Election-Svengali Nate Silver will stop blogging if he believes that his election forecasts begin to actually affect elections. According to a report in Politico (a site Silver has a pretty hilarious feud with), Silver spoke to an audience at Washington University about the statistical pitfalls of accruing such a large following:
"I hope people don't take the forecasts too seriously. You'd rather have an experiment where you record it off from the actual voters, in a sense, but we'll see. If it gets really weird in 2014, in 2016, then maybe I'll stop doing it. I don't want to influence the democratic process in a negative way."
For a Democratic base which followed Silver's blog like a heart monitor, constantly refreshing to gauge their level of hysteria, it's a little late to consider Silver's forecasts as something that doesn't influence the democratic process. Whether his forecasts have the ability to affect it negatively seems like a stretch for the statistician, who, whether he sees it this way or not, does impact voters with every update — if that means packing up the car and heading to a swing state to stump for your candidate, or staying home in a snowstorm because Nate says your state is safely red or blue.
Election polls, by their very nature, are there to either persuade or dissuade the layman from voting, and whether Silver would like to think he or other polls and forecasts have a minimal impact on the election as a whole is a misunderstanding of just how much America likes to be entertained and motivated by horse races.