Nate Silver

Nate Silver

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Encyclopedia
Nathaniel Read "Nate" Silver (born January 13, 1978) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 statistician
Statistician
A statistician is someone who works with theoretical or applied statistics. The profession exists in both the private and public sectors. The core of that work is to measure, interpret, and describe the world and human activity patterns within it...

, psephologist
Psephology
Psephology is that branch of political science which deals with the study and scientific analysis of elections. Psephology uses historical precinct voting data, public opinion polls, campaign finance information and similar statistical data. The term was coined in the United Kingdom in 1952 by...

, and writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

. Silver first gained public recognition for developing PECOTA
PECOTA
PECOTA, an acronym for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is a sabermetric system for forecasting Major League Baseball player performance. The word is a backronym based on the name of journeyman major league player Bill Pecota, who with a lifetime batting average of .249...

, a system for forecasting the performance and career development of Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 players, which he sold to and then managed for Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Prospectus is an organization that publishes a website, BaseballProspectus.com, devoted to the sabermetric analysis of baseball. BP has a staff of regular columnists and provides advanced statistics as well player and team performance projections on the site...

 from 2003 to 2009.

In 2007, writing under the pseudonym "Poblano," Silver began to publish analyses and predictions related to the 2008 United States presidential election
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

. At first this work appeared on the political blog Daily Kos
Daily Kos
Daily Kos is an American political blog that publishes news and opinions from a progressive point of view. It functions as a discussion forum and group blog for a variety of netroots activists, whose efforts are primarily directed toward influencing and strengthening the Democratic Party...

, but in March 2008 Silver established his own website, FiveThirtyEight.com
FiveThirtyEight.com
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...

.
By summer of that year, after he revealed his identity to his readers, he began to appear as an electoral and political analyst in national print, online
ONLINE
ONLINE is a magazine for information systems first published in 1977. The publisher Online, Inc. was founded the year before. In May 2002, Information Today, Inc. acquired the assets of Online Inc....

, and cable news
United States cable news
Cable news refers to television channels devoted to television news broadcasts, with the name deriving from the proliferation of such networks during the 1980s with the advent of cable television. In the United States, early networks included CNN in 1980, Financial News Network in 1981, and CNN2 ...

 media.

The accuracy of his November 2008 presidential election predictions—he correctly predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states—won Silver further attention and commendation. The only state he missed was Indiana, which went for Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 by 0.9%. He also correctly predicted the winner of all 35 Senate races that year.

In April 2009, he was named one of The World's 100 Most Influential People
Time 100
Time 100 is an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, as assembled by Time. First published in 1999 as a result of a debate among several academics, the list has become an annual event.-History and format:...

 by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

.

In 2010, Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog was licensed for publication by The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

. The newly renamed blog, FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus, first appeared in The Times on August 25, 2010.

Early years


Silver was born in East Lansing, Michigan
East Lansing, Michigan
East Lansing is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located directly east of Lansing, Michigan, the state's capital. Most of the city is within Ingham County, though a small portion lies in Clinton County. The population was 48,579 at the time of the 2010 census, an increase from...

. He was an early math wizard. According to journalist William Hageman, "Silver caught the baseball bug when he was 6.... It was 1984, the year the Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

 won the World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

. The Tigers became his team and baseball his sport. And if there's anything that goes hand in glove with baseball, it's numbers, another of Silver's childhood interests. ("It's always more interesting to apply it to batting averages than algebra class".)

As a student at East Lansing High School
East Lansing High School
East Lansing High School is a public high school in the city of East Lansing, Michigan, United States. It is managed by the East Lansing Public Schools district....

, in 1996 Silver won first place in the State of Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 in the 49th annual John S. Knight
John S. Knight
John Shively Knight was an American newspaper publisher and editor.He was born in Bluefield, West Virginia to Charles Landon Knight and Clara Scheifly. He attended Cornell University but never graduated, leaving early to enlist in the Army. While at Cornell he was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa...

 Scholarship Contest for senior high school debaters.

Silver learned his journalism
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

 skills as a writer and opinion page editor for The Portrait, East Lansing High School's student newspaper, from 1993–1996.

In 2000, Silver graduated with Honors with an A.B.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 from the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

. He also wrote for the Chicago Weekly News
Chicago Weekly
The Chicago Weekly is a student-written alternative weekly at the University of Chicago that promotes arts and culture on the South Side of Chicago through coverage and criticism. The paper also follows South Side news stories that are ignored by mainstream media...

and the Chicago Maroon. He spent his third year at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

.

Economic consultant and baseball statistician


After college graduation in 2000, Silver worked for three and a half years as an economic consultant with KPMG
KPMG
KPMG is one of the largest professional services networks in the world and one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PwC. Its global headquarters is located in Amstelveen, Netherlands....

 in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

. When asked in 2009, "Q: What is your biggest regret in life?" Silver responded "A: Spending four years of my life at a job I didn’t like". While employed at KPMG, however, Silver continued to nurture his life-long interest in baseball and statistics, and on the side he began to work on his PECOTA
PECOTA
PECOTA, an acronym for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is a sabermetric system for forecasting Major League Baseball player performance. The word is a backronym based on the name of journeyman major league player Bill Pecota, who with a lifetime batting average of .249...

 system for projecting player performance and careers. He quit his job at KPMG in April 2004 and for a time earned his living mainly by playing online poker
Online poker
Online poker is the game of poker played over the Internet. It has been partly responsible for a dramatic increase in the number of poker players worldwide...

