Nate Silver / Drunk Nate Silver

Nate Silver / Drunk Nate Silver

Part of a series on 2012 United States Presidential Election. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jan 09, 2013 at 01:52PM EST by Don.

Added Nov 09, 2012 at 03:15PM EST by amanda b..

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Drunk Nate Silver refers to both a Twitter hashtag and novelty accounts that are associated with tweets describing what the New York Times statistician Nate Silver[1] would do under the influence of alcohol. The trend took off shortly after he correctly predicted the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election in all fifty states.


Though the parody accounts @nateDRUNKsilver[4] and @DrunkNateSilverp[3] were registered in June and October respectively, the trend did not take off until November 7th, 2012, when campaign consultant Dan Levitan tweeted about Nate Silver getting drunk and predicting people’s deaths in the New York City subway. By November 9th, the tweet had 3,086 retweets and 1,043 favorites.


On November 7th, the phrase “Drunk Nate Silver” was mentioned on Twitter 9,163 times[7] and the corresponding hashtag was used 3045 times[8] in tweets jesting that the statistician was psychic and could predict the future. On November 8th, the trend was covered by several internet culture blogs and news sites including Gawker[9], the Huffington Post[10], CNN[11], Buzzfeed[12], the Inquisitr[13], the Washington Post[14], the Awl[15], the Atlantic[16], Wired[17] and MSN Now.[18] It was also discussed on message boards including MMO Champion[19] and the Democratic Underground.[20] The next day, more coverage of the trend appeared on The Week[21] and NPR affiliate Capital Public Radio.[22]

Nate Silver’s Response

On November 12th, an interview with Silver was published in Chicago Magazine[23] where he said the tweets would make a good television show, but were kind of weird. He said when he does get drunk, he “[does] what everyone else does, which is argue about stupid things with my friends. I don’t become dark and ironically evil.”

AMA Post

On January 8th, 2013, Silver submitted an “ask me anything” (AMA) post to the /r/IAmA[25] subreddit, specifically requesting queries related to his forecasts for the 2012 United States presidential election, evolution of polling practices, American budgetary politics and sports. In the comments, several Reddits began posting humorous Nate Silver “facts” (shown below) in the similar vein of #DrunkNateSilver tweets.

By the end of the day, Silver had answered a total of 30 questions, in which he revealed he uses the software programs Stata and Excel for data analysis, that he did not think Anonymous prevented Karl Rove from stealing the election and that he felt it is difficult to statistically prove that gun ownership rates are a cause of fatal crimes and accidents. Silver also disclosed that he gained his statistical insights and research know-hows through trying to win his fantasy baseball league and NCAA tournament pool. The highlights from Silver’s AMA post were subsequently posted on the New York Times Five Thirty Eight[24] blog and the Internet news blog The Daily Dot.[26]

Notable Examples

Twitter Feeds

Search Interest

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External References

[1]Wikipedia – Nate Silver

[2]Twitter – Search for #drunknatesilver

[3]Twitter – @DrunkNateSilver | Registered October 8th, 2012

[4]Twitter – @nateDRUNKsilver | Registered June 30th, 2012

[5]Twitter – @DrunkNateSilv1 | Registered November 8th, 2012

[6]Twitter – Search for “drunk nate silver”

[7]Topsy – Statistics for “drunk nate silver”

[8]Topsy – Statistics for #drunknatesilver

[9]Gawker – Let’s Play ‘Drunk Nate Silver,’ the Hilarious New Twitter Game

[10]The Huffington Post – ‘Drunk Nate Silver’ Sweeps Twitter: Prognosticator Goes Mad With Power (TWEETS)

[11]CNNTwitter commandeered by ‘Drunk Nate Silver’

[12]Buzzfeed – Meet “Drunk Nate Silver”

[13]The Inquistr – ‘Drunk Nate Silver’ Trends On Twitter, Is Hilarious Commentary On Statistician’s Big Win

[14]Washington Post – Drunk Nate Silver rules the Internet

[15]The Awl – Play “Drunk Nate Silver”

[16]The Atlantic – Battle of the Nate Silver Twitter Memes

[17]Wired – Giddy Tweets Move From ‘Nate Silver Facts’ to ‘Drunk Nate Silver’

[18]MSN Now – Drunk Nate Silver counting out exactly five hundred and thirty-eight french fries at McDonalds, then slowly dipping 206 of them in ketchup

[19]MMO Champion Forums – Drunk Nate Silver

[20]Democratic Underground Forums – Drunk Nate Silver

[21]The Week – ‘Drunk Nate Silver’: The best tweets from the funniest post-election meme

[22]Capital Public Radio – ‘Drunk Nate Silver’ Parody Wakes Up After Real Nate Silver’s Big Score

[23]Chicago Mag – Nate Silver on the Election, Pundits, and His Drunk Alter Ego

[24]New York Times – Transcript of Nate Silvers Ask Me Anything

[25]Reddit – IAmA Blogger for FiveThirtyEight At New York Times

[26]Daily Dot – Statistician Nate Silver Spills His Witch Secrets to Reddit

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