A Fox News national poll showing Trump down 5 is one of his better results lately; keep in mind that Fox News polls hasn't had particularly good news for Trump so far this cycle. But a couple of things to keep in mind.

static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/co…
First, we've had very abundant polling over the past two weeks, both on the national level and also in many states. That makes any one poll less influential. If the race is tightening—or Biden's lead is expanding—the model will need to see that consistently over several polls.
Second, it's mid-September, which means the point where polls start to hone in on a more accurate result. So the mere passage of time helps Biden. This is especially so in our model since it expects the race to (slightly) tighten; so any day of non-tightening is good for Biden.
A slight complication is that we're coming out of the period where you could attribute Trump gains to a convention bounce, though we're not completely out of it yet. So if Trump has "permanently" chopped a point or so off Biden's lead (from 8/9 to 7/8) that's something for him.
Even so, Trump needs the race to tighten more quickly than that. A candidate with a 7-8 point deficit post-conventions is a heavier underdog than one with a 8-9 point deficit pre-conventions, because the reduction in uncertainty from the passage of time outweighs the small gain.

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More from @NateSilver538

27 Sep
No particular instinct for how much the Trump tax news will resonate with rank-and-file voters. May depend on how much the Biden campaign chooses to emphasize it. There is a damaging headline for Trump (that he paid only $750) which is sometimes lacking in these sorts of stories.
Small data point, but The Daily aired some fairly long interviews with undecided voters the other day, and more of them than you might think touched upon the personal qualities of the candidates. Worth a listen.

nytimes.com/2020/09/22/pod…
And keep in mind Biden is already very close to or above 50% in many potential tipping-point states, meaning that Trump needs to win nearly all of the undecideds.

Minnesota 50.8
Wisconsin 50.7
Michigan 49.9
Pennsylvania 49.7
Nevada 48.8
Arizona 48.5
Ohio 47.9
North Carolina 47.5
Read 4 tweets
24 Sep
Seeing debates about different strategies for testing vaccine efficacy, some of which would result in quicker but less comprehensive readouts than others. (Note: None of the experts are saying we should compromise on safety; this is all about how we measure efficacy.) 1/
The contribution I'd make as an outsider/observer of political behavior is that it seems clear patience with lockdowns and social distancing is wearing thin, in the US and (perhaps even more so) globally, and it may be even thinner after what could be a difficult winter. 2/
It may be waiting longer for a vaccine we're more certain is effective is "worth it", especially if it helps to facilitate public trust. But I wouldn't bank on "we can just count on social distancing for another X months in early/mid 2021*" as necessarily being viable. 3/
Read 4 tweets
23 Sep
1. Mail voting generally increases turnout.
2. There's a pandemic.
3. This is victim-blaming wrapped up as a hot take.
Campaign operatives in both parties generally encourage voting by mail. The added convenience is thought to outweigh the small but nonzero additional risk that your ballot won't be counted, producing increased turnout among your voters overall.
So if Democrats were to discourage mail voting when they'd otherwise encourage it, out of fears that Trump will use it as a pretext to steal the election, that itself could make Trump's re-election more likely.
Read 5 tweets
22 Sep
The simple answer here has always been that the GOP would confirm someone, because it's worth an awful lot to them, and also that they'll pay a price for doing so, because it's worth paying a price for something that's worth a lot to you.
By paying a price ... the polling suggests this is an unpopular move, perhaps verging on *very* unpopular depending on which poll you look at. So, it's likely to make it harder (though far from impossible) for the GOP to hold the Senate.
The other question if whether the GOP pushed Dems past some tipping point where they're more willing to take severe retaliatory actions (expanding court, adding states) and/or can do so without triggering as much of a public backlash.
Read 4 tweets
20 Sep
We ran the numbers, and the Senate is currently around *6 to 7 points* (!) more Republican than the country as a whole, based on the position of the median states relative to the national average. That means Dems need ~landslide margins to win the Senate. fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-s…
This stems mostly from the urban vs. rural composition of the country. Nationwide, there are about the same number of people living in big cities and rural areas. But in the Senate, rural areas get 2.5x more representation (!) than big cities.
And white voters are represented as though they're 68% of the country in the Senate, when they're actually 60%. It's basically as if you'd turned the clock back 20 years.
Read 4 tweets
19 Sep
I don't quite get why the unnamed senator thinks this is a great strategy here.

If McConnell says "we're not going to vote until after the election", then people will of course ask "what if Republicans lose the election?"

He has 4 ways to answer, all of which have some issues:
1. If McConnell says "then we'll confirm them in the lame-duck session anyway", they can do that... but then that also "takes the prize off the table".

2. If he says "then it would be up to the Democrats" ... and holds firm to that... well, he's losing a Supreme Court seat.
3. If he says "then it would be up to the Democrats" ... but re-negs and tries to confirm anyway ... OK, maybe? But that could be wildly unpopular, might lose a couple of institutionalist senators, and could trigger retaliation from Democrats (e.g. expanding the court).
Read 4 tweets

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