.

In 2003, Silver became a writer for Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Prospectus is an organization that publishes a website, BaseballProspectus.com, devoted to the sabermetric analysis of baseball. BP has a staff of regular columnists and provides advanced statistics as well player and team performance projections on the site...

(BP), after having sold PECOTA to BP in return for a partnership interest. After resigning from KPMG in 2004, he took the position of Executive Vice-President, later renamed Managing Partner of BP. In addition to providing executive functions, Silver maintained and further developed PECOTA as well as wrote a weekly feature column under the heading "Lies, Damned Lies". In this column he applied sabermetric techniques to a broad range of topics in baseball research—including, among others, forecasting the performance of individual players, the economics of baseball, metrics for the valuation
Valuation (finance)
In finance, valuation is the process of estimating what something is worth. Items that are usually valued are a financial asset or liability. Valuations can be done on assets or on liabilities...

 of players, and developing an Elo rating system
Elo rating system
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor....

 for Major League baseball.

Between 2003 and 2009, Silver was a co-author of the Baseball Prospectus (ISBN 0-7611-3995-8) annual book of Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 analysis and forecasts as well as a co-author of other books published by Baseball Prospectus, including Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning (New York: Workman Publishers, 2005) (ISBN 0-7611-4018-2), Baseball Between the Numbers (New York: Basic Books, 2006) (ISBN 0-465-00596-9), and It Ain't Over 'til It's Over: The Baseball Prospectus Pennant Race Book (New York: Basic Books, 2007) (ISBN 0-465-00284-6).

He was an occasional contributor of articles about baseball to ESPN.com
ESPN.com
ESPN.com is the official website of ESPN and a division of ESPN Inc. Since launching in 1995 as ESPNet.SportsZone.com, the website has developed numerous sections including: Page 2, SportsNation, ESPN 3.com, ESPN Motion, My ESPN, ESPN Sports Travel, ESPN Video Games, ESPN Insider, ESPN.com's...

, Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

, Slate
Slate (magazine)
Slate is a US-based English language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004 it was purchased by the Washington Post Company...

, the New York Sun
New York Sun
The New York Sun was a weekday daily newspaper published in New York City from 2002 to 2008. When it debuted on April 16, 2002, adopting the name, motto, and masthead of an otherwise unrelated earlier New York paper, The Sun , it became the first general-interest broadsheet newspaper to be started...

and the New York Times.

Political analyst and blogger


In November 2007, while still working for Baseball Prospectus, Silver began to write about politics, specifically the 2008 U.S. Presidential race. Until the end of May 2008, this writing was under the pseudonym "Poblano" and appeared on Daily Kos
Daily Kos
Daily Kos is an American political blog that publishes news and opinions from a progressive point of view. It functions as a discussion forum and group blog for a variety of netroots activists, whose efforts are primarily directed toward influencing and strengthening the Democratic Party...

or on his blog FiveThirtyEight.com
FiveThirtyEight.com
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...

,
which he launched in March 2008. Beginning in June he began to publish political analysis under his own name, including in his blog, newspapers, and The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

. He first appeared on national television on CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's American Morning
American Morning
American Morning is the morning television show on CNN. It premiered in 2001.-About the show:American Morning is hosted by Ashleigh Banfield, Zoraida Sambolin & Soledad O'Brien. Others who appear regularly are Rob Marciano with the weather, Sunny Hostin on legal news, and CNN senior medical...

on June 13, 2008. The success of his FiveThirtyEight.com blog and the accuracy of his detailed forecasts of the 2008 U.S. Presidential race marked the effective end of his career as baseball analyst, though he continued to devote some attention to sports statistics and sports economics.

Shortly after the November 4 election, ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

 writer Jim Caple
Jim Caple
Jim Caple is a columnist and senior writer for ESPN.com. He has worked previously with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and St. Paul Pioneer Press.Caple attended R.A...

 observed, "Forget Cole Hamels
Cole Hamels
Colbert Michael "Cole" Hamels is a left-handed starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Hamels throws a four-seam fastball, a circle changeup, a curveball, and a cut fastball, which he added in 2010...

 and the Phillies. No one in baseball had a more impressive fall than Nate Silver.... [R]ight now Silver is exhausted. He barely slept the last couple weeks of the campaign – 'By the end, it was full-time plus' – and for that matter, he says he couldn't have kept it up had the campaign lasted two days longer. Plus, he has his Baseball Prospectus duties. 'We write our [Baseball Prospectus 2009] book from now through the first of the year,' [Silver] said. 'I have a week to relax and then it gets just as busy again. In February 2009 I will just have to find an island in the Caribbean and throw my BlackBerry in the ocean'".

Later in November 2008, Silver signed a contract with Penguin Group USA
Penguin Books
Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

 to write two books, reportedly for a $700,000 advance. In an intervew, Silver described his first book-in-progress as about "the value and limitations of predictions, looking at such diverse industries as fashion design, hurricane forecasting, and the search for extraterrestrial life".

He was invited to be a speaker at TED 2009
TED (conference)
TED is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading"....

 in February 2009, and keynote speaker at the 2009 South by Southwest
South by Southwest
South by Southwest is an Austin, Texas based company dedicated to planning conferences, trade shows, festivals and other events. Their current roster of annual events include: SXSW Music, SXSW Film, SXSW Interactive, SXSWedu, and SXSWeco and take place every spring in Austin, Texas, United States...

