The “Other Nate” Speaks

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In addition to everyone’s favorite new nerdy pollster Princeton Professor Sam Wang and Fightin’ Ryan Grim of Huffington Post, there’s another guy we should check in with. In 2012, the New York Times’ polling analysis was done by Nate Silver, as the Times had brought Silver and on board back then.

The Times and 538 parted ways not long thereafter, when 538 was sold to ESPN. Now, the Times’ polling analysis is called the Upshot, and the group is led by another Nate: Nate Cohn, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Nate Silver and also has developed a cult following like his predecessor.

Nate Cohn has an article from yesterday on Donald Trump’s prospects, which I highly suggest you read:

Over the last few days of the race, Donald J. Trump intends to travel all over the country. He’s going to Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and even Minnesota, he said Saturday.

It’s an impressive travel schedule, but it may reflect the biggest challenge facing him right now: It’s still not clear exactly where and how he would win.

Hillary Clinton has a consistent and clear advantage in states worth at least 270 electoral votes, even if the race has undoubtedly tightened over the last few weeks. But even that understates the challenge facing Mr. Trump’s campaign: It’s not at all obvious where he has his best chance of breaking through, making it harder for him to concentrate his efforts over the last days of the campaign.

This is not to say that Mr. Trump can’t win. The polls could be off across the board.

But even if he wins Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, Utah, North Carolina, Florida and New Hampshire, he’s still short of a victory.

He’s not assured to win any of those states, to be clear — although he’s a clear favorite in Iowa and Utah at this point. He has trailed in more live interview polls of North Carolina and Florida than he has led, although the national race has tightened since many were taken.

But he would still need to win one of the following states: Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia, or perhaps New Mexico or Minnesota.

The Upshot currently makes Hillary Clinton an 84% favorite.

The likelihood of all the states falling like toy soldiers for Donald Trump relies on the prospect that the “polls could be off across the board,” and that all the errors break in Donald Trump’s favor. I think we have enough evidence from early voting to conclude that the polls are likely off in two states on Cohn’s list that favor Hillary Clinton, not Trump. In Nevada, early vote turnout in Clark County has surpassed the level of 2012, when Barack Obama won Nevada by seven points. And in Florida, Hispanic turnout is extraordinarily high, again benefiting Clinton rather than Trump. As for any benefits to Trump, none have manifested so far.

But like the mythical snipe, those polling errors in favor Trump by a net three points could be out there, just waiting to be found. Probably not, though.

Keep breathing. Nate Cohn is just as nerdishly cute as Nate Silver. All will be well.

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