Predicting the upcoming Democratic primary, Nate Silver said, feels a bit like filling out a March Madness bracket: There’s a favorite, but that favorite may only have about a one-in-five chance of winning.
“This is one of the messy elections,” said Silver, AB’00, the FiveThirtyEight founder whose data-driven political prognostication turned him into a household name. “There’s no way that someone’s going to just totally coast to victory. You’re going to have trench warfare, I think.”
The 2020 election was one of the topics that Silver discussed with Prof. Austan Goolsbee during a Feb. 7 talk hosted by the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics—the first event held inside the Harris School of Public Policy’s new Keller Center forum. Welcoming Silver was fitting, Dean Katherine Baicker said, given Harris’ “evidence-based, analytically rigorous” approach.
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In a conversation with Goolsbee, the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Silver outlined his path from professional poker player to political analyst, responded to criticism of his 2016 predictions and broke down what he thought might happen in next year’s election.