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Success of one man after using Bayes’ Theorem to correctly predict the 2012 Presidential election

By using the Bayes’ theorem, statistician Nate Silver correctly predicted the 2012 Presidential election.  Bayes’ theorem is a formula that was created by Thomas Bayes to “provide a way to revise existing predictions or theories given new or additional evidence” (Investopedia). Silver drew significant attention in 2012 after correctly forecasting the election outcomes in all 50 states. Utilizing the Bayes’ theorem, Silver was able to calculate new probabilities for each level of support.  In his book, The Signal and the Noise, Silver applies the Bayes’ theorem in many different examples. “The idea behind Bayes’ theorem, however, is not that we update our probability estimates just once. Instead, we do so continuously as new evidence presents itself to us,” Silver explains in his book.

In 2008, Silver developed FiveThirtyEight, a website that makes use of statistics and analytics to help support or refute arguments in a variety of disciplines ranging from politics, economics, science, life and sports. Silver named his in reference to the United States Electoral College that is corresponding to 435 members of the House of Representatives, 100 senators and three additional electors for the District of Columbia.  In 2010, it became a licensed feature of The New York Times and the blog was renamed to FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s Political Calculus.  In 2014, however, Silver moved his blog again. Now in ESPN, Silver did not sell to the highest bidder, but instead went where he could maintain his own voice, which is important to him, while still gaining the exposure and support he needed from the large media companies.






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November 2014