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Politics has its "Moneyball" moment thanks to baseball sabermetrician

By November 7, 2012

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The world of politics had a "Moneyball" moment thanks to a baseball guy.

Nate Silver is a big name in the news these days, and it's not from developing PECOTA, a sabermetrics system for evaluating baseball players that he developed for Baseball Prospectus last decade and is undoubtedly used extensively in MLB front offices these days.

These days, Silver, just 34, is running the FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times, which crunches together many political polls to create an aggregation, sort of super-poll that attempts to remove biases and balance the polls with demographic data, weighing polls by their historical track record and other factors.

In the days before the U.S. presidential election, Silver went out on a limb and declared that President Barack Obama had a significant statistical advantage over Mitt Romney and essentially called the election for Obama -- he said Obama had a 83.7 percent chance of winning two days before the election, a move that raised eyebrows and was ridiculed in many circles by the establishment. Most pollsters had the race too close to call and others had it leaning toward Romney on Election Day.

What happened Tuesday? The former baseball sabermatrician correctly picked all 50 states.

Kind of sounds like a baseball book and movie from a couple years ago. The stat guys win again.




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