Nate Silver, the 34-year-old whiz who created a system in 2003 that uses statistics to accurately forecast baseball matchups, may have changed political predictions forever. In 2008, he applied his baseball model to the presidential election and accurately predicted the winner in 49 states and the District of Columbia (he got Indiana wrong.) The New York Times picked up his FiveThirtyEight blog -- named for the number of electors in the Electoral College – and Silver quickly became a lightning rod for critics and a guru for admirers. But his predictions in recent weeks that President Obama had an 80-plus percent probability of winning earned him derision from both the right and left. On Election Day, however, Silver correctly predicted the victor in all 50 state contests plus DC. On Wednesday, even Silver's detractors were doffing their hats.
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