The other night, Nate Silver got a little taste of what things are going to be like for him, post-Election 2012.
The 34-year-old statistician, unabashed numbers geek, author and creator of the much-read FiveThirtyEight blog at The New York Times had gone out for a drink with friends on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. But he couldn’t stay incognito; immediately, he says, people sitting at the bar recognized him.
He was surprised, but probably shouldn’t have been. After all, for 24 hours, ever since his election forecasts had proved uncannily successful — he correctly predicted the presidential winner in all 50 states, and almost all the Senate races — he’d been hailed as the election’s “other winner,” who’d silenced doubters and proved the value of a cool-headed, math-based approach.
That very night, he’d appeared on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” for the second time in three weeks. “Don’t you want to stand up and say, `I am Nate Silver, bow down to me!!”‘ Stewart roared, as the bespectacled Silver sat and chuckled. His name was trending on Twitter and he was the subject of a satirical Twitter hashtag, “Drunk Nate Silver.” The Hollywood Reporter said he’d “made statistics sexy again.” Many called his story a real-life “Revenge of the Nerds” tale.
And, oh, his new book had soared to No. 2 on Amazon, after he linked to it on Twitter an hour after the first network call for President Barack Obama. (“This is probably a good time to link to my book,” he’d tweeted at 12:13 a.m. — the closest he came to gloating.)
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