10:29am PT by Jordan Zakarin
Nate Silver Defends Projections to Stephen Colbert, Prefers Ebola to Pundits (Video)
Nate Silver likes to let the numbers speak for themselves, but more and more, he's being dragged into the hot-air world of the talking heads.
The NY Times statistician, who earned a cult following after nailing projections 49 of 50 states in the electoral college in 2008, has become Xanax for Hollywood liberals and a headache for both conservative writers and pundits of all political persuasions. While it's in the media's best interest to project a close race -- how else will they get people glued to their TV screens? -- Silver has pegged President Obama's chances to win Tuesday's election ever higher.
That has led to criticism from media personalities and Republicans, and drawn Silver into public sniping. He bet Joe Scarborough $2,000 that Obama would win, earning both criticism from the NY Times' public editor and praise from bloggers, and on The Colbert Report on Monday, he doubled down on his repudation of pundits that rely on qualitative, not quantitative, analysis.
“I’m not very pro-pundit, I have to say," he said. "If pundits were on the ballot against, like, I don’t know, Ebola, I might vote Ebola, or third party."