 (SXSW) Interactive conference (March 2009).

While maintaining his FiveThirtyEight.com website, in January 2009 Silver began a monthly feature column, "The Data," in Esquire as well as contributed occasional articles to other media such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He also tried his luck in the 2009 World Series of Poker
World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker is a world-renowned series of poker tournaments held annually in Las Vegas and, since 2005, sponsored by Harrah's Entertainment...

.

In March 2009, Silver stepped down as Managing Partner of Baseball Prospectus and announced that he had handed over responsibility for producing future PECOTA projections to other Baseball Prospectus staff members, but that he intended to continue as a writer for BP, including for BP's partner, ESPN.com
ESPN.com
ESPN.com is the official website of ESPN and a division of ESPN Inc. Since launching in 1995 as ESPNet.SportsZone.com, the website has developed numerous sections including: Page 2, SportsNation, ESPN 3.com, ESPN Motion, My ESPN, ESPN Sports Travel, ESPN Video Games, ESPN Insider, ESPN.com's...

. In April 2009, he appeared as an analyst on ESPN's Baseball Tonight
Baseball Tonight
Baseball Tonight is a program that airs on ESPN. The show, which recapitulates the day's Major League Baseball action, has been on the air since 1990.-Air times:...

. However, after March 2009, he published only two "Lies, Damned Lies" columns on BaseballProspectus.com.

While continuing to write his FiveThirtyEight.com blog, he took on some freelance statistically oriented projects. In November 2009, ESPN introduced a new Soccer Power Index (SPI), developed by Nate Silver, for predicting the outcome of the 2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

. He published a post-mortem after the tournament, comparing his predictions to those of alternative rating systems.

In April 2010, Silver took an entirely different assignment for New York Magazine, creating a quantitative index of "The Most Livable Neighborhoods in New York".

In June 2010, it was announced that Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com blog would be moving to the New York Times, a platform from which it would begin to be published online in August 2010. In addition, Silver would be contributing content to the print edition of The Times as well as to the Sunday Magazine. This transition occurred on August 25, 2010, with the online publication of Silver's first FiveThirtyEight column in The Times.

Baseball analysis: 2003–2008


Silver uses a wide variety of research methods and statistical tools in his writings about baseball. However, he has developed three tools that are identified with his name. The best known and most enduring is his forecasting system, PECOTA
PECOTA
PECOTA, an acronym for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm, is a sabermetric system for forecasting Major League Baseball player performance. The word is a backronym based on the name of journeyman major league player Bill Pecota, who with a lifetime batting average of .249...

, which remains a signature product of Baseball Prospectus.

PECOTA


PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) is a statistical system that projects the future performance of hitters and pitchers. It is designed primarily for two uses: fans interested in fantasy baseball
Fantasy baseball
Fantasy baseball is a game where participants manage an imaginary roster of real Major League baseball players. The participants compete against one another using those players' real life statistics to score points...

, and professionals in the baseball business interested in predicting the performance and valuation
Valuation (finance)
In finance, valuation is the process of estimating what something is worth. Items that are usually valued are a financial asset or liability. Valuations can be done on assets or on liabilities...

 of major league players. Unlike most other such projection systems, PECOTA relies on matching a given current player to a set of "comparable" players whose past performance can serve as a guide to how the given current player is likely to perform in the future. Unlike most other such systems, PECOTA also calculates a range of probable performance levels rather than a single predicted value on a given measure such as earned run average
Earned run average
In baseball statistics, earned run average is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It is determined by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine...

 or batting average
Batting average
Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball that measures the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters. The two statistics are related in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages.- Cricket :...

.

PECOTA projections were first published by Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Prospectus is an organization that publishes a website, BaseballProspectus.com, devoted to the sabermetric analysis of baseball. BP has a staff of regular columnists and provides advanced statistics as well player and team performance projections on the site...

 in the 2003 edition of its annual book as well as online by BaseballProspectus.com. The formulae have been updated steadily since then. Silver produced the annual PECOTA forecasts for each Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 season from 2003 through 2009. Beginning in Spring 2009, Baseball Prospectus took responsibility for future editions and products based on the forecasts.

Other tools


Because of the dependence of earned run average
Earned run average
In baseball statistics, earned run average is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It is determined by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine...

 statistics on factors over which a pitcher may have little control, sabermetricians have developed several defense independent pitching statistics
Defense independent pitching statistics
In baseball, defense-independent pitching statistics measure a pitcher's effectiveness based only on plays that do not involve fielders: home runs allowed, strikeouts, hit batters, walks, and, more recently, fly ball percentage, ground ball percentage, and line drive percentage...

, including Defense-Independent ERA
Defense-Independent ERA
In baseball statistics,Defense-Independent ERA , created by Voros McCracken, projects what a pitcher's earned run average would have been, if not for the effects of defense and luck on the actual games in which he pitched.-Method:...

. One that Silver has created for quick calculations that do not require detailed adjustments for the park or era in which a pitcher is performing is the "QuikERA" or QERA. It may be useful for early- or mid-season assessments of a pitcher's performance, since it attempts to reduce the effect of luck in summarizing a pitcher's ERA. Silver explains,
I call this toy QuikERA (QERA), which estimates what a pitcher's ERA should be based solely on his strikeout rate, walk rate, and GB/FB ratio. These three components — K rate, BB rate, GB/FB — stabilize very quickly, and they have the strongest predictive relationship with a pitcher’s ERA going forward. What’s more, they are not very dependent on park effects, allowing us to make reasonable comparisons of pitchers across different teams.


