2012 Was the Moneyball Election

Barack Obama’s victory tonight is also a victory for the Moneyball approach to politics.  It shows us that we can use systematic data—economic data, polling data—to separate momentum from no-mentum, to dispense with the gaseous emanations of pundits’ “guts,” and ultimately to forecast the winner.  The means and methods of political science, social science, and statistics, including polls, are not perfect, and Nate Silver is not our “algorithmic overlord” (a point I don’t think he would disagree with).

But 2012 has showed how useful and necessary these tools are for understanding how politics and elections work. Let’s hope that these tools become even more prominent in political journalism and punditry.

7 Responses to 2012 Was the Moneyball Election

  1. Bryan Elliott November 7, 2012 at 1:30 am #

    I’ll just be glad if the 2014 election news cycle doesn’t mention “momentum”.

  2. Andreas Moser November 7, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    I actually think the election showed that money matters far less than thought/feared: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/six-billion-dollars/

  3. Patrice Peeples November 7, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    *blows raspberry*

  4. MNP November 7, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    A bit depressing for those of us who aren’t math people. One more avenue shut.

  5. Neville Morley November 7, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    I assume everyone will already have seen this morning’s xkcd..?

  6. William Clark November 7, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Dear MNP,

    Most people aren’t born “math people.” You can do it!

  7. Chris Taylor November 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Those of us who work in Big Data and Analytics saw this coming as our customers do this every day, just without the pundits breathing down our necks. We covered it here: