Nate Silver Profile picture
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Oct 7, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
Currently, the *average* Senate seat is about 6 points more Republican than the country overall (because smaller-population states happen to be more Republican right now). Adding DC and PR as states would reduce that advantage to about 2 points instead. But people should be mindful that relatively subtle shifts in demographic coalitions can change which party benefits a lot. Obama's vote share was highly correlated with Clinton's, and yet he *over-performed* in the Electoral College while she uhhh didn't.
Oct 2, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Maybe this is an obvious point, but it seems like Kavanaugh's defenders want to judge his lies/misdirections by the standards of a political or a partisan operative, rather than those of a Supreme Court nominee under oath. Maybe just make that argument explicitly? Say something like: "Sure, he spins things to his advantage. And I'll concede that there are a few outright lies, if you want to be super literal. But that's to be expected when the stakes are this high, and Democrats have done it too."
Sep 30, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
So far, there are polls on Kavanaugh from YouGov, Ipsos and Change Research. Plus those Upshot/Siena district polls have been in the field. It's a little early to draw conclusions but main themes so far seem to be... (continued...) 1. Overall views on confirmation aren't that much changed, but perhaps a bit worse than Kavanaugh than before (and they weren't too good before)
2. Ford seen as more believable by pluralities of voters.
3. Quite a few undecided voters; people don't have their minds fully made up.
Sep 29, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Something for everyone in this poll but interesting that Democrats are actually more charged up about Supreme Court nominations than Republicans.
Sep 19, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Seems fair to say that Democrats' polling is underwhelming in states and districts with large numbers of Hispanic voters. At the same time, polling has sometimes lowballed Democrats' numbers in these areas. By the same token, Democrats' most impressive polling is probably in the Midwest, which is where Trump beat his polls in 2016.
Sep 18, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
The GOP's least-worst outcome, politically, is probably if Kavanaugh withdraws in advance of the hearing—and it sounds like that's what McConnell would really prefer if he had the choice. The predicate is that time is precious for the GOP. If Kavanaugh were to withdraw *now*, they just *might* have enough time to confirm someone else before the midterm, or at least establish a foothold for the new nominee before the lame-duck session.
Sep 10, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Our Senate forecasts are *almost* ready and it's sort of interesting to think about how much trouble Democratic incumbents would be in if there was a Democrat in the White House instead of Trump. Under those conditions, I'd guess that ND, MO and FL would be likely Republican pickups. WV, IN and MT would be lean Republican. MI, MN, OH, PA, WI, NJ would all be toss-ups or pretty close to it.
Sep 9, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
I don't know, polls that have nationalist parties doing well seem to get a disproportionate amount of media attention, which can skew impressions. Sweden Democrats were polling at ~18/19 on average; this would be a bit below but not that far off. There's also a persistent myth that nationalist parties outperform their polls. It simply isn't true, at least not over the long-run. And if anything they've underperformed their polls in recent elections.
Sep 6, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
Seems like the proliferation of probabilistic-based election models has slowed down, which makes me both happy (less competition, fewer nerdfights, people don't duplicate one another's work) and sad. The "sad" part is because I think these models have a lot of value and I think 2016 actually demonstrated that value in a lot of ways, at least for the ones that gave Trump a reasonably good chance. I don't think one should cater to one's critics. But enough about that.
Sep 4, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
So, it's after Labor Day, and here's where the race for the House stands: 1. Democrats are in their best position in months in both the generic ballot and Trump approval.
2. *Some* of that is probably noise (especially the generic ballot, which is noisy). But an 8-9 point lead for Democrats is plausible, even if they probably aren't up double digits.
Aug 31, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Random aside, but I think the 2010 midterms are under-appreciated as a seminal event of our political era.

