Democrats want statistician Nate Silver "thrown to the wolves," after he forecast
that Republicans will win the Senate in 2014, radio talk host Rush Limbaugh
Silver "became a hero" to Democrats after using his data analysis to predict the outcomes of the 2008 and 2012 presidential races, Limbaugh said this week. Even though there were reports in 2012 that there would be a huge turnout to elect Mitt Romney, Silver, who then worked for The New York Times, said Obama would win and Democrats were happy, Limbaugh said.
"Nate Silver has just predicted better than 50-50 Republicans win the Senate, and now [Democrats are] turning on him," Limbaugh said.
Silver has moved his FiveThirtyEight blog to ESPN, where he's again working as a sports statistician analyst while still doing political analysis. Democrats who once loved the results are now doubting his methods, Limbaugh said.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee head Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado said
that he thinks Silver has his numbers wrong, "which is unusual for Nate. In this case, I look forward to talking to him after the election."
Further, committee Executive Director Guy Cecil criticized Silver in a memo, arguing that he and his FiveThirtyEight.com staff were disproportionately basing their analyses on GOP polling data.
Paul Krugman, a Times columnist, described Silver's website as looking "like something between a disaster and a disappointment." In addition, Krugman, a Prize-winning liberal economist at Princeton University, said Silver had not properly developed his analytical tools.
They and other Democrats are "doing everything they can now to disqualify Nate Silver, to say he doesn't know what he's talking about," said Limbaugh, particularly slamming Krugman.
"Are you just gonna throw out the models that show bad news for your side," he said of Krugman, comparing the argument to arguments made about global warming, which also depend on computer algorithms.
Limbaugh also said he does not believe Silver would have been allowed to make such projections if he still worked for the Times.
"If Nate Silver were working at The New York Times and produced this body of work on the 2012 or 2014 midterms coming up, why, I think the roasting he would get would be horrible," said Limbaugh. "I mean, they'd have kick him out. They'd call him a traitor."
But to Democrats, Silver "was god...the final authority," Limbaugh said.
"Nate Silver was the guy that all these worried, paranoid Democrats relied upon for their sanity," Limbaugh said. "This is what they tend to do. They invest in a singular, messianic personality — and when that person doesn't follow what they hope or want, then they are challenged."
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