Fivethirtyeight.com -- If you like politics and statistics, you now have a new favorite website
Aug 6, 2009
Fivethirtyeight.com (named after the number of electors in the electoral college) uses statistical analysis to interpret polling results and provide an informed projection of likely political outcomes. It combines that with an analysis of the political events of the day to provide insight into the political process and the thought processes of the various players.
While that sounds really dry, it is actually terrifically interesting as a site if you are into politics or statistics, and especially if you like both. The main contributor to the site, Nate Silver, enjoys proposing fairly outlandish ideas (like the Republicans raising taxes) as a way to explain the current state of politics and reexamine the core ideas we have about the two parties. He has no problem calling out ridiculous positions by both Democrats and Republicans, and loves to deconstruct the common wisdom about events using whatever data is available.
While in many ways, the site differs significantly from the Economist, those who like the Economist will find commonalities in fivethirtyeight.com. Both are willing to call a liar a liar, are willing to reveal untruths and patent misrepresenations, and both specialize in informed analysis.