Nate Silver on UK politics

April 17th, 2013


In recent years, following the advice of Nate Silver, has been very profitable.

Over the weekend he was interviewed in the Times (££) on a variety of subjects, on the subject of UK politics, the following exchange took place

What about Britain’s coalition government, I (the interviewer) say. Will it survive?

He thinks for a moment. “So, I’ve never quite understood,” he says. “What are the Liberal Democrats getting out of the coalition exactly?”

He really does ask the most acute questions. As I struggle to supply an answer, he says:

“And does Labour have a charismatic leader?” His prediction, based only on the fact that “you have had a rough several years economically”, is that David Cameron will not be re-elected.

“He’s awfully unpopular right now,” he says. “Look, this is dangerous, because I can extrapolate from the political science literature in the US. In the US context, the economy is not everything, but it’s an awfully large factor and the personalities of the candidates don’t matter very much in nine out of ten cases. I’m not sure if that’s as true in the parliamentary system.

I think the economy bit has generally been shown to be true across different parts of the world.”

Will Nate Silver’s predictions be accurate?