As Amazed as Whom?

"I'm as amazed as everyone else by the results on Tuesday night." -- Andrew Sullivan

Everyone else? Tuesday morning, my wife said to me, "This is going to be really close, huh?"

"No," I replied, "Obama is going to win fairly easily."

"What makes you say that?"

"Nate Silver."

It was not merely his predictions, nor even mostly his predictions: it was his extensive explanations as to why his model was getting the results it was getting. They made sense. And they were pretty clearly simply an attempt to get things right, rather than a partisan effort to influence things. Of course it was not certain things would go the way the model said they would. But it was a pretty safe bet. (In case you think this is useless postdiction, I publicly offered to bet Kate Pitrone, who was claiming Romney would win easily, several hundred dollars with odds well in her favor. She declined.)


  1. If your wife was thinking in terms of the popular vote rather than the dynamics of the electoral college and swing states, she'd be right.

    I too abandoned my armchair punditry after discovering Silver's methods when he ran fivethirtyeight in the last election.

    Did you consider betting on Intrade?

  2. Serious question: did you previous object to the use of bet-willingness as an estimate of subjective uncertainty?

    1. I don't think so: that is usually how I have interpreted it. But I certainly don't remember everything I've objected to!


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