The famous pollster predicts 80% chance of a Hillary presidency after giving Trump a 2% chance of a primary victory
Famous pollster Nate Silver has come out recently and given a bold prediction concerning the 2016 election. Silver has now predicted a 79-80 percent chance of Hillary Clinton winning the general election against Donald Trump. Silver’s prediction came mainly as the result of several polls released recently showing Hillary leading Trump in both general match-up and in key swing states.
Nate Silver has confidently stated that based on his analysis, Hillary is the indomitable favorite to win the election. As much as I despise Donald Trump and would never want to see him win the presidency, I (and others) are simply not as confident as Nate Silver when it comes to the election trajectory.
It seems that Silver is confident that his model for predicting the election is accurate. While I am inclined to believe Silver, honestly I don’t. The reason I don’t trust Silver’s prediction is because he has shown his model to be flawed this election cycle (by his own admission). Remember, Nate Silver gave Donald Trump a 2 percent chance of winning the Republican nomination. According to Silver, it was nigh impossible for Trump to win. Yet, here we are. Even Silver had to apologize (but not really) for his sloppy work covering Trump.
Nate Silver’s predictions this election cycle have not been totally on point the way they were in 2008 and 2012. Remember, Silver predicted a slim chance of Trump winning the Republican primary. We all know how that turned out. Overall, Silver has been using rather waffled methods of analyzing polls. Rather than simply rate the numbers as they stand, Silver uses other factors from past elections to make his prediction model.
Poll analysis has different approaches. Two main approaches used are a Poll-Only approach, or a Factor based approach. Poll-Only is pretty straightforward, it’s an analysis based strictly on the poll numbers themselves. The Factor based approach incorporates external data and election factors from previous cycles. In other words, it uses past election events as a model to analyze the relevance of the poll numbers.
In the past, Silver has mainly used the Poll-Only approach. This is especially evident in 2008 and 2012, when he was criticized often by Republicans for sticking to the numbers. This year, however, Silver has been using a more Factor based approach, which hasn’t really been accurate in every case.
Silver’s analysis of 79-80 percent in favor of Hillary seems to be based on the same flawed model in which he predicted a Trump loss. Silver clearly isn’t basing his analysis only on the numbers. Keep in mind, while Hillary is up in many polls this month, last month she was dead tied and down in many polls. If Silver was using only the numbers, certainly he would have to take all of the numbers into account.
Remember last month when Silver told everyone not to freak out over Hillary’s bad poll numbers, and that the polls in May effectively didn’t matter? His argument then was that it’s too early to base any prediction for the election on polls. It’s now July 1st, and Silver has essentially called the race for Hillary based on her good poll showing in June. How convenient is it that when the polls don’t favor Hillary they are to be ignored, and when they do favor Hillary they are canonized?
It is abundantly clear that Nate Silver is not using only the numbers in calculating his total win for Hillary Clinton. If he was, or was at least consistent about his argument, then he would not declare such a bold prediction this early in the race.
Neither the Democratic or Republican conventions have happened and yet Silver has already declared Hillary the eminent victor. So much can happen between now and November, I agreed with Silver when he said that in May. To say that the polls won’t shift between now and November is ludicrous, so we shouldn’t be so quick to jump to certain conclusions.
The polls will fluctuate, perhaps even violently. If all of the polls up till now are accounted for, then we will be in for a few surprises this election cycle. Let’s hope Silver gets back to comparing the actual numbers rather than speculate on trivialities.