Editor's note: Michael Lieberman is founder and president of Multivariate Solutions, a New York research firm. He can be reached at 646-257-3794 or at michael@mvsolution.com. This article appeared in the January 28, 2013, edition of Quirk's e-newsletter.

During the 2012 election, Nate Silver drew fire for his projections.

Joe Scarborough, the conservative host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, attacked Silver during the election and Politico.com called him a "one-term" celebrity, saying, "For all the confidence Silver puts in his predictions, he often gives the impression of hedging." (Later, Silver replied that Politico covers politics like sports but "not in an intelligent way at all.")

But in the end, Silver beat them all. (And Scarborough eventually apologized, sort of, acknowledging that Silver did get it right.)

For those who don't know, Nate Silver writes the FiveThirtyEight blog in The New York Times and is the bestselling author of The Signal and the Noise. In the book, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. It is about prediction, probability and why most predictions fail - most, but not all.

What had folks attacking Silver was this: He predicted elections far more accurately than most pollsters and pundits on Politico, The Drudge Report, MSNBC and others. In his book, Silver described his model as bringing Moneyball to politics. That is, producing statistically-driven results. Silver actually popularized the use of probabilistic models in predicting elections by producing the probability of a range of outcomes, rather than just who wins. When a candidate is at, say, a 90 percent chance of winning, Silver will call the race. What made Silver famous was his extremely accurate prediction of voter percentages - an area where pundits are almost always far off the mark. And loath as pollsters may be to admit ...