Polling whiz Nate Silver was the second-biggest star of the 2012 election cycle with his spot on predictions about the outcomes of a scary number of votes — but the projections prodigy may call it a day if he feels like his super-accurate predictions start to influence elections to a measurable degree.
If you somehow missed Nate Silver, he is the man behind the popular New York Times blog, FiveThirtyEight. But speaking at a Washington University talk last week, Silver — who served both as a pollster and a cuddly, fact-stuffed teddy bear for liberals during the heated election season — said that if he suspects his projections interfere, he’s outtie.
“The polls can certainly affect elections at times … I hope people don’t take the forecasts too seriously. You’d rather have an experiment where you record it off from the actual voters, in a sense, but we’ll see. If it gets really weird in 2014, in 2016, then maybe I’ll stop doing it. I don’t want to influence the democratic process in a negative way.”
“I’m [hoping to make] people more informed, I don’t want to affect their motive because they trust the forecasters.”
In the talk about leaving the political projections game, the paper described Nate Silver as having “spent an hour minimizing his achievements as an auspicious combination of decent blogging and statistical analysis in his Monday night lecture.”