Monday, November 7, 2016

The big, unanswered questions before tomorrow

In the first post of the "Nate Silver is full of shit" series, I made a few remarks about the unlikelihood of Trump's victory as of October 14, and what I would say in the unlikely event of his victory from that vantage point.  Here's the quote:

Now, Trump could still win, in which case there are universes branching out from here with President Trumps, where I revisit this post.  What will I say in those universes?  Perhaps something like this:  "OWWW!  It really hurt when those monkeys came flying out of my ass!"
Or, more realistically, "wow, that was some crazy shit when they perp-walked Clinton," or a more somber comment on a terrorist attack, because that's probably what it would take at this point to save Trump's candidacy.

Well...  We didn't see a perp walk, but James Comey at least temporarily upended the race by announcing that the FBI had reopened the investigation into the email thing.  And now, it's closed!  With the election tomorrow!  Which means we have no time for polls to tell us if the new announcement undoes the damage of the initial announcement!  So, here are some big questions.

1)  How fast does information move?  How fast does it move to the very narrow slice of swing voters, and how fast does it move to likely Clinton voters who might just have stayed home and may still stay home?

2)  Does Comey's second announcement matter, or has he already reframed the election around Clinton rather than around Trump?  This is an election that the Democrats should lose.  Two Democratic victories in a row with a tepidly growing economy-- Clinton's lead is only because the Republicans were dumb enough to nominate Donald J. Trump, and by moving the focus away from him, Comey still helped the Republicans.

3)  Has the last week already had an effect on get-out-the-vote efforts on either side?  Remember, it could boost Republican efforts, if they had GOTV, the problem being Trump's lack of "ground game."

4)  With a race this crazy, can something happen today?

Basically, I make no claim to know the chances of how this shakes out tomorrow.  Clinton will probably win.  How are her chances?  Better than yesterday, worse than before Comey reopened the FBI case.  Without polling data, and without time to collect polling data, we are flying blind here.

So, as long as I am talking about a lack of polling data, that makes Nate Silver completely worthless today.  A major announcement happened last night.  We have no polling data, and we will get no polling data before the election.  There is no point in even checking his estimates.  The only sources for any quantitative estimates right now would be betting markets.  PredictWise currently puts Clinton at an 89% chance, which is right below where she stood before the Comey announcement.  Whatever.

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