The formula for QERA is as follows: QERA =(2.69 + K%*(-3.4) + BB%*3.88 + GB%*(-0.66))2.


Note that everything ends up expressed in terms of percentages: strikeouts per opponent plate appearance, walks per opponent plate appearance, and groundballs as a percentage of all balls hit into play.


Silver has also developed a formula, which he called the "Secret Sauce," to predict whether Major League teams are likely to be successful in the playoff
Playoff
The playoffs, postseason, or finals of a sports league are a game or series of games played after the regular season by the top competitors, usually but not always with a single-elimination system, to determine the league champion or a similar accolade.In the U.S...

s if they somehow manage to reach them. This formula comes out of research that he initially conducted and published with Dayn Perry
Dayn Perry
-Journalism:His journalism can be found on FanGraphs online journal NotGraphs. He formerly published with BaseballProspectus.com and at Foxsports.com...

. The formula claimed that, although during the regular season having an excellent offense above all else may get a team to the playoffs, once in the playoffs a team's success depends much more on strong defense, including pitching. In other words, teams that prevent the ball from going into play, catch it when it does and preserve late-inning leads are likely to excel in the playoffs".

Notable critics of the "secret sauce" formula include Tom Tango
Tom Tango
Tom Tango and "TangoTiger" are aliases used online by a well-respected expert in baseball sabermetrics and ice hockey statistical analysis. He runs the Tango on Baseball sabermetrics website and is also a contributor to ESPN's baseball blog TMI .In 2006, Tango's book The Book: Playing the...

 and Mitchel Lichtman, co-authors of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball and the sabermetric blog The Book Blog. Criticism focuses on the formula ignoring logical assumptions and relying too heavily on best-fitting sample data that may not be predictive for out-of-sample data. In September 2010 an analysis by Jesse-Douglas (J-Doug) Mathewson on the website Rational Pastime showed that the "secret sauce" formula had performed considerably worse in predicting postseason outcomes in recent years than in previous years, and that the factors Silver found to be significant do not necessarily fit a different set of postseason data (and that there are major questions about in-sample significance as well).

For a few years Baseball Prospectus published Secret Sauce figures for every Major League team on its statistics page. In the 2010 season, Baseball Prospectus stopped using the Secret Sauce method as an indicator of playoff success because teams that ranked higher in secret sauce than their opponents only won 54% of their playoff series since the formula was put into use.

Political analysis: 2007–present


Silver describes his own partisan orientation as follows in the FAQ
FAQ
Frequently asked questions are listed questions and answers, all supposed to be commonly asked in some context, and pertaining to a particular topic. "FAQ" is usually pronounced as an initialism rather than an acronym, but an acronym form does exist. Since the acronym FAQ originated in textual...

 on his website: "My state [Illinois] has non-partisan registration, so I am not registered as anything. I vote for Democratic candidates the majority of the time (though by no means always). This year, I have been a supporter of Barack Obama". With respect to the impartiality of his electoral projections, Silver states, "Are [my] results biased toward [my] preferred candidates? I hope not, but that is for you to decide. I have tried to disclose as much about my methodology as possible".

Silver describes his ideological orientation as one of "rational progressivism":


I regard myself as a rational progressive. I believe in intellectual progress – that we, as a species, are gradually becoming smarter. I believe that there are objectively right answers to many political and economic questions.



I believe that economic growth is both a reflection of and a contributor toward societal progress, that economic growth has facilitated a higher standard of living, and that this is empirically indisputable. I also believe, however, that our society is now so exceptionally wealthy – even in the midst of a severe recession – that it has little excuse not to provide for some basic level of dignity for all its citizens.



I believe that answers to questions like these do not always come from the establishment. But I also believe that it is just as important to question one's own assumptions as to question the assumptions of others.

2008 U.S. elections


On November 1, 2007, Silver began publishing a diary under the pseudonym "Poblano" on the progressive political blog Daily Kos
Daily Kos
Daily Kos is an American political blog that publishes news and opinions from a progressive point of view. It functions as a discussion forum and group blog for a variety of netroots activists, whose efforts are primarily directed toward influencing and strengthening the Democratic Party...

.
Silver set out to analyze quantitative aspects of the political game in a manner that would enlighten a broader audience. Silver reports that "he was stranded in a New Orleans airport when the idea of FiveThirtyEight.com came to him. 'I was just frustrated with the analysis.... I saw a lot of discussion about strategy that was not all that sophisticated, especially when it came to quantitative things like polls and demographics'”. His forecasts of the 2008 United States presidential primary
United States presidential primary
The series of presidential primary elections and caucuses is one of the first steps in the process of electing the President of the United States of America. The primary elections are run by state and local governments, while caucuses are private events run by the political parties...

 elections drew a lot of attention, including being cited by New York Times Op-Ed columnist William Kristol
William Kristol
William Kristol is an American neoconservative political analyst and commentator. He is the founder and editor of the political magazine The Weekly Standard and a regular commentator on the Fox News Channel....

.

