2013-05: The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, reviewed by Lisa Goldberg


Who will win the next election? What are the chances that your neighbor, Sam, will correctly predict the outcome of the next US presidential election? If Sam does not pay attention to the media, or perhaps even if he does, we might assume that his forecasts are just as good as a sequence of coin flips.1 This means that the probability that Sam will get a single state right is one half and the chances that he’ll correctly forecast the winner of the next election, say, in 49 out of 50 states, is vanishingly small:

       P(49 states right) = 50 · .5 49(1 − .5)1

                                      = 4.44 × 10−14 

Publication date: 
September 25, 2013
Publication type: 
2013 Working Papers