15 Fun Stats About Number Wizard Nate Silver

A Look at the Data on Election Night's Prediction Guru

By Published on .

Nate Silver
Nate Silver Credit: Bloomberg
President Barack Obama won another term in the White House, but it was Nate Silver who likely got one of the biggest brand boosts of the night. While plenty of people -- especially some on the right -- were hoping his electoral predictions would be wrong, Mr. Silver, who writes for The New York Times, was right.

366,928: Number of Twitter followers he had as of 10 a.m. the day after the election.

$700,000: Advance for "The Signal and the Noise," the book he published in September 2012, and another book, as part of a deal with Penguin Group.

$15,000: Amount he won playing online poker during one six-month period.

$4,974: Average overall rent in Silver's Brooklyn Heights neighborhood in New York, from where he blogs, as of the first quarter of 2012.

2000: Year he graduated from the University of Chicago as an economics grad.

$1,000: Amount that Silver, via Twitter, bet MSNBC's Joe Scarborough that his predictive model would prove accurate. Mr. Scarborough didn't take the bet but Silver donated that amount to charity anyway.

300: How many hits his very first blog post on FiveThirtyEight.com, which he established in 2008, received.

50: Number of states (plus the District of Columbia) for which Silver accurately predicted the winner in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

34: Age

20%: The percentage of traffic that The New Republic reported Mr. Silver alone was responsible for driving to the New York Times website on the Monday before Election Day.

19: How many taquerias he'd frequent within a five-mile perimeter (naturally, he counted) while living in Wicker Park in Chicago. At that time, he maintained a lesser-known and far-less-scientific blog dubbed "The Burrito Bracket," which pitted neighborhood Mexican fare against each other based on factors such as meat texture, garnishes on the plate, and the way each burrito triggered the five senses.

8: Where on The New York Times Best Sellers list his book "The Signal and the Noise" landed for all non-fiction e-books after its first week in print.

4: According to LinkedIn, number of years he worked as a consultant at accounting firm KPMG before becoming a statistician, economic consultant and blogger.

1: The number of states in the 2008 general election that he didn't accurately predict; that year Mr. Obama beat John McCain in Indiana by 0.9%.

.249 Lifetime batting average of Bill Pecota, journeyman MLB player, after whom Silver named the system he created for forecasting and tracking baseball players' performance. That system is what originally won Silver recognition for his number-crunching ability. PECOTA is used as an acronym that stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm.

Sources: Crain's Chicago Business, Crain's New York Business, New York Times, RentJuice, LinkedIn, Wikipedia.

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