In March 2008, still using the pseudonym "Poblano," Silver established his own blog FiveThirtyEight.com, in which he developed a system for tracking polls and forecasting the outcome of the 2008 general election
General election
In a parliamentary political system, a general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. The term is usually used to refer to elections held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections.The term...

. At the same time, he continued making forecasts of the 2008 Democratic primary elections
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

. That several of his forecasts based on demographic analysis
Demographic analysis
Demographic analysis includes the sets of methods that allow us to measure the dimensions and dynamics of populations. These methods have primarily been developed to study human populations, but are extended to a variety of areas where researchers want to know how populations of social actors can...

 proved to be substantially more accurate than those of the professional pollsters gained visibility and professional credibility for "Poblano".

After the North Carolina and Indiana primaries on May 6 the popularity of FiveThirtyEight.com "really exploded. Silver recalls the scenario: 'I know the polls show it’s really tight in NC, but we think Obama is going to win by thirteen, fourteen points, and he did.... Any time you make a prediction like that people give you probably too much credit for it.... But after that [Silver's and the website's popularity] started to really take off. It’s pretty nonlinear, once you get one mention in the mainstream media, other people [quickly follow suit]'".

On May 30, 2008, Poblano revealed his identity to FiveThirtyEight.com readers. On June 1, 2008, Silver published a two-page Op-Ed article in the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

outlining the rationale underlying his focus on the statistical aspects of politics.
"My fulltime occupation has been as a writer and analyst for a sports media company called Baseball Prospectus. In baseball, statistics are meaningless without context; hitting 30 home runs in the 1930s is a lot different than hitting 30 today. There is a whole industry in baseball dedicated to the proper understanding and interpretation of statistics. In polling and politics, there is nearly as much data as there is for first basemen. In this year's Democratic primaries, there were statistics for every gender, race, age, occupation and geography – reasons why Clinton won older women, or Obama took college students. But the understanding has lagged behind. Polls are cherry-picked based on their brand name or shock value rather than their track record of accuracy. Demographic variables are misrepresented or misunderstood. (Barack Obama, for instance, is reputed to have problems with white working-class voters, when in fact these issues appear to be more dictated by geography – he has major problems among these voters in Kentucky and West Virginia, but did just fine with them in Wisconsin and Oregon)".


As a CNET
CNET
CNET is a tech media website that publishes news articles, blogs, and podcasts on technology and consumer electronics. Originally founded in 1994 by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie, it was the flagship brand of CNET Networks and became a brand of CBS Interactive through CNET Networks' acquisition...

 reporter wrote on election eve, "Even though Silver launched the site as recently as March, its straightforward approach, daring predictions, and short but impressive track record has put it on the map of political sites to follow. The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

featured Silver in its 14th annual election prediction contest this year, and he'll be reporting on Tuesday night's results with Dan Rather
Dan Rather
Daniel Irvin "Dan" Rather, Jr. is an American journalist and the former news anchor for the CBS Evening News. He is now managing editor and anchor of the television news magazine Dan Rather Reports on the cable channel HDNet. Rather was anchor of the CBS Evening News for 24 years, from March 9,...

 on HDNet
HDNet
HDNet is a men's interest television channel in the United States, broadcasting exclusively in high-definition format and available via cable and satellite television...

".

Silver's final 2008 presidential election forecast accurately predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 (missing only the prediction for Indiana). As his model predicted, the races in Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 and North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 were particularly close. He also correctly predicted the winners of every U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 race. The accuracy of his predictions won him further acclaim, including abroad, and added to his reputation as a leading political prognosticator.

Transition to The New York Times


On June 3, 2010, Silver announced on FiveThirtyEight.com,
In the near future, the blog will "re-launch" under a NYTimes.com domain. It will retain its own identity (akin to other Times blogs like DealBook), but will be organized under the News:Politics section. Once this occurs, content will no longer be posted at FiveThirtyEight.com on an ongoing basis, and the blog will re-direct to the new URL. In addition, I will be contributing content to the print edition of the New York Times, and to the Sunday Magazine. The partnership agreement, which is structured as a license, has a term of three years.


The transition to the new blog FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus sponsored by the New York Times took place on August 25, 2010, with the publication online of Silver's first article, "New Forecast Shows Democrats Losing 6 to 7 Senate Seats". From then until the mid-term elections of 2010 in November, Silver's blog focused almost exclusively on developing forecasts of the outcomes of the 2010 U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives elections, 2010
The 2010 United States House of Representatives elections, also known as the 2010 midterm elections, were held on November 2, 2010, at the midpoint of President Barack Obama's first term in office. Voters of the 50 U.S. states chose 435 U.S. Representatives. Voters of the U.S...

 as well as state gubernatorial
United States gubernatorial elections, 2010
The United States gubernatorial elections were held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 in 37 states . As in most midterm elections, the party controlling the White House lost ground...

 contests. Silver's Times Sunday Magazine feature first appeared on November 19, 2010, under the heading "Go Figure". It was later titled "Acts of Mild Subversion".

2010 U.S. elections



Shortly after 538 relocated to The New York Times, Silver introduced his prediction models for the 2010 elections to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and state Governorships. Each of these models relied initially on a combination of electoral history, demographics, and polling. Silver eventually published detailed forecasts and analyses of the results for all three sets of elections.

