Trump Trolls Nate Silver in a Tweet


Trump goes after Nate Silver and Silver Responds.

Silver "Got It So Wrong" Says Trump

Silver Responds

Silver Reply Thread

  1. There's a vaguely similar sentiment expressed here. However, the point of that passage was that Trump's win actually *wasn't* much of a surprise based on the polls, at least according to 538's model. Why FiveThirtyEight Gave Trump A Better Chance Than Almost Anyone Else
  2. If you want to read about why 538 consistently *did* give Trump a decent chance in 2016 when almost nobody else did, we go on at great length about that in this series. The Real Story Of 2016
  3. One other slightly weird aside: the fact that there's been a fairly abrupt 3-point swing toward Biden shows that late polling swings still can occur and so might make you slightly wary of the notion that Biden's had this all in the bag the whole time.
  4. What if there had been a 3-point swing toward Trump instead? Then we'd be at Biden +4 nationally, and likely at Biden +1/+2 in the tipping-point states. That's a very competitive race, obviously.
  5. Ordinarily a major national poll showing a candidate 12 points ahead would be huge news, but it's just sort of par for the course these days. A mini-thread with a couple of quick observations, though. [Mish Comment: Main thread ends at point 6. Mini-thread starts at point 7]
  6. Also, it's worth noting that Biden is now at 52% in national polls and at 50-51% in PA/WI/MI. And there are few undecideds left. So Trump either needs something *major* that causes decided voters to re-evaluate Biden, or a *big* polling error.
  7. Biden's lead in our national polling average is up to 10.3 points. There's no sign that things are getting better for Trump; the ABC/Post poll showing him -12 postdates his leaving the hospital. The USC tracker has also been getting worse for Trump.
  8. One silver lining for Trump: the state polls still mostly seem to be in line with an 8-9 point deficit, rather than 10-11 as in national polls. But, there's also been a real lack of high-quality state polls for the past several days, so that may just be a matter of time.
  9. Our *forecast* of the popular vote is Biden +8.2. That's mostly based on state rather than national polls. And it still prices in a tiny bit of tightening/mean reversion.
  10.  However, Biden's win probability (now 86%) will continue to rise unless we begin to see tightening soon. My guess is that in an election held *today*, the model would have him with a 90-95% chance. It's a big lead that would be pretty robust to some pretty serious polling errors.

Revisionist History?

I panned Silver on numerous occasions in 2016.

Key Points

On August 4 I commented, "Supposedly, Trump had a 50.1% chance of winning in November on July 31, just four days ago!"

On August 7, I commented 

Silver is clearly taking the news of the day and projecting it out to November when voters clearly have a time span of about three days. Social Mood is clearly in control here. 

Silver is totally clueless about what social mood will be in November, just as he was totally clueless about social mood the entire Republican nomination process.

Silver does not understand social attitudes. He does not know how to put attitudes into his model, and his wildly changing numbers prove that statement.

I do not know what the odds are, but I do know they are not (at the moment) 83.1% for Hillary as Silver projects today.

Silver underestimated Trump's chances every step of the way.

538's Final 2016 Forecast

Silver did have many words of caution in his Final Election Update on November 8, 2016.

Our outlook today in our final forecast of the year. Clinton is a 71 percent favorite to win the election according to our polls-only model and a 72 percent favorite according to our polls-plus model. 

So what’s the source of all the uncertainty? 

First, Clinton’s overall lead over Trump — while her gains over the past day or two have helped — is still within the range where a fairly ordinary polling error could eliminate it. 

Second, the number of undecided and third-party voters is much higher than in recent elections, which contributes to uncertainty. 

Third, Clinton’s coalition — which relies increasingly on college-educated whites and Hispanics — is somewhat inefficiently configured for the Electoral College, because these voters are less likely to live in swing states. If the popular vote turns out to be a few percentage points closer than polls project it, Clinton will be an Electoral College underdog.

The track record of polling in American presidential elections is pretty good but a long way from perfect, and errors in the range of 3 percentage points have been somewhat common in the historical record.

In three of the last five presidential elections, in other words, there was a polling error the size of which would approximately wipe out Clinton’s popular vote lead — or alternatively, if the error were in her favor, turn a solid victory into a near-landslide margin of 6 to 8 percentage points.

In our national polling average, about 12 percent of voters are either undecided or say they’ll vote for a third-party candidate. While this figure has declined over the past few weeks, it’s still much higher than in recent elections. Just 3 percent of voters were undecided at the end of the 2012 race, for example, according to RealClearPolitics. 

