Nate Silver Blog Now Seen by 20% of ‘New York Times’ Visitors
If you’ve been anxiously hitting the refresh button on Nate Silver’s election statistics blog, fivethirtyeight.com, you’re not alone.
Fivethirtyeight, licensed and hosted by the New York Times since 2010, collects all polls and aggregates them in an algorithm that accounts for their historical accuracy. An electoral vote estimate, and the probability of each candidate winning, is offered. Famously, Silver’s model predicted 49 out of 50 states in 2008, and everything but the exact number of GOP seats in the House (for which there were few polls) in 2010.
That’s no mean feat. NYTimes.com is currently the sixth-most visited news site in the US, garnering 573 million page views in September 2012 alone. Assuming increased interest for the election, that works out to 30 million page views a day — and six million views for Fivethirtyeight on Monday alone.
What may never be known: how many of those views were from Obama supporters looking to reassure themselves, eager for any new information. (They were rewarded at the end of the day, when Silver’s model flipped Florida from light pink to light blue.)
The Fivethirtyeight algorithm now shows Obama winning 313 electoral votes, with a 90.9% chance of victory for the President. That’s actually conservative compared to other poll-aggregating algorithms; the nonpartisan Princeton Election Consortium gives Obama a 99.2% chance of winning.
Are Silver’s numbers on the right track, or have we become too focused on polls? Give us your take in the comments.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Nate Silver was responsible for 20% of all New York Times traffic on Monday. In fact, 20% of visitors to the New York Times site stopped by Fivethirtyeight.com. The figure rose to 27% on election day, according to the Times.
Image via Flickr, jdlasica
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