2012 U.S. elections



Although throughout 2011 Silver devoted a lot of attention on his blog to the 2012 Republican party primaries, his first effort to handicap the 2012 Presidential general election appeared as the cover story in The New York Times Magazine a year prior to the election: "Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election". Accompanying the online release of this article, Silver also published "Choose Obama’s Re-Election Adventure," an interactive toy that allowed readers to predict the outcome of the election based on their assumptions about three variables: President Obama's favorability ratings, the rate of GDP growth, and how conservative the Republican opponent would be. This analysis stimulated a lot of critical discussion.

Mainstream media


Silver's self-unmasking at the end of May 2008 brought him a lot of publicity, much of it focused on his combined skill as both baseball statistician-forecaster and political statistician-forecaster, including articles about him in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

, Science News
Science News
Science News is an American bi-weekly magazine devoted to short articles about new scientific and technical developments, typically gleaned from recent scientific and technical journals. Science News has been published since 1922 by Society for Science & the Public, a non-profit organization...

, New York Magazine, and his hometown Lansing State Journal
Lansing State Journal
The Lansing State Journal is a daily newspaper published in Lansing, Michigan owned by Gannett.-Overview:The Lansing State Journal is the sole daily newspaper published in metropolitan Lansing...

.

In early June he began to cross-post his daily "Today's Polls" updates on "The Plank" in The New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

. Also, Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports is an American media company that publishes and distributes information based on public opinion polling. Founded by pollster Scott Rasmussen in 2003, the company updates daily indexes including the President's job approval rating, and provides public opinion data, analysis, and...

 began to use the FiveThirtyEight.com poll averages for its own tracking of the 2008 state-by-state races.

This added exposure provided him with opportunities to appear on CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's American Morning
American Morning
American Morning is the morning television show on CNN. It premiered in 2001.-About the show:American Morning is hosted by Ashleigh Banfield, Zoraida Sambolin & Soledad O'Brien. Others who appear regularly are Rob Marciano with the weather, Sunny Hostin on legal news, and CNN senior medical...

and D.L. Hughley Breaks the News
D.L. Hughley Breaks the News
D. L. Hughley Breaks the News was a comedy news show that aired on CNN from October 25, 2008 to March 2009, hosted and head written by comedian D. L. Hughley. On March 9, 2009, CNN announced that Hughley would be ending the show due to a desire to work in Los Angeles and be closer to his family...

,
MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

's Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Countdown with Keith Olbermann is an hour-long weeknight news and political commentary program that airs on Current TV, where it began airing on June 20, 2011. The program was broadcast on MSNBC from March 31, 2003, to January 21, 2011. On MSNBC, the show presented five selected news stories of...

and Hardball with Chris Matthews
Hardball with Chris Matthews
Hardball with Chris Matthews is a talk show on MSNBC, broadcast weekdays at 5 and 7 PM hosted by Chris Matthews. It originally aired on now-defunct America's Talking and later CNBC. The current title was derived from a book Matthews wrote in 1988, Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told by One Who...

, CNBC
CNBC
CNBC is a satellite and cable television business news channel in the U.S., owned and operated by NBCUniversal. The network and its international spinoffs cover business headlines and provide live coverage of financial markets. The combined reach of CNBC and its siblings is 390 million viewers...

's Fast Money
Fast Money (CNBC)
Fast Money is an American financial stock trading talk show that began airing on the CNBC cable/satellite TV channel on 2006-06-21. Since October 10, 2007, it has broadcast every weeknight at 5pm ET, one hour after the close of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, until mid-2011 when it was...

, Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

's The Colbert Report, WNYC
WNYC
WNYC is a set of call letters shared by a pair of co-owned, non-profit, public radio stations located in New York City.WNYC broadcasts on the AM band at 820 kHz, and WNYC-FM is at 93.9 MHz. Both stations are members of National Public Radio and carry distinct, but similar news/talk programs...

's The Brian Lehrer Show, HDNet
HDNet
HDNet is a men's interest television channel in the United States, broadcasting exclusively in high-definition format and available via cable and satellite television...

's Dan Rather Reports
Dan Rather Reports
Dan Rather Reports is a weekly news television show hosted by former CBS news anchor Dan Rather that airs on HDNet. After being broadcast, episodes are available on DVD and in the iTunes Store. Like all HDNet programming it is broadcast in high definition....

, Amy Goodman
Amy Goodman
Amy Goodman is an American progressive broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist, investigative reporter and author. Goodman is the host of Democracy Now!, an independent global news program broadcast daily on radio, television and the internet.-Early life:Goodman was born in Bay Shore, New York...

's Democracy Now!
Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

, PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
PBS NewsHour is an evening television news program broadcast weeknights on the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States. The show is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, a company co-owned by former anchors Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil, and Liberty Media, which owns a 65% stake in the...

, The Charlie Rose
Charlie Rose
Charles Peete "Charlie" Rose, Jr. is an American television talk show host and journalist. Since 1991 he has hosted Charlie Rose, an interview show distributed nationally by PBS since 1993...

 Show
, and The Rachel Maddow Show
The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series)
The Rachel Maddow Show is a news and opinion television program that airs weeknights on MSNBC at 9:00 p.m. ET. It is hosted by Rachel Maddow, who gained popularity with her frequent appearances as a liberal pundit on various MSNBC programs. It is based on her former radio show of the same name...

s
on both Air America Radio
Air America Radio
Air America was an American radio network specializing in progressive talk programming...

 and MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

, as well as to contribute essays and op ed columns to The New Republic, the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

, the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

, and Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

.

