Nate Silver: Does Racism Affect How You Vote?

In 2008, Nate Silver received national attention when he used statistics to predict the winners of every U.S. Senate race and the presidential election (a feat he repeated in 2012). In this TED Talk: Does Racism Affect How You Vote, Silver shows how racism is a statistically predictable factor in an election.

Silver is a journalist with an economics degree from the University of Chicago. He developed and sold PECOTA, a system for forecasting the performance of professional baseball players, before turning his attention to political predictions. His New York Times blog, FiveThirtyEight, received Webby Awards in 2012 and 2013 as “Best Political Blog.”

According to Silver’s statistics, geography is not the only factor that determines why people allow their feelings about race to influence how they vote. By dispelling some common myths about urban vs. rural voters and identifying the real cause of voter racism as a lack of interaction with people from other races, Silver hopes to illustrate that predictable problems are designable, meaning that once you can predict a problem outcome you can begin to think about solutions.