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Has Nate Silver Lost All His Credibility With Brazil’s Loss?

Speaking of pollsters, we have this from the UK’s Telegraph:

Nate Silver’s failure as celebrated as Brazil’s collapse

Collateral damage of Germany’s humiliation of Brazil could be Nate Silver’s reputation as a predictor of events

By Jocelyn Spottiswoode | 09 Jul 2014

The world may still be reeling from last night’s World Cup semi-Final between Germany and Brazil, but none more so than Nate Silver the celebrated statistician behind the fivethiryeight blog. Silver had pegged Brazil as the favourites to win the cup and stated their chances of success against Germany last night at 65%.

Silver shot to prominence during the 2008 presidential elections when writing, initially under the pseudonym Poblano on the blog Daily Kos, before transferring to his own site in partnership with the New York Times in 2008.

Naturally, the NYT would be enamored of anyone posting at the Daily Kos.

Since then he has gained public recognition for his PECOTA system which forecasted the performances and career developments for major league baseball players.

PECOTA is not particularly accurate. And, lest we forget, Mr. Silver was not even close when it came to the 2010 midterms. He missed the Republican’s historic landslide by a country mile.

Throughout the game the 538 Twitter account, now aligned with sports broadcaster ESPN, was tweeting facts, figures and other statistics defending its position.

At 9.52pm, with two of Brazil’s top players out, Silver reassured the world that ‘the players replacing Neymar are going to be well above average.

Silver [Tweeted]: ‘According to espn’s SPI, which our model uses, odds of GER scoring 5+ goals was 0.7%. A 5-0 final score? 1-in-1250.’

Hours after the final whistle, Silver was still defending his odds on Twitter: ‘BRA had a 1-in-4,000 chance of losing to #GER 7-1’ at 3.58am.

Twitter is filled with people either defending or questioning Silver’s model and the perhaps over mathematical approach to the world cup…

How can anyone question a computer model? It’s settled science!

Silver may have confessed that he underestimated the importance that the loss of Neymar and Silva would play but will people now stop trusting his predictions, and not just in sport? …

That’s easy. Nate Silver hasn’t lost his credibility in politics. At least not yet. Not as long as he always gives the Democrats a leg up.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, July 10th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

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