New York Magazine, on October 12, 2008, referred to Silver as "The Spreadsheet
Spreadsheet
A spreadsheet is a computer application that simulates a paper accounting worksheet. It displays multiple cells usually in a two-dimensional matrix or grid consisting of rows and columns. Each cell contains alphanumeric text, numeric values or formulas...

 Psychic
Psychic
A psychic is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception , or is said by others to have such abilities. It is also used to describe theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation, cold reading, and hot...

": "a number-crunching prodigy
Child prodigy
A child prodigy is someone who, at an early age, masters one or more skills far beyond his or her level of maturity. One criterion for classifying prodigies is: a prodigy is a child, typically younger than 18 years old, who is performing at the level of a highly trained adult in a very demanding...

 who went from correctly forecasting baseball games to correctly forecasting presidential primaries". Other commentators drew a parallel between Silver's baseball prognosticatons and his election forecasting in 2008: "The Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays are a member of the Eastern Division of MLB's American League. Since their inception in , the club has played at Tropicana Field...

 and Barack Obama have made 2008 the year of the surprise contender, though one man predicted both successes before nearly anyone else – and he sees a general election landslide for Obama over John McCain on Tuesday".

The celebrity that this attention brought to Silver sometimes took a curious form, including articles on Wonkette: The D.C. Gossip
Wonkette
Wonkette is a left-leaning American online magazine of topical satire and political gossip, established in 2004 by Gawker Media and founding editor Ana Marie Cox, and edited by Ken Layne from 2006 to 2011...

 and a Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 group entitled "There's a 97.3 Percent Chance that Nate Silver Is Totally My Boyfriend".

Throughout 2009, 2010, and 2011 Silver appeared several more times as a political analyst on national television, most frequently on MSNBC but also on CNN as well as Bloomberg Television
Bloomberg Television
Bloomberg Television is a 24-hour global network broadcasting business and financial news. It is distributed globally, reaching over 200 million homes worldwide. It is owned and operated by Bloomberg L.P...

, PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

, NPR, "Democracy Now!
Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

," and ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

.

Recognition and awards

  • In September 2008, FiveThirtyEight became the first blog ever selected as a Notable Narrative by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism
    Nieman Foundation for Journalism
    The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University is the primary journalism institution at Harvard. It was founded in 1938 as the result of a $1 million bequest by Agnes Wahl Nieman, the widow of Lucius W. Nieman, founder of The Milwaukee Journal...

     at Harvard University
    Harvard University
    Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

    .

  • On the day after the first McCain-Obama Presidential Debate
    United States presidential election debates, 2008
    The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates sponsored four debates for the 2008 U.S. presidential general election, which took place at various locations around the United States in September and October 2008...

    , Time Magazine's Joe Klein
    Joe Klein
    Joe Klein is a longtime Washington, D.C. and New York journalist and columnist, known for his novel Primary Colors, an anonymously written roman à clef portraying Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. Klein is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a former Guggenheim...

     observed on the magazine's "Swampland" blog: "If there's been a rookie of the year in this year's presidential campaign coverage, it's Nate Silver—a baseball stats guy who has turned his talents to politics and produced some of the most creative slicing and dicing of polling numbers at his website fivethirtyeight.com. Today's offering is typical Silver: he takes the snap polling results and weights them according to the issues the voters considered most important—and finds that Obama won, according to the cross tabs, on the more important issues, thereby accounting for his snap poll victories".


  • November 2008: Crain's Chicago Business
    Crain Communications Inc.
    Crain Communications Inc is a publishing conglomerate based in Detroit, Michigan. The company publishes a variety of trade newspapers, including some city-based business newspapers, such as Crain's Cleveland Business, Crain's Chicago Business, Crain's Detroit Business, and Crain's New York Business...

     profiled Silver as one of Chicago's "40 under 40" notable young entrepreneurs.

  • November 9, 2008: the New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

    called Silver "perhaps the most unlikely media star to emerge" out of "an election season of unlikely outcomes" and described FiveThirtyEight with its almost five million page views on Election Day as "one of the breakout online stars of the year".

  • December 2008: Newsweek.com
    Newsweek
    Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

     identified Silver's November 3, 2008 article "What to Watch For – An hour-by-hour guide to election night" as the 4th most viewed story on Newsweek.com in 2008.

  • December 2008: Silver was named by Huffington Post writer Jason Linkins as the #1 of the "Ten Things that Managed to Not Suck in 2008, Media Edition". "The uncanny, poll-wrangling, stats-freaking Nate Silver took it upon himself to demonstrate that some level of governable, rational reality could be brought to bear on the confusing world of competing tracking polls, and along the way all but cemented the geek-chic trajectory of this election season".

  • December 2008: named by The Daily Beast
    The Daily Beast
    The Daily Beast is an American news reporting and opinion website founded and published by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker as well as the short-lived Talk Magazine. The Daily Beast was launched on October 6, 2008, and is owned by IAC...

     as one of the "Breakout Stars of 2008": "Breakout Swami: NATE SILVER. In 2007, Nate Silver was mainly known as a world-class seamhead,http://www.seamheads.com/ a Baseball Prospectus geek who could do sexy things with ERAs. Then he started applying his statfreak principles to presidential politics under the pseudonym Poblano. When he finally outed himself in June 2008, it was clear that Silver and his website www.FiveThirtyEight.com had everyone’s number—his primary projections became gospel. In the end, though, Silver only correctly predicted how 49 of the 50 states would vote. Better luck in 2012".

