So, you may have noticed that I'm not a fan of Nate Silver. I wrote a series of posts about it.
Given that series, I've been checking 538 periodically to see how he's doing. Concern for his health, and all. And today, I see this. You may notice that it reads very similarly to how I've been talking about the election in the "Nate Silver is full of shit" series. Trump has two chances: massive, systematic polling error, or an intervening event. So, um, what's the deal?
Here's the deal. Silver's method of computing the chances of Trump's victory is still hopelessly flawed. His polls only forecast currently puts Trump's chances at around 14%, which is where it was when I started the "Nate Silver is full of shit" series. That still describes a quantum-mechanical multiverse in which one out of seven universes branching out from this moment include President Trumps. And it does so because Silver's method plays combinatorical games with the electoral college, ignoring the near impossibility of an electoral college-popular vote split when a candidate is as far ahead as Clinton is now nationally. Hence, there is actually a discrepancy between how Silver describes the race in the piece linked above and his normal method, if one recognizes the point I kept beating into the ground in the "Nate Silver is full of shit series" on the relationship between the popular vote and the electoral college when one candidate is as far ahead as Clinton is.
The problem, then, is Silver's failure to connect the substantive political observation to the math. Combinatorics games of the kind Silver employs with the electoral college are not informative unless the popular vote is close enough to make an electoral college-popular vote split plausible. Hence, the right question remains as follows: what is the probability of Trump closing the gap nationally to a level at which 270 electoral votes are within reach for him? Silver's method doesn't address that question. What is the probability? I don't know, but one of of seven? I call bullshit.
And in his linked piece above? So does Silver. On himself.