If there’s a 3-point error against Clinton? That would still leave her with a narrow lead over Trump in the popular vote — by about the margin by which Gore beat Bush in 2000. But New Hampshire, which is currently the tipping-point state, would be exactly tied. Meanwhile, Clinton’s projected margin in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Colorado would shrink to about 1 percentage point, while Trump would be about 2 points ahead in Florida and North Carolina. It’s certainly not impossible that Clinton could win under those circumstances — her turnout operation might come in really handy — but she doesn’t have the Electoral College advantage that Obama did in 2012

I suggest that is excellent analysis except for quibbling over Silver's 71-72 odds of Hillary.

I Backed Trump in 2016

Please recall I openly supported Trump in 2016.

Hillary, Not Comey, Casts Cloud Over Election

Please recall my November 1, 2016 post Hillary, Not Comey, Casts Cloud Over Election

Once again, and at the last minute, this election may come down to a one swing state differential.

The setup now is quite similar to the setup heading into the first debate. Trump needs all the must-win states plus one more. He cannot afford any mistakes now. 

Realistically, I still have Hillary ahead if the election were held today. One week from now, that story may look different. 

Go Trump!

I expected Trump to lose in 2016, but I had things much closer.

Social Mood

I am willing to make an assessment of social mood and where mood will will be at election time. 

That is something Silver does not do, and it causes all kind of accusations against me.

I was accused of being an "Obama Loving Socialist" just because I predicted he would win. 

I did not vote for Obama.

This time, as a Libertarian, I cannot stand either Trump or Biden and will not vote for either of them. 

Trump Will Easily Be Defeated in 2020, Perhaps a Landslide

Please recall my December 30 2019, post Trump Will Easily Be Defeated in 2020, Perhaps a Landslide

That call was based on social mood. People do not like Trump.

He won in 2016 because people disliked Hillary more.

Still, it took a last second Hail Mary pass by Comey for Trump to win.

This Is Not 2016

Trump keeps sticking his foot in his mouth over Covid. In general, women generally cannot stand him. 

Importantly, whereas the polls in 2016 were within margins of error, this time they are not. 

And the number of undecided voters is a mere few percent now vs 10% in 2016.

Silver Has This One Correct

Add it all up and Silver has this one correct.

Trump has about a 13% chance of winning and if the election was tomorrow it would be about 5%.

Things can happen. Biden could keel over. But it's more likely Biden gets over 400 electoral college votes than he loses.

Not an Endorsement

I expect Biden to win, easily. That is not an endorsement.

I did not like the candidates in 2016 but I disliked Hillary so much that I did endorse Trump.

I don't like the candidates in 2020 either. This time I am voting Libertarian.

Trump's trade policies, war-mongering, threats against allies and enemies alike, narcissism, and military spending are too much for this Libertarian to take. 

What a pathetic set of candidates, again.


Comments (124)
No. 1-23

Every time a bell rings an angel gets their wings and every time trump tweets a demon gets their claws.

Dont disagree with you Mish on premise but Trump has got to go and Biden is the only escape. I wont even vote libertarian this time around for other seats, senate needs to go too. We survived 8 years of Obama, 4 years of Biden will fly by....

But something has gone horribly wrong in America to have the two candidates we have now, this is the best people out of 330 million to lead this country? How did we get here?


Good to see you are voting for who you would actually want to represent your views Mish!


I'll go with Dilbert's Scott Adams on this: “Democrats have gaslighted themselves by scaring Trump supporters into silence and then believing the polls they made worthless by scaring Trump supporters into silence”
Anecdotal, but watch out: "I Didn’t Vote For Trump In 2016, But I’d Crawl Over Broken Glass To Vote For Him Now" from the Federalist,

Dodge Demon
Dodge Demon

War mongering? You mean, as opposed to actual wars and war crimes, like the previous 4 administrations?


Geez, you might want to catch up on the drone wars and other atrocities, as well as the various parties that have been turned over to the tender mercies of the various dictators trump loves to love.


I have to give you credit Mish; you go back and re-post your previous statements for all to see.

I particularly like “The only hope for change is Trump”. Along with “Go Trump!”

Let’s see what change he oversaw:

A pandemic that has killed over 210k Americans with no end in sight.

An economy in tatters.

A 4 trillion dollar deficit.

A country more divided than ever and full of hatred for each other.

A country that has lost the respect of virtually all its allies, and its enemies.

I could go on and on and on, but that’s probably enough.

How are you liking the change? I’m guessing “not so much”.

