NEW YORK - The other night, Nate Silver got a little taste of what things are going to be like for him, post-election 2012.
The 34-year-old statistician, unabashed numbers geek, author and creator of the much-read New York Times blog FiveThirtyEight had gone out for a drink with friends on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Immediately, he says, people recognized him.
He was surprised, but probably shouldn't have been. After all, for 24 hours, ever since his election forecasts had proved uncannily successful -- he correctly predicted the presidential winner in all 50 states -- he'd been hailed as the election's "other winner."
That very night, he had appeared on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" for the second time in three weeks. "Don't you want to stand up and say, 'I am Nate Silver, bow down to me!!'" Stewart roared. And, oh, his new book had soared to No. 2 on Amazon, after he linked to it on Twitter an hour after the first network called the race for President Obama.
His father, Michigan State political science Prof. Brian Silver, attributes his son's success to a two-pronged drive: "He's driven by a need to get the answers to a problem, but he also is very concerned with the narrative, with telling the story."
The father recalls his son at 2 years old, already revealing himself as a prodigy -- his mother asked him to count to three, and he went to 20. Needless to say he was a math whiz, but he also was a debating champion, winning competitions in high school. "On the debate team, it was OK to be a geek," his dad said.