Rockstar statistician Nate Silver, who became the 2012 election’s second biggest winner after predicting results with eerie accuracy, is moving from the New York Times to ESPN and ABC in what many are joking is so surprising a move not even Silver himself would have predicted it.
If you didn’t know Nate Silver‘s name before the election, you might have heard it in a post-election running joke on social media sites that centered around the assumed swagger the math whiz might have after the huge success of his predictions.
Silver — who began his career doing the same trick but with baseball — got to do a victory lap in 2012 when his prognostications (mainly that Barack Obama would win, and in a specific way) — all came to pass.
His departure from the New York Times was covered by the Times itself, and the paper noted that the move would likely be interpreted as a loss given Silver’s massive q-rating jump in the later part of 2012:
“Mr. Silver’s three-year contract with The Times is set to expire in late August and his departure will most likely be interpreted as a blow to the company, which has promoted Mr. Silver and his brand of poll-based projections. He gained such prominence in 2012 that President Obama joked that Mr. Silver had accurately predicted which turkeys the president would pardon that Thanksgiving. ‘Nate Silver completely nailed it,’ he said. ‘The guy’s amazing.’ “
After the 2012 election, Silver spawned his own Twitter meme known as “drunk Nate Silver,” stemming from one tweet joking that the stats guru was drunkenly roaming the subways, telling riders with accuracy the day they would die:
Drunk Nate Silver is riding the subway, telling strangers the day they will die
— Dan Levitan (@levitandan) November 8, 2012
Drunk Nate Silver getting beaten up for winning at three card Monty on the street.
— Ernie Luckman (@ErnieLies) November 8, 2012
Drunk Nate Silver waits 20 minutes for the G train, nods silently when it arrives, walks out of the station
— Josh Fruhlinger (@jfruh) November 8, 2012
Drunk Nate Silver disagreeing with Taylor Swift, projecting with 91% certainty that we are actually getting back together next January.
— Luis Paez-Pumar (@paezpumarL) November 8, 2012
Nate Silver’s contract with the New York Times expires in August. The paper adds in its report of Silver’s departure that the relationship was “mutually beneficial,” but that Silver “also occasionally hinted in interviews and public appearances that the relationship was tense at times.”