#248: Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight

On this 5th Anniversary episode, Kristen and Margie are joined by founder of FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver. Nate founded Five Thirty Eight after being tired of the media covering politics with a lack of data.

Iowa Primary
The three cover the topic of Iowa and how the polls should be looked at along with the actual results in Iowa. Nate breaks down Iowa’s system of using preferences in voting in their primary process and discusses how that makes Iowa difficult to poll.

The Des Moines Register, Ann Selzer poll was not published due to an error in polling. However, it was ended up being leaked prior to the Iowa Caucus. Nate believes that human error is a part of anything in life, even polling. In the case of the Ann Selzer poll he believes that the errors in the poll could have been fixed and published at a later date, instead of the chaos that ensued with the errors in the poll due to a tight deadline that was set.

Models in Polling
A model is a statistical algorithm that produces results. In polling models are statistics that are used to represent the world. Nate discusses the difficulties behind trying to build a model for the entire Democratic Nomination process. He shares that FiveThirtyEight focuses on predicting the outcome and as a result they focus more on topline numbers.

The Silent Trump Vote
It has been claimed that silent Trump voters played a role in the 2016 election, Kristen asks Nate if silent or shy Trump voters could play a roll in the upcoming 2020 Presidential election.

Find Nate Silver on Twitter @NateSilver538

Listen to the FiveThirtyEight Podcast Here!