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Obsessions: #2 Political Polls

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Nate Silver, the New York Times polling guru, drew the ire of conservatives during the campaign for his prediction that President Barack Obama would win the 2012 Electoral College vote. Silver correctly predicted the result in every state on election night, infuriating the GOP. (Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo)

In a year marked by a long, grueling, often volatile presidential campaign, it's understandable that Americans became obsessed with the election and what seemed like an endless string of political polls that went with it. Just how obsessed? Consider that on election night, Nate Silver, the New York Times' polling guru, was trending on Twitter and, for a fleeting moment, received more searches on Yahoo! than either of the presidential candidates.

In fact, roughly half of the people visiting the Times' website on Nov. 6 searched for "Nate Silver." "They weren't coming for the rest of the Times," Executive Editor Jill Abramson said recently. "They came for him."

Silver's model uses a number of measurements, with attention given to state polls, according to Bloomberg News. Silver, who for weeks drew ire from conservatives for his prediction that Barack Obama would win the Electoral College vote and a second term as president, correctly predicted the result in every state, prompting the Week magazine to ask, "Do conservatives owe Silver an apology?"

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