Nate Silver: The political forecaster who called the US election says Scots have 'no chance' for independence

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

Nate Silver has spoken. The statistician and political forecaster, 35, who shot to fame when he correctly called the outcome of all 50 states in the 2012 US Elections has predicted that the Yes campaign has "virtually no chance" in the Scottish Independence vote next year.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this week, Silver said: "There is a wide variety of polls and they all show the 'no' vote ahead, some by modest margins and some by overwhelming margins."

"The best you can do is take an average of those. If there was a major crisis in England – if the eurozone split apart and there were ramifications economically then maybe things would be reconsidered a little bit. For the most part it looks like it's a question of how much the 'no' side will win by, not what the outcome might be."

Silver's comments caused a flurry in Scottish media and political circles but the man himself urged calm. "Taking a comment based on a 30-minute interview that becomes front page news is not the precedent I want to set", he said. "Being seen as a magic svengali is the opposite of my attitude."

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