Baseball’s Unlikely Regular Season Finish

A great piece by Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight on how unlikely the events of the last day of the Major League Baseball season actually were. Below is just a sample:

The following is not mathematically rigorous, since the events of yesterday evening were contingent upon one another in various ways. But just for fun, let’s put all of them together in sequence:

  • The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.
  • The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.
  • The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.
  • The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.

Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.

Obama Has A Lead In North Dakota?

This coming from DailyKos, which I pretty much read on a constant basis along with who have great in-depth analysis as well as polls and statistical predictions:

George W. Bush won North Dakota twice, with 60% of the vote, to 38% for both Al Gore and John Kerry.

Bill Clinton failed to win the state twice, and his closest margin in the state came in 1996 when Bob Dole defeated him by 6.8%. This was as he was delivering a sound electoral-college thrashing to the Kansas senator, 379-159.

No Democrat has won the state since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. That was the most successful year for Democrats in the television era, as Johnson set a modern record with 61% of the vote, and carried everything but the Deep South and his opponent’s home state of Arizona.

Keep those things in mind as you process this poll from North Dakota: (after the break) (more…)