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Thu Oct 27, 2016, 07:20 PM

Election Update: The Polls Disagree, And Thatís OK

Nate Silver: Five Thirty Eight

Pretty much everyone has an incentive to push the narrative that the presidential race is tightening. The television networks would like for you to keep tuning in to their horse-race coverage. Hillary Clintonís campaign would like for you to turn out to vote, instead of getting complacent. Donald Trumpís campaign would like you to know that its candidate still has a chance.

But what do the polls say? The race probably is tightening ó but perhaps not as much as the hype on the cable networks would imply. In our polls-only forecast, Trump has narrowed Clintonís lead in the popular vote to roughly 6 percentage points from 7 points a week ago, and his chances of winning have ticked up to 17 percent from 13 percent. In our polls-plus forecast, Trumpís chances are up to 19 percent from 16 percent. Because of the high level of uncertainty in the race, we canít say the door is closed on a narrow Trump victory. And weíre certainly a week or two removed from the period when every poll brought good news for Clinton: Plenty of polls now show negative trend lines for her (in addition to others that show a positive trend). But the race hasnít fundamentally changed all that much, and Clinton remains in a strong position.

The data, however, offers a lot of opportunities for cherry-picking, both because there are a lot of polls and because they donít agree all that much with one another. Thatís especially true of national polls.1

Recent national surveys show everything from a 14-percentage-point Clinton lead to a 1-point lead for Trump. On average, that works out to a Clinton lead of 5 to 6 points ó but thereís a lot of variation.

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Reply Election Update: The Polls Disagree, And Thatís OK (Original post)
Algernon Moncrieff Oct 2016 OP