Good luck. Stay safe. And make sure your vote gets counted. I hear that many of them won’t get counted this time.


Based on Trump overcoming Covid I think his chances are improving in swing states. I don't think Trump would win a fair election but we may never get a fair election again. I've posted the last credibly fair election for President we may ever see was in 2012. If Trump manages to stay in power we will get another Trump for 8 more years from 2024-2032. America will look more like Russia a lot quicker than people think.



What a hoot
FactsOnJoe you are clueless.
Libertarians do not support massive welfare for illegal immigrants.
Stop making an ass out of yourself.


I didn't support either candidate in 2016, but seeing support for Trump was understandable. Hillary was a known commodity but Trump was not. Being a non-politician, there was hope he'd be different.

Fast forward to 2020 and there aren't many reasons left to be enthusiastic about Trump. The Fed is still running the country into the ground and Trump cheered it on the whole way, in fact he wanted the Fed to cut faster and print faster.

This is in no way an endorsement of Biden, who will continue the status quo, but there isn't much practical difference between the two, contrary to what Trump supporters/detractors would tell you. Has anyone noticed that neither candidate bothered to have a platform to run on?


Those who keep bringing up 2016 fail to understand is that in addition to the polling problems of that year 2016 was a six sigma black swan event. We had Comey, Russian interference, Wikileaks all joining forces last moment.

I have this devil's argument with myself on why Trump is engaging in such poor strategy with three week remaining . I'm toying with the idea that Trump believes he won all on his own and is trying to repeat the magic sauce failing to appreciate he had a lot of outside help


Voting libertarian is a wasted vote and I suggest libertarians have more common ground with the democratic party, I recognize it is difficult to bridge the gap between the populist appeal of libertarian views on fiscal policy and democratic party values. The small government is better approach is increasingly failing to address significant global societal issues, resulting in growing risks to individual freedom. Thus, I think over the long term, democratic party fiscal policies will maximize and protect individual freedom for a greater majority. Individual responsibility is more dynamic than just looking out after our own immediate families, and encompasses paying taxes and contributing positively to the societies, country and world that we live in.


In year when it's so obvious we need to get rid of a bad President for the sake of the entire system we run on......., I can't agree with either those who are voting 3rd party or not voting.

In either instance, your vote will be a time when it has the potential to do some outsize good.

I strongly encourage Libertarians and those who recognize that both parties are deeply flawed (and they are) pull the lever for Biden in the interest of preserving the Constitution and upholding what's left of the rule of law

In the longer run we need very much to figure out how to get viable 3rd party candidates into the mix...but that is for after this election...


I agree that Nate Silver blew it in in 2016. I was following him all the way and got blindsided by the Trump win. It showed me that polls can be wrong....and just how wrong they can be.

You might be interested to know that I hated both candidates in 2016. I would not have voted at all....or might have written in someone (I wrote in Ron Paul in 2012). world view was so wrong at the time that I voted for Hillary just so that I could contribute to what I figured would be a super-majority. Like this time, I worried about what Trump might stir up if the election were very close...Guess I was ahead of my time.

Earlier in this election cycle I referred to Biden as Hillary in white male drag......I was not thrilled by him...or any of the two dozen Dem candidates.

The best of them were "status quo" candidates...and some of them were in support of ideas like "ending the white male patriarchy" and "reparations" and preaching "white fragility" and all that leftist academic Maoist bullshit. Scary. Bad ideas are popping up everywhere these days. No critical thinking skills left...and the universities are bent of abandoning real science in favor of social justice agendas of various stripes.

We'll just have to see if Silver gets it right. I expect Biden to win now.....but we are far from being in a position to breathe freely....Not until Trump stands down and packs his bags and heads for home...or heads to a country where he can't be extradited.


Mish I wish you would reconsider your vote for a candidate that you know cannot win; but unlike other folks who claim a vote for libertarian Jorgensen is a vote for Trump because it deprives Biden of a vote he needs to beat Trump, I say that is a non argument, if all republicans who are disgusted with Trump vote Jorgensen, or for that matter just a fraction of them, then Trump loses, Biden wins. And if you look at the USA of Nov. 2016 and the nation now we will see that it is difficult to even imagine how much worse Trump could have broken it. Though I am sure it could be worse, his management style has sunk this nation so far so fast I really wonder if or how long it will take to claw our way back.

