This morning I linked to Facebook a Politico story titled “Why Barack Obama is winning.” I titled my link ‘I think the point spread is too narrow to say, as the title does, ‘is winning,’ but certainly ‘might well win…’”
A friend offered a link suggesting a more reliable source for those interested in the horse race would be Nate Silver’s amazing FiveThirtyEight blog. Silver is a statistician who cut his teeth creating a program to forecast the performance of baseball players. Since 2007 he’s applied his skills to political forecasting.
And that leads us to the FiveThirtyEight blog.
The Wikipedia article describes FiveThirtyEight succinctly.
“FiveThirtyEight is a polling aggregation website with a blog created by Nate Silver. Sometimes colloquially referred to as 538 dot com or just 538, the website takes its name from the number of electors in the United States electoral college. Established on March 7, 2008, as FiveThirtyEight.com, in August 2010 the blog became a licensed feature of The New York Times online and was renamed FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s Political Calculus.
“During the U.S. presidential primaries and general election of 2008, the site compiled polling data through a unique methodology derived from Silver’s experience in baseball sabermetrics to “balance out the polls with comparative demographic data” and “weighting each poll based on the pollster’s historical track record, sample size, and recentness of the poll”.
“After the 2008 election, the site published articles – typically creating or analyzing statistical information – on a wide variety of topics in current politics and political news. These included a monthly update on the prospects for turnover in the U.S. Senate; federal economic policies; Congressional support for legislation; public support for health care reform, global warming legislation, gay rights; elections around the world; marijuana legalization; and numerous other topics.
“On June 3, 2010, Silver announced that in early August the blog would be “relaunched under a NYTimes.com domain”.The transition took place on August 25, 2010, with the publication of Silver’s first FiveThirtyEight blog article online in The New York Times.”
You want to follow the horse race?
And if you just want the numbers as of today. The September 17th posting of Nate Silver’s blog gives the nod to the president with a seventy four point eight percent chance of winning. Of course it is a snapshot. And things can change in the beat of a heart.