John Sides asks if 538 is good for political science:
I think 538 helps political science by showing people, and especially journalists, that you can use quantitative evidence to understand politics. That’s one reason I’m glad for its new relationship with The New York Times. I don’t always agree with all of Nate Silver’s analyses — see, e.g., here or here — but they are quite an improvement over the views of people who think that a conversation with three Iowans absolves them of paying attention to systematic evidence or academic research.
The way I look at 538 is that it’s pushing analysis of politics closer to Moneyball, and further away from a world in which pundits simply make stuff up. The more that happens, the more doors will be opened to what political science can offer.