The Rise of the Poll Quants (or, Why Sam Wang Might Eat a Bug)

Chronicle Article
By Tom Bartlett
Wang doesn’t have nearly as large an audience, but it’s been growing. He got into the game for pretty much the same reasons as Silver: He thought he could bring some statistical rigor to a discourse dominated by talking heads nattering on about the number of yard signs in a random neighborhood or the volume of cheering at a swing-state rally. “I’m use to solving the problem of taking a data set and extracting something when there’s a lot of noise,” Wang says. “That’s something I do every day in my work. The presidential race was something that was crying out for that.”

He learned from Silver’s quick success that audiences wanted more than statistical breakdowns. They wanted explanation, banter, personality. His posts are still driven by numbers, but you also get a dose of Wang’s sense of humor, like the way he has relentlessly mocked the notion of Romney’s momentum (“Ro-mentum!”) in recent weeks. 

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