Nate Silver: There Might Be A Breach In Clinton's Electoral Firewall

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Nov 06, 2016 6:00 PM
Nate Silver: There Might Be A Breach In Clinton's Electoral Firewall

The electoral map has been a seesaw. Granted, Clinton was always the favorite, but her lock on the Electoral College has been broken in the final days of the campaign. Donald Trump is closing in on Clinton, Pennsylvania has been moved into the toss-up column by Real Clear Politics, and she’s dipped below the magic 270 number in the CNN map. Jason wrote about how Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report has backtracked; now saying that Trump has a path to 270. That doesn’t mean this thing is in the bag for Trump—far from it. But it does show that the polls are tightening, and that this race could be closer than most are predicting. Over at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver admitted that Clinton’s firewall isn’t robust, and that she’s in a worse position that Obama was back in 2012:

There’s been a potential breach of Hillary Clinton’s electoral firewall. And it’s come in New Hampshire, a state that we said a couple of weeks ago could be a good indicator of a Donald Trump comeback because of its large number of swing voters. Three new polls of New Hampshire released today [Nov. 3] showed a tied race, Trump ahead by 1 percentage point and Trump up by 5. There are some qualifications here: The poll showing Trump with a 5-point lead is from American Research Group, a pollster that’s had its issues over the years. And other recent polls of New Hampshire still show a Clinton ahead. But the race has clearly tightened in New Hampshire, with Clinton leading by only 2 to 3 percentage points in our forecast.

If Clinton lost New Hampshire but won her other firewall states, each candidate would finish with 269 electoral votes, taking the election to the House of Representatives. Or maybe not — if Clinton also lost the 2nd Congressional District of Maine, where polls show a tight race and where the demographics are unfavorable to her, Trump would win the Electoral College 270-268, probably despite losing the popular vote.

Couldn’t Clinton win Nevada to make up for the loss of New Hampshire? Or Florida? Or North Carolina? Well … of course she could. All those states remain highly competitive. The point, as we’ve said before, is just that Clinton’s so-called firewall is not very robust. If you’re only ahead in exactly enough states to win the Electoral College, and you’d lose if any one of them gets away, that’s less of a firewall and more of a rusting, chain-link fence.

Yes, it’s possible that Lady Macbeth can blow this. Yes, it possible that Trump could upset everyone yet again and win. And yes, it’s possible that the polls are wrong and Clinton could win in a landslide. Silver’s site still gives Trump a mere 35 percent chance of winning. It’s low, but the fact that Silver is even admitting that Trump could win, and that his chances are above 30 percent, appears to be driving liberals bonkers. Over at the Huffington Post Ryan Grim took on Silver, accusing him of “putting his thumb on the scale.” Let’s just say that things got ugly fast. Silver responded by unleashing a tweet storm at Grim.

“You have no fucking idea what you’re talking about,” he snapped back. He also called Grim’s article, “fucking idiotic and irresponsible.” Mediaite also noted that The Huffington Post, unsurprisingly, gives Trump a two percent chance of winning, which Silver noted in his twitter offensive.

“There's a reasonable range of disagreement. But a model showing Clinton at 98% or 99% is not defensible based on the empirical evidence,” he wrote. He also called Grim lazy for not contacting him for a comment before he published his piece. Frankly, it’s sort of hard to accuse anyone of putting their thumb on the scales for Trump…when the supposed rigged model still has Clinton winning by more than 70+ percent. I used to think Silver’s projections were bunk back in 2012 when he said that Romney pretty much had no chance of winning. I ate those words and have come to at least respect and digest the data crunching Silver and his team does, even if it’s against a particular candidate who I happen to now support. With liberals, apparently if you’re not in the ‘there’s a 90+ percent chance of Clinton winning club,’ you’re skewing the data for Trump.

A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll still has Clinton up by five points, though Trump is besting her by four on who is more honest. Two days until Election Day. Let’s see what happens. Right now, it’s up for grabs. And it remains to be seen who these shy Trumpkins are come Election Day, specifically how large this hidden bloc actually is since we’ve been talking about them for so long. Silver highlighted Clinton’s less than sturdy ramparts protecting her road to the White House, which could be traced to her dead broke comment in 2015. Remember that? When she incredulously said that she and Bill were pretty much broke when they left the White House. Even her allies called the remarks somewhat ridiculous; especially when Bill was making $24,000 a day in the first few months he left the presidency. She’s a bad candidate, an awful campaigner, she should be trouncing Trump right now in the polls, she should be winning majority support, she should have 270 or more electoral votes locked, but she isn’t because she can’t seal the deal—all of this shows in the current electoral map. She also didn’t do herself any favors by treating her email fiasco so flippantly as if this was going to be a one-week story. It’s plagued her for over a year, which was compounded by the alleged unethical dealings emanating from the Clinton Foundation. Oh, and about the Clinton Foundation, they improperly took a $1 million contribution from Qatar while Hillary was secretary of state; this donation was undisclosed. Maybe it’s stuff like this that’s making the race close and not Mr. Silver allegedly tipping the scale for Mr. Trump, which he isn’t doing.