Nate Silver Predicts Who Would Win If Election Was Held Today, Internet EXPLODES (DETAILS)

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If the presidential election were held today, Donald Trump would win. At least, that is what the ever-accurate site FiveThirtyEight says, on this much-anticipated debate day. Trump is unconventional and unpredictable, so that will have a huge impact on his and Hillary Clinton’s numbers.

Unless there is an external shock, such as a major terrorist attack, the first debate may be the last chance for either candidate to accumulate any movement at all in the polls. Enten says that according to history:

‘The leader in the polls after the first debate was always the leader in the final polls.’

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Nate Silver used innovative analysis to predict the 2008 presidential election and accurately predict the primaries in 49 states. In 2012, he predicted not only the presidential election, but 50 out of our 50 states.

So, here is what FiveThirtyEight does. Silver averaged the polls the week immediately before and after the first debate going back to 1976 through 2012. Enten updated the data. It clusters presidents who ran for re-election and the non-incumbent nominees for whichever party held the White House at the time.

The non-incumbent party’s candidate gained in the polls after the first debate 80 percent of the time. This year, that is the Republican Party candidate Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton can also gain, but not as significantly.

So, why does he believe this? The reason Trump has more to gain is that he is winning a lower percentage of self-identified Republicans than the Democratic candidate is getting among Democrats.

Another variable shows first debates don’t move the candidates substantially. There are two exceptions to this. Ronald Reagan moved ahead of Jimmy Carter in 1980 and won. The second instance was George W. Bush overtaking Al Gore in 2000. Bush went on to win the Electoral College, and lost the popular vote.

The two current presidential candidates have been dancing in the polls, separated by only about 2.6 percentage points nationally, which is well within most polls’ margins of error. That means if Trump gets even a small bump, he could get the lead.

Enten says social media could lock in the winner within minutes. That means each candidate will have to give their best performance during the debate.

In 2012 Mitt Romney took 4.4 percentage points and nearly tied President Obama in the national polls. In 2008, the president led John McCain by almost 3 points post-debate.

This year there is an unusually large number of undecided voters or ones preferring a third-party candidate. That is where those bumps come from, not from stealing the other’s Democratic or Republican votes.

The third-party candidates Gary Johnson [Libertarian] and Jill Stein [Green Party] have not reached the 15 percent threshold required to enter the presidential debates Monday.

INCUMBENT PARTY AVERAGE POLLING LEAD
YEAR POST-FIRST DEBATE END OF CAMPAIGN ABSOLUTE DIFFERENCE
1976 -3.0 -1.3 1.7
1980 -1.4 -3.8 2.4
1984 +17.0 +17.7 0.7
1988 +5.2 +9.0 3.8
1992 -13.5 -8.2 5.3
1996 +15.1 +12.1 3.0
2000 -1.5 -2.1 0.6
2004 +2.4 +1.0 1.4
2008 -6.0 -7.4 1.4
2012 +0.1 +1.5 1.4
Average 2.2

Image From FiveThirtyEight. Source: National Council On Public Polling/Huffington Post Pollster.

Enten says the sample of campaigns with a debate and “robust polling” is only 10 strong. That is a very small sample, and the smaller the sample, the less accurate it becomes. Both candidates could well increase their percentages after this first debate, but the question is: Who gains the most percentage points and who can maintain the lead?

H/T: FiveThirtyEight.