New York Times election analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight will appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday at 11pm. It will be his second time on the show and the first since his spat with media pundits about his quantitative method (very simply put, numbers over feelings). It was said that Silver's career would be over if Obama lost the presidency. Well, Obama won, so we can expect Silver and liberal leaning Stewart to revel in their victory, make some geeky statistician jokes, and quip on cable news punditry — coincidentally the very ones Stewart is supposed to be a satire of.
As I have previously written Silver got a lot of flack for his seeming over-reliance on statistical models that consistently gave Obama a strong chance of winning. While the news media constantly reported a razor thin race Silver had the chances of Obama winning going as high as 91%. Now that Obama has won solidly in the electoral vote count, Silver's models have spoken for themselves. He was right in every state including the battleground states. So now the foil of pundits gets to sit with the satirist of pundits in cynical glory.
Silver will surely not insist that punditry is doomed, but he should suggest that they should base their prognostications empirical and statistical reality. Stewart will be sure to say the talking heads on TV are obsolete now that a new geek is in town. Who knows? Maybe some young kids will be inspired to become statisticians? While we have heard many theories on Romney's loss from the very talking heads that despise Silver, we will get a chance to hear Silver explain it while being goaded out of too much geek talk by Stewart. I imagine there might also be a discussion as to the future of cable news. Its 24/7 coverage has been usurped by the internet and social media and now it's expertise has been overtaken by mathematicians. How Silver will respond to this is anyone’s guess.
The interview will stray into serious topics and analysis, but jokes will abound and the mood will be high with Obama's victory. There is one joking question I am sure Jon Stewart will ask Nate Silver: “Why even have elections if you can just tell us who's going to be president?” And I say that with 100% certainty.
Here's Silver on The Daily Show on Oct. 17: