Monday, Aug. 24, 2009


One of the welcome developments of the 2008 U.S. presidential election was the emergence of Nate Silver, a baseball statistician who applied his techniques to analyzing the avalanche of election poll data on his website FiveThirtyEight. Time and again, Silver's predictions proved more accurate than those of "experts" because of his methodology (he aggregated all the polls, weighting them according to their individual accuracy to create his special poll of polls). Pollster also aggregates this data, but it has a Web interface that allows you to remix it on the fly. Is there a poll you don't trust? Throw it out! Want a different smoothing algorithm? Change it! How much difference does it even make? Magnify the X and Y axes with a mouse-click and find out. Pollster supplies all the data that a budding Nate Silver could ever need.