdly, we simulate the election 10,000 times for each site update, in order to provide a probabilistic assessment of electoral outcomes.
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