On election night, Republican strategist and Fox News contributor Karl Rove was unwilling to believe that President Obama had won Ohio, arguing with anchor Megyn Kelly that Ohio was too close to call. Eventually, Kelly asked Rove if his calculations were “just math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?”
This televised moment on Election Day was one small victory for statistics. Another was that FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver accurately predicted the election outcome, right down to the number of electoral votes, using a model that aggregates local and national polls.
These victories for math come on the heels of an election season where Mitt Romney repeatedly and willfully worked to convince the public that his tax plan would both deliver tax cuts and reduce the deficit, which was about as true as saying that two plus two equals five.
The above excerpt was originally published in The Atlantic.
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