In a election year founded on unpredictability, one thing is for certain: Nate Silver is a numbers wiz.
And in a cycle where anything can happen, everyone is looking to the genius behind the site FiveThirtyEight for his presidential picks. After all, Silver is the guy who catapulted to stardom after he accurately predicted the outcome of every state during the 2012 race.
“We, in fact, tested that beforehand, like how likely are we to get all 50 states right,” Silver told Dan Rather on Monday of his past prediction. “And it was a real long shot, it was like a one in 10 chance or something.”
As for 2016, Silver isn’t as certain that he will correctly pick the winner in all 50 states.
“This year, by the way, there were 15 or 20 swing states that are still interesting versus five or 10, four years ago. So four years ago it was easy to get 48 or 49 or 50. I’d be really surprised if we get 50 states this year — when you have states from Utah to Maine that are potentially in play.”
With just two weeks to go until election day, Silver reiterated conventional polling wisdom that Hillary Clinton is likely to take the oath of office on Jan. 20.
“Because we can say in the abstract that [Donald Trump] still has a chance — not a good chance, but a chance,” Silver said. “But it’s not clear what the path would be.”
“Usually whichever candidate’s been able to stay out of the way benefits more,” Silver added.
“So, if Trump were able to stay out of his own way, then maybe you have a lot of stories around WikiLeaks stuff for Clinton — and you can say some of this is important, some of it isn’t. But, certainly a lot of gossipy stuff that people would be talking about and doesn’t paint her and her campaign in the best light. So that’s what’s kind of amazing, is if Trump could just have stayed out of his own way and been more disciplined, he could’ve given himself a much better chance.”
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