NY Magazine profiles Nate Silver, whose hobby has now made him more famous than his day job, at least to the public at large. To me, he's been the guy that's built PECOTA, a baseball forecasting tool, for Baseball Prospectus, a site I've been reading and subscribing to pretty much since it started. But to most people now, he's the guy who built the models powering FiveThirtyEight.com, the thinking man's go-to site for electoral projections.
Silver’s site now gets about 600,000 visits daily. And as more and more people started wondering who he was, in May, Silver decided to unmask himself. To most people, the fact that Poblano turned out to be a guy named Nate Silver meant nothing. But to anyone who follows baseball seriously, this was like finding out that a guy anonymously running a high-fashion Website turned out to be Howard Cosell.
The key insight that led to his unique spin on interpreting the polls:
As the primaries went on, however, Silver, who had been writing an anonymous diary for the liberal Website Daily Kos, made an observation about this year’s voters: While the polls were wobbling wildly state-to-state, the demographic groups supporting each candidate, and especially Clinton and Obama, were remarkably static. He wasn’t the only one who noticed this, of course—it was a major narrative theme of the campaign. One pundit summed it up by saying that Clinton had “the beer track