ELECTION DAY

Nate Silver Says Obama Has 92% Chance Of Winning. Is The Out Pollster Helping Or Hurting?

It Boy polling analyst Nate Silver has been all over this campaign season, most recently touting his prediction on his FiveThirtyEight blog that President Obama has a 91.6% chance of winning his bid for re-election today.

In order for Mr. Romney to win the Electoral College, a large number of polls, across these states and others, would have to be in error, perhaps because they overestimated Democratic turnout. It’s this possibility, more than the chance of a successful hail-mary in a state like Pennsylvania, that accounts for most of Mr. Romney’s remaining chances of winning the Electoral College.

There is also the chance that Mr. Obama could finish toward the higher end of the polling range in most states. If Mr. Obama has gained a point or two nationally because of Hurricane Sandy or other factors, then polls taken before it may underestimate his standing in the individual states as well.

The FiveThirtyEight forecast accounts for this possibility through its trendline adjustment, which is why our forecasts now are slightly more optimistic for Mr. Obama in some states than a simple average of polls. Had there been evidence of late movement toward Mr. Romney, the trendline adjustment would instead have worked in his favor.

But Mr. Romney’s chances of winning the Electoral College have slipped, and are now only about 8 percent according to the forecast model — down from about 30 percent 10 days ago.

Of course Silver isn’t saying Obama will win by