  • February 2009: named by James Wolcott
    James Wolcott
    James Wolcott is an American journalist, known for his critique of contemporary media. Wolcott is the cultural critic for Vanity Fair and contributes to The New Yorker. He also writes a blog....

     in Vanity Fair
    Vanity Fair (magazine)
    Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

    as one of the "Winners of 2008": "No shiny arrow shot swifter and loftier from obscurity to quotable authority than Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight.com site became the expert sensation of the election season.... Not only did his disciplined models and microfine data mining command respect, his prognostications hit the Zen mark on Election Day.... Silver also became an instant cable-news savant, his geek-genius glasses and owlish mien worthy of a Starfleet sub-adjutant whose quadratic equations coolly foil an attack from a Romulan vessel while the senior officers are frantically poking at their touch screens".

  • January 2009: Silver was named by Forbes.com to its third annual "Web Celeb 25," which "track[s] the biggest and brightest stars on the Web, the people who have turned their passions into new-media empires. From stay-at-home moms to geek entrepreneurs, these are the people capturing eyes, influencing opinion and creating the new digital world".

  • April 2009: Silver was named as one of the "Rolling Stone 100: Agents of Change".

  • April 27, 2009: named "Blogger of the Year" by The Week
    The Week
    The Week, styled as THE WEEK, is a weekly news magazine.-History:It was founded in the United Kingdom by Jolyon Connell in 1995. In April 2001, the magazine began publishing an American edition; an Australian edition followed in October 2008. Dennis Publishing publishes the U.K. and Australian...

    in its 6th annual Opinion Awards. The commendation stated: "Nate Silver of Fivethirtyeight.com was arguably the most important blogger of the 2008 presidential election, translating a flood of poll numbers into a narrative that was both compelling and trustworthy. By Election Night — when Fivethirtyeight.com declared the race for Obama at 8:46 p.m., an hour and 14 minutes before the mainstream media did — Silver had already established himself as the most reliable caller of the political horse race".

  • April 30, 2009: Silver was named one of "The World's 100 Most Influential People"
    Time 100
    Time 100 is an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, as assembled by Time. First published in 1999 as a result of a debate among several academics, the list has become an annual event.-History and format:...

     by TIME Magazine.

  • December 2009: Silver was recognized by The New York Times Magazine
    The New York Times Magazine
    The New York Times Magazine is a Sunday magazine supplement included with the Sunday edition of The New York Times. It is host to feature articles longer than those typically in the newspaper and has attracted many notable contributors...

    in its "Ninth Annual Year in Ideas" article for his "Forensic Polling Analysis" of the possible falsification of data by a polling firm.

  • November 2010: John F. Harris
    John F. Harris
    John F. Harris is an American political journalist and the editor in chief for Politico, an Arlington, Virginia based political news organization. With Politico executive editor, Jim VandeHei, Harris founded Politico for its launch on January 23, 2007...

    , Editor-in-Chief of Politico writing in Forbes Magazine listed Nate Silver as one of seven bloggers among "The Most Powerful People on Earth": "The New York Times recently began hosting Nate Silver's delightfully granular blog about the numbers that underlie politics".

  • May 2011: Presented the Henry Pringle Lecture
    Henry F. Pringle
    Henry Fowles Pringle was an American historian and journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for his 1931 biography of Theodore Roosevelt....

     at the Columbia Journalism School
    Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
    The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is one of Columbia's graduate and professional schools. It offers three degree programs: Master of Science in journalism , Master of Arts in journalism and a Ph.D. in communications...

    .

Personal life


Nate Silver is a grandnephew of Leon Silver
Leon Silver
Leon Theodore "Lee" Silver . Professor of Geology at California Institute of Technology , was an instructor to the Apollo 13, 15, 16, and 17 astronaut crews...

, geologist.

After residing in Chicago, Illinois for twelve years, Silver moved to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 2009.

Silver has long been interested in fantasy baseball
Fantasy baseball
Fantasy baseball is a game where participants manage an imaginary roster of real Major League baseball players. The participants compete against one another using those players' real life statistics to score points...

, especially Scoresheet Baseball. While in college he served as an expert on Scoresheet Baseball for BaseballHQ
Ron Shandler
Ron Shandler is the author of Baseball Forecaster, an annual publication focused on applying sabermetrics to fantasy baseball, and founder of , a website with the same focus....

. When he took up political writing, Silver abandoned his blog, The Burrito Bracket, in which he ran a one-and-done competition among the taquerias in his Wicker Park
Wicker Park, Chicago
Wicker Park is a Chicago neighborhood northwest of the Loop, south of Bucktown and west of Pulaski Park within West Town. Charles and Joel Wicker purchased of land along Milwaukee Avenue in 1870 and laid out a subdivision with a mix of lot sizes surrounding a park...

 neighborhood in Chicago.

In 2010, Out
Out (magazine)
Out is a popular gay and lesbian fashion, entertainment, and lifestyle magazine, with the highest circulation of any gay monthly publication in the United States. It carries itself in a similar editorial manner to Details, Esquire, and GQ. Out was published by PlanetOut Inc...

magazine included Silver among their top 100 GLBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 people of the year.

In his spare time, Silver uses his analytical approach at the poker table where he plays semi-professionally.

Blogs


Other