Seeking solace in data

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

I think many of us can relate to this during the odd election cycle. Marcus Wohlsen for Wired describes the constant visits and refreshes to FiveThirtyEight for new polls and projections.

Evan is a poll obsessive, FiveThirtyEight strain—a subspecies I recognize because I’m one of them, too. When he wakes up in the morning, he doesn’t shower or eat breakfast before checking the Nate Silver-founded site’s presidential election forecast (sounds about right). He keeps a tab open to FiveThirtyEight’s latest poll list; a new poll means new odds in the forecast (yup). He get push alerts on his phone when the forecast changes (check). He follows the 538 Forecast Bot, a Twitter account that tweets every time the forecast changes (same). In all, Evan says he checks in hourly, at least while he’s awake (I plead the Fifth).

This was me for a while, and no matter what the forecasts say, I never feel good about what I see. Because there’s always a chance.


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