Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sabermetrics + politics = win!

Yep, that's right. I knew this Newsweek subscription would come in handy. Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus fame has a website, FiveThirtyEight.com, where he uses tools similar to his PECOTA system for baseball to project electoral results ... not only that, but he links to and blogs about other sites that do similar work, like voteview.com.

What does this mean? Several things. For one, there are practical applications for that kind of analysis all over the place, which to me helps to legitimize its use for baseball. (Dear sportswriters and scouts who fear this system: suck it.)

For another, at this point, McCain seems to be as likely to win the election as the Penguins were to win the Cup: a definite possibility, except for the facts. Barring an inexplicably bad decision by Babcock (such as, say, selecting Clinton as a running mate), the Wings should win.

Of course, when the stars line up like this, there's always that nagging feeling of insecurity: can we really win? Will it really be as good as it could be? (One in nine projections give Obama a landslide in the electoral college.)

Well, let's put it this way. Indiana may not be a solid red state, and if Indiana's figured out what's been happing in Washington, well, the elephant can stand aside for a while and watch the donkey fix things for two or four years, at least.

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