Many of you, no doubt, have been enjoying Poblano's work this primary season as much as I have. Both in his diaries here and on his excellent website, www.fivethirtyeight.com, he has given us the kind of detailed, number-crunching, reality-based election analysis that is unmatched anywhere in the traditional/mainstream media. Well today, Poblano has decided to pull back the curtain:
There are certain pleasures in writing anonymously. Particularly in the political world, where there is a whole mythology associated with anonymity -- think Deep Throat or Primary Colors or Atrios. But I'm fortunate enough to have been granted the opportunity to develop some relationships with larger outlets (you should see these coming to fruition very soon). And it just ain't very professional to keep referring to yourself as a chili pepper.
My real name is Nate Silver and my principal occupation has been as a writer, analyst and partner at a sports media company called Baseball Prospectus. What we do over there and what I'm doing over here are really quite similar. Both baseball and politics are data-driven industries. But a lot of the time, that data might be used badly. In baseball, that may mean looking at a statistic like batting average when things like on-base percentage and slugging percentage are far more correlated with winning ballgames. In politics, that might mean cherry-picking a certain polling result or weaving together a narrative that isn't supported by the demographic evidence.
So if you catch me overusing baseball metaphors in my political writing or political metaphors in my baseball writing -- this is my excuse.
As a subscriber to Baseball Prospectus for the last two years I'm delighted by this news. For those of you who are not baseball nerds like I am, Nate is the creator of PECOTA, the most accurate publically available projection system in baseball. So if it wasn't obvious from his results so far this primary season that he knows what the hell he's doing, here's a little more confirmation. So Nate, I guess we'll have to wait for a non-election year to get those mid-season PECOTAs, huh :)