Nate Silver admits that polls can affect elections

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Nate Silver is worried that his polling might actually influence election results. “The polls can certainly affect elections at times. I hope people don’t take the forecasts too seriously,” he reportedly said during a recent speech sponsored by the Washington University Political Review on Monday night.

“If it gets really weird in 2014, in 2016, then maybe I’ll stop doing it,” he added. “I don’t want to influence the democratic process in a negative way.”

To be sure, some people will now accuse him of egotism and narcissism, but I actually agree with him. In fact, this was precisely my point, when I wrote last year that, “Silver’s predictions do have a psychological impact beyond merely providing information. As BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith recently tweeted:”

Unlike Super Bowl predictions (Silver predicted a matchup featuring the Patriots and Seahawks this year; neither team made it), political forecasts can have unintended consequences.

I’m glad Silver sees this.

H/t: Taegan Goddard

Matt K. Lewis