The first thing you need to understand about all of this is that some political pundits don’t like polling analyst Nate Silver (above). They don’t appreciate how he uses mathematical analysis to read the political tea leaves while they depend on non-scientific analysis based largely on their schmoozing with supposedly knowledgable sources.
Silver seems to think most pundits are full of crap. And, of course, he made a lot of them look bad when he correctly predicted the outcome of presidential balloting in each of the 50 states while they promoted the neck-and-neck meme to the very end.
Shortly before the election, Politico.com carried a piece that dismissed Silver as a flash in the plan and envisioned him looking like a fool if Mitt Romney won the contest.
That’s background enough for you to appreciate THIS:
New York Times polling guru Nate Silver took aim at Politico’s brand of reporting on Friday, saying the Washington-based news outlet covers politics like sports but “not in an intelligent way at all.”
Reflecting on Politico’s pre-election criticism of his FiveThirtyEight model, Silver told Grantland’s Bill Simmons on his “B.S. Report” podcast:
What was remarkable to me is that you had some, like, journalist for, um, Politico, or something … who, like, tweeted … ‘All Nate’s doing is averaging polls and counting electoral votes?’ … ‘That’s the secret sauce?’ It’s like, well, yeah, and the fact that you can’t comprehend that very basic thing … that says more about you than, than about me, right?”
The tweet Silver is referring to came from Politico’s Jonathan Martin, and actually reads: “Avert your gaze, liberals: Nate Silver admits he’s simply averaging public polls and there is no secret sauce.” Martin linked to a piece by his Politico colleague Dylan Byers, who wrote the definitive piece of Silver skepticism during the 2012 cycle. In the piece — headlined “Nate Silver: One-term celebrity?” — Byers considered the possibility of Silver’s star power dimming if Mitt Romney became president.
“Prediction is the name of Silver’s game, the basis for his celebrity,” Byers wrote in late October. “So should Mitt Romney win on Nov. 6, it’s difficult to see how people can continue to put faith in the predictions of someone who has never given that candidate anything higher than a 41 percent chance of winning (way back on June 2) and — one week from the election — gives him a one-in-four chance, even as the polls have him almost neck-and-neck with the incumbent.”