I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: 2016 is the year of the political outsider in America. Polls can’t predict this one…not accurately, anyway.
Outsider candidates have shaken up America’s two-party system and each party is splintering. The system has been dying a slow and painful death for quite some time.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders started a political revolution. For Donald Trump it was almost literally child’s play for him to take down 16 other Republican candidates. Establishment picks like Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio have faced difficulty relating to party bases.
Meanwhile no one, not even Nate Silver from the respected data-driven political forecasters of fivethirtyeight, has been able to predict the outcomes of this primary election. It seems like maybe now it’s time to ditch the polls.
[Image Credit: Relatably.com]
When it comes to predicting politics Silver has always been one of the best sources because he compiles empirical data before reaching his predictions. However, he has gotten practically everything wrong this election season. He repeatedly suggested that Trump could not win despite opinion polls. And he’s sorely underestimated Sanders. In fact, Sanders’ Michigan win was the biggest upset in Democratic primary history. Either Silver is trying to use his good name to save America, and the world, from neo-fascism (Trump) by writing headlines that convince average voters against voting from or this year has thrown up new variable he wasn’t able to predict. It isn’t just Silver. Many polls have underestimated the underdogs of the races this season.
I’ll go out on a limb, here, and say it’s the polls. (I analyzed methodology of establishment polls of the democratic primary race: read here)
There are many issues with polls. Flawed polling methodology, small sample sizes, voter irregularities, election fraud, mass voter purges, new voters, angry voters, likely voters, poor and young voters that live at home with their parents are problems that prevent accurate predictions. Because 2016 has been the most unpredictable race in years, perhaps ever, and the problematic nature of polls, America needs to scrap the poll-based predictions and focus on issue-oriented debates.
Silver recently calculated that Clinton has a 79% chance of winning the primary election and Trump has a 20% chance. He compiles data but these polls are inherently flawed. If it comes down to Clinton vs Trump, Silver doesn’t acknowledge, or doesn’t want to acknowledge, the very real and very vocal population of anti-intellectual pro-war Trump supporters. This is America. Their votes count, too.
If there were ever a time for Independents, 2016 is it. In fact, both Trump and Clinton have repeatedly pivoted on their positions and their rhetoric reflects tones and attitudes necessary for votes from the other sides of the aisle. In their pivots, Trump and Clinton pass eachother and leave a behemoth of angry and voiceless voters in the wake.
But what if this weird election season became even more unpredictable? What if the real general election race will be between neither Democrat nor Republican? The Green Party and the Libertarian Party have more support than they’ve ever had before. Both presumptive nominees’ favourability ratings are dismal. Is Silver really sure Clinton will win by a landslide?