Current odds of Clinton or Trump winning in November

By Jim Russell
Empire Press Correspondent

My wife is frequently the only person who hears my outbursts when I read or see the rampant irrelevant, inaccurate or incomplete news reports about who is likely to win the presidential election in November.

I hope to point people toward what I believe to be the gold standard of statisticians reporting on the candidates’ chances of winning in November.

As of July 29, Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning were at 53.3 percent based on polls predicting the Nov. 8 election. Donald Trump’s chances of winning were 46.7 percent.

My source is statistician Nate Silver and his election forecast website FiveThirtyEight (projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast). The name represents the number of Electoral College votes available in the nation’s voting districts. Silver forecast both President Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012, missing only one state in 2008 and getting each correct in 2012.

FiveThirtyEight aggregates results from polls forecast for Election Day by HuffPost Pollster, RealClearPolitics, polling firms and news reports.

Silver also uses two other forecast versions.

His “polls-plus” forecast is based what the polls, the economy and historical data tell voters about Nov. 8. Clinton’s chance of winning on that model was 61.8 percent on July 29 with Trump at 38.2 percent.

Silver’s “now-cast” model says who would win an election today. Trump’s chance of winning on that model as of July 29 was 51.6 percent to 48.4 percent for Clinton.

He revises his forecasts and plans to update them every time new data is available through Nov. 8.

The models also built procedures to handle third-party candidates, such as Libertarian Gary Johnson.

The website explains the forecast models in great detail, the Electoral College map of the country, the closeness of the race in each state, the predicted results for each state and more. I think it’s a wonderful model to educate voters and to follow daily results. I highly recommend it as an anecdote to the daily publications of one poll by one organization. Ignore those and the announcers who report them.

For example, when Silver forecast Obama’s chance of winning close to 95 percent on Election Day in 2012, I watched in amazement as columnist George Will erroneously predicted Romney would win, even predicting Romney would win an upset in Minnesota. Another columnist on the panel predicted the exact result Silver had made. It’s troubling to see such ignorance on display and it’s encouraging to see at least analysts have good sources.