We will be finding out soon enough:

In the meanwhile I am having quite a lot of fun with your VP candidate and his mentor Parasite Supreme or whatever his name is, he thinks he is harrassing me with condescending and insulting tweets, while I point out in reply that his party is about as genuine as a TV evangelist channel where proof of fraud is all but impossible and that one would have to be deranged to send them cash considering they cannot and never will win. The fact that Mr. Supreme (the old guy with the boot on his head) has the time to bandy insults with me on Twitter is proof they do very little else aside from cashing the checks of the easily gulled.


Three weeks to go. People have already started to cast votes. We can begin to project. Trump will most likely lose.

What could change that? A surprise development.

Could the shift in the polls be wrong. Perhaps a little. I've noticed among the Trump supporters I know they are withdrawing. One blocked me on FB , another no longer is confident and doesn't want to discuss it anymore. What does this mean? They may not be responding to polls. But the polls showed Biden ahead earlier, just by not as much.

Trump barely won the election in 2016 if you look past electoral votes. In some swing states he won by the slimmest of margins. Since then he's clearly lost elderly , suburburban women, military and college educated white male voters. He's not found many shoes to fill that void. There's some suggestion that he's gained some Hispanic voters. Trump is now campaigning in states he was expected to solidly win. He's not attacking on Joe Biden's turf. He's playing defense, trying to shore up Texas and Florida. He's pulled out of some states he won by strong margins. I'll quote someone else's number but it sure feels like his odds of winning are around 15%. And with three weeks to go he needs to act quickly. Money has dried up and we're seeing the begining of Republicans cutting him off so they can focus on their own races.


You may not like either candidate but I'm still gobsmacked that you think they are both equally bad for this country. I have my misgiings about Biden. I"m not happy that he won't be supporting TPP to name one item. I'm still uncertain who will drive his foreign policy too but there's no way it can be as bad as Trump's


@Mish - I think you and others are underestimating a Trump victory through the courts. All he has to do is get enough ballots invalidated in enough swing states. He has closed the gap in swing states since recovering from Covid. A new survey today says 56% of the people are better off then they were 4 years ago. So far the courts have ruled in Trump's favor in a few states on how mail in ballots are sent in. I think more voters will have to go to the polls to vote in order for Biden to win and not just vote by mail, especially in swing states. Biden is right about chicanery. But the chicanery is going to be legal and through the court system. The problem now for Biden is that many votes have already been cast for him but they may not be legal once the court system is done with them. Trump has always hired the best lawyers and has Barr on his side as well. Additionally all those lower courts that Trump and McConnell filled judiciary with are stacked with conservative judges. McConnell blocked Obama's nominees for years for a reason.

So what are your thoughts on this ?


"I expect Biden to win, easily. That is not an endorsement."

Define "win". I think Trump has a good a shot of winning through the court system as Biden does if they count the ballots.


"I don't like the candidates in 2020 either. This time I am voting Libertarian."

I think you mean you don't like either party. I don't think you would vote for either party irrespective of who their candidate was. 2016 was an exception and not the rule because Trump was different. We need the rise of a third party that splits the two parties in half but we won't get it. To me there is enough sentiment in America to break both parties up for good if the right people were willing to form a third party.


Opinium/Guardian (UK) have a new poll out: Biden extends lead over Trump to 17 points

It could be off by a full 7 points and Trump would still have zero hope of winning or pulling off a challenge to the will of the voters. He gets only 40% of the vote in this poll. That is a major landslide; we will never see the likes of FDR verses Hoover again, but this is going to be huge. It will be very close to the win by Reagan over Mondale.

Using a hypothetical 160 million votes cast (and assuming that is the residual after third party/wasted votes are eleiminated) would give Trump 65.6 million votes to Biden's 94.4 million votes.

Given such a win Trump might as well start shopping for orange jumpsuits today, might catch a break on Prime Day if he hurries.


Actually, claims that Hillary won based on popular vote is more like protesting the results of a tennis match based on rules of soccer. Because in tennis, it's not the total number of points, it's the individual games won that matter.

Arie Frasier
Arie Frasier

Oh my god....The author doesn't understand probability. He doesn't know the difference between the percentages of votes a candidate gets is different from the probability the candidate will win.

That's why he thinks Silver had "revisionists" history. The 50.1% chance he sites as the chance he believed Trump would win proves this.

Good god. You should be embarrassed by this article.


Voting is a waste of time, but if I was gonna do it, it'd be Jorgensen.

The only hope for a Libertarian party candidate is if they force Dems/Repubs to allow participation in the debates...otherwise they mostly remain unknown to an electorate focused on MSM driven narrative and earning a living.