• 05.13.13

Nate Silver’s Greatest Hits

The data guru isn’t perfect–he once said Texas governor Rick Perry had a good chance at the Republican presidential nomination. But it’s uncanny how often Silver hits the bull’s-eye.

Nate Silver’s Greatest Hits

The Ballplayers

In 2011, the Boston Red Sox seemed destined for postseason glory. But late in the season, Silver saw signs of an ominous losing streak and wondered, statistically, if they were headed toward a collapse of historic proportions. They were. The team didn’t even make the playoffs.


The Politicians

Silver’s presidential predictions made him famous. He correctly called the winner in 49 of 50 states in 2008 and 50 of 50 states in 2012. His predictions for U.S. Senate have been just as good. In 2008, he predicted the winner in 35 out of 35 races. Four years later, he went 31 for 33.

The Oscars

Silver tweaked his models for the Academy Awards in 2011. He was right in four of the five major categories, including best picture (The King’s Speech) and best actress (Natalie Portman).

The Final Four

When the 2013 NCAA bracket was announced, Silver called Louisville the favorite, giving the Cardinals a 22.7% chance of winning. By the Final Four, he boosted the team’s chances to 55%. Louisville handily beat Michigan in the finals.

The Weather

Silver tends to avoid meteorology, but in 2011, after exploring correlations between wind speed and financial damages, he sounded a dire alert about Hurricane Irene’s potential economic impact on New York. Silver’s warning of multibillion-dollar losses was on the mark.

[Image: Flickr user Eran Sandler]