There was a 17-point swing from the 2008 popular vote in the House (D +10) to the 2010 vote (R +7). That's huge: the largest swing since WW2. Midterms are usually bad for the president's party. But the average midterm swing is about 7 points—this was more than twice as large. Also, it came in a year which was greatly important for redistricting, which is still paying dividends for the GOP.
Aug 31, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
In the House, the publicly-available, district-level polling isn't *bad* for Democrats, exactly, but it's probably their weakest indicator. More in line with a toss-up race nationally than one where you'd call Democrats favorites. The other thing to keep in mind is how thin the margin is between Dems failing to win the House at all, and their winning 40 (or more) seats. It really doesn't take much to push them toward one or the other outcome.
Aug 16, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
THE 538 HOUSE MODEL JUST LAUNCHED: The default version of our model, which we call Classic, shows Democrats with a 3 in 4 chance of winning the House and Republicans with a 1 in 4 chance of keeping it. So things are a long way from certain, but it's also not right to call it a toss-up.
Aug 6, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
FWIW, as I've been very deep into the weeds researching and coding 538's House model—yep, it's coming soon!—I've become less convinced by the predictive power of special elections, vis-à-vis other indicators. Historically, specials have been 1) a quite useful predictor of the national environment in midterm years, but 2) not at all useful in presidential years. It's a midterm this year, I guess. But given the small sample size, not sure we should throw out the presidential-year data.
Aug 1, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
One more dorky thing I've been looking at: What happens (as in some cases in PA this year) when the composition of an incumbent's district changes a lot after redistricting? e.g. Say there's only a 40% overlap between her old and new constituents. Is she likely to underperform? The answer is that this *doesn't* seem to matter all so much. In extreme cases, it might cost her a couple of percentage points. But if the overall partisanship of the new district is about the same, she'll usually perform almost as well, even if she has lots of new constituents.
Aug 1, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
One of the more underappreciated aspects of modern U.S. politics is that the incumbency advantage is a *lot* smaller than it once was say 20 years ago, at least for members of Congress. This trend gets disguised because districts are a lot more polarized now (and in some cases gerrymandered), which reduces the number of competitive races. But controlling for district partisanship, the incumbency advantage is maybe only half as large as it was during the '90's.
Jul 25, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Spent all day (I'm a super cool person, this is what cool people do) looking at whether the results of state legislative elections provide meaningful information about a state's partisanship when trying to predict Congressional elections. The answer is... YES. It's *not* as useful as presidential voting. But, it's important to keep in mind which states are more DEM/GOP in statewide races than in presidential voting.

e.g. WV and MT are often purple-ish in statewide races, which helps to explain why Manchin & Tester are holding up OK.
Jul 24, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
1. Since I'm up late, an *extremely* nerdy thread...

The aggregate popular vote for the U.S. House—which is basically what the generic ballot is trying to measure—is a useful benchmark for the national environment in Congressional races, but it suffers from a couple of flaws. 2. One is that whichever party did better in the prior election has more incumbents, and therefore overperforms in the popular vote relative to if everyone was starting from scratch. It can be useful to separate out the incumbency advantage from the partisan environment.
Jul 23, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
I'd argue that a decline from ~28/29% of voters identifying as Republican to ~25/26% is not trivial, especially given that 28/29% is not too high to begin with. I'd also guess that those ex-Republicans have pretty lukewarm feelings on Trump. Also, keep in mind that the decline in Republican ID is a *net* number not a *gross* number. Presumably some pro-Trump former independence have joined the party, which means more than 3% of the electorate has left the party.
Jul 19, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
I don't like the trend of treating Trump's approval among GOP voters as the headline and his overall approval number as the subheadline.

Both are important, but the overall number is more important.

His approval among independents is also important, and rarely gets mentioned. For instance, if Trump has 40% approval, it could be because:
—He's lost some support among R's and is merely treading water among independents
—He polls great among R's, but *really* bad with indies, and maybe some anti-Trump conservatives no longer call themselves Republicans
Jul 10, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
My early, sure-to-be-revised priors on Kavanaugh:
1. Reaction among Republican elites and other high-info GOP voters will be pretty good overall but with a range from "meh" to very excited. Lower-info GOP voters won't really care that much unless the hearings get interesting. 2. Confirmation is probable but not quite certain. He has a long paper trail which could elongate the process. Paul has voiced objections. His comments on Roe are framed carefully enough that Collins/Murk will probably feel OK. His stance on executive authority could be an issue.