Statistics Take Over Election Night

by Vianka McConville

Depending on who you talked to, both parties had a fighting chance on election night.  While many missed the mark, Nate Silver called it like he saw it … and was completely right.

If you don’t know, Silver is a statistician and blogger for The New York TimesFiveThirtyEight blog.  Through mathematical magic, he correctly predicted the winner of each state (plus the District of Columbia) for the 2012 presidential election.  In 2008, he was wrong by one state.

Silver took heat in the days leading up to the election for reporting the opposite of what people felt would occur.  Now, there is talk of election coverage making a change due to Silver’s accuracy.  What does this mean for communicators?  It’s time to brush up on math.

I expect a shift in political coverage from pundits with a wild opinion to those who let the numbers speak for themselves.  Media will be looking for statistical data in upcoming years to back up predictions.  A campaign manager will no longer be able to avoid the elephant in the room.  The numbers won’t lie.

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