Nate Silver Goes On Epic Twitter Rant About Clinton vs. Trump Polls: ‘For F**k’s Sake, America’

While I am by no means a “polling expert,” I do consider myself a bit of a polling nerd. Typically I enjoy studying them and I do get fairly annoyed when I see those who don’t know how to actually read or interpret them attempt to do so. Especially when they’re unethically manipulating the data to benefit whatever narrative they’re trying to push. Polls aren’t always overly complicated, but if you’re going to try to break them down, you should at least know how to accurately read and decipher the information.



For months I’ve been saying that head-to-head polls this far out from a general election are worthless. Until the primaries are over and you get closer to the general election, they’re utterly meaningless. Yet, even as far back as November and December, I saw bloggers and even some members of the media who were citing head-to-head polling data as if the information was remotely valid or worthwhile.

Even now as Bernie Sanders tries to position himself to possibly become the Democratic nominee, he’s been citing head-to-head polls as one of his key talking points, as part of his pitch to explain why superdelegates should choose him over Hillary Clinton even if she goes into the convention leading him in pledged delegates and overall votes. That’s made this a key piece of rhetoric his supporters have taken up, as well.

So, let me say what I’ve been saying for months: Head-to-head polls this far out from a general election are worthless. 

You don’t have to believe me – just listen to well-respected polling guru Nate Silver who went on an epic 8-part Twitter rant based on the increased chatter floating around recently concerning Clinton vs. Trump head-to-head polls.

Here are a few of his tweets:

To summarize Silver’s message: Head-to-head polls this far out from a general election are meaningless because we still need a lot more information, so anyone citing this information doesn’t know what the heck they’re talking about.



Furthermore, technically the general election hasn’t even begun. Hillary Clinton is still battling Bernie Sanders, which has kept the party divided, and many Republicans are still coming to grips with the fact that Donald Trump is actually going to be their party’s nominee.

Plus we really have no idea how Donald Trump is going to behave during the general election. It’s one thing to pander to the base during a primary election, but it’s quite another to try to convince voters in a general election that they should elect someone who’s called for banning all Muslims, deporting 12 million people and has been openly embraced by white supremacy groups.

Silver has made errors in polling judgment in the past, but he’s definitely someone whose opinion I value when it comes to breaking down these kinds of numbers. I like him because he’s not partisan nor does he have an agenda. He’s someone who does nothing but use stats, facts and a sound mathematical process to try to determine or predict what may or may not happen.

When he says it’s rather foolish to worry about head-to-head polls this far out, I think it’s safe to believe him.




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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