The ‘Nate Silver Effect’ Is Changing Journalism. Is That Good?

The near-year since Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory has been filled with soul-searching and recriminations among those who research public opinion and those who write about it. A conversation around whether polls failed has hardened into two main camps: one blaming the data, the other blaming the media.

But this version of the debate misses the point. The problem isn’t simply flawed data or the media’s misuse of it; these problems cannot be separated. Political journalism has become infatuated with opinion polls—what some have called a “Nate Silver Effect”—and yet news organizations remain ill-equipped to make sense of the flood of data. CONT.

Benjamin Toff (U. of Minnesota), Politico Magazine