I now realize that his use of statistical modeling has changed, at least among leadership and policy elites, our ability to think and talk about statistical methods and mathematical modeling. As such that has huge implications for the future.
Now you can say something like — “Oh well, I wonder if we should try a Monte Carlo simulation on this — you know, like Nate Silver does . . .”
Moreover, this increasing sensitivity to probabilities in outcomes — something still very threatening to the law — will reduce our systems psychic barriers to research and increase our understanding of their implications and thus of our abiity to make use of them. This will be particularly important in our triage and simplification work.
Of course, if Nate turns out to be wrong in his predictions tonight, the Pulitzer Committee may be a little less open to the idea.
Update: The Romney campaign has now conceded Florida, and so Nate hits 100%.
Update 2: The New Republic notes that the day before the election, 20% of visitors to the Times site looked at Nate’s blog.
Earlier this year, approximately 1 percent of visits to the New York Times included FiveThirtyEight. Last week, that number was 13 percent. Yesterday, it was 20 percent. That is, one in five visitors to the sixth-most-trafficked U.S. news site took a look at Silver’s blog.