Nate Silver’s ‘College Football’ search queries don’t touch state poll conclusions

I’ll start off by saying I was rooting hard for Nate Silver’s election forecast. This was unrelated to red or blue reasons but because I like his style and viewed it as a victory for intelligent journalism. So I typically click.

I took some issue with this one and found it a bit of a letdown following his Election Day Domination Part Deux β€” but I suppose anything is.

Had 15 minutes to kill after reading it, so here’s my open letter:

I can definitely see your central point being correct but I question the experimental methods re: compiling Google search result totals for “college football” per geographic region.

Silver critiques the B1G conference expanding east and not south or west:

One issue skews results further in favor of your thesis the other sort of confounds them: 1) People in the Midwest and South are typically less Web-obsessed/savvy than those in the DC-NY corridor, so are probably making Google searches about sports less per fan. 2) Typing “college football” into Google seems like an action someone on the more casual end of the fan spectrum would do.

Typing something specific about your team (or just the name) or having bookmarked a preferred destination would fall somewhere between average to diehard IMO, which of course will have significantly more value than the broad “Google, tell me ‘college football'” crowd.

As will β€” and please don’t anyone take this as coastal-metro snobbery or anything other than logic based on demographic data β€” tech-savvy areas of the country more likely to have high-speed + ease with which to watch the more obscure games via TV alternatives + smartphone with which to monitor their team (which I think is could be a boon for fandom in cities like NYC/PHI/BAL/DC) + disposable income with which to spend on their team.

To touch on how I began this post, your reasons outside of the Google search method about Maryland and Rutgers football fandom seem to make sense; they ostensibly don’t touch the rabid nature of the B1G schools for the gridiron.

The Silver article in case you missed it hyperlinked up top: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/expanding-eastward-could-dilute-big-ten-brand/

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