Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Move over Nate Silver - Davidson's Putnam also spot on in calling Obama's electoral votes

Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight blog appears in the New York Times, might be getting the spotlight for his statistical modelling that was spot-on in predicting the results of the presidential election. He accurately called which candidate would take electoral votes in all 50 states (assuming Florida stays in President Obama's corner as the final tally comes in). He also appears to get right - or close to it - the the popular vote count percentage win for Obama.

But there were experts closer to home who got the prediction right as well.

Just a few miles from Charlotte, Davidson College visiting professor Josh Putnam, whose blog FrontloadingHQ has been a hit with political junkies from both parties, said more than a month ago that Obama could carry every swing state he carried the last time with the exception of Indiana and possibly North Carolina. That would mean, he said, 332 electoral votes for Obama and 206 for Romney. Putnam had this same prediction on his blog in July.

Drew Linzer, an assistant professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta and a former pollster based in California, predicted on the website on Tuesday morning that Obama would get 332 electoral votes and Romney 206. And his model for votamatic had been making that same prediction since June.

Farther away, Sam Wang, a Princeton University professor of neuroscience, had the race called at 332 electoral votes for Obama until 2 p.m. Tuesday when he moved Florida's 29 electoral votes to Mitt Romney, making it 303 for Obama and 235 for Romney. They're still counting in Florida so we'll see.

But it's great to see nerdy mathematicians getting some glory. It's also swell to see those anti-math, anti-science critics who pooh-poohed statistical analysis looking a little chagrined.

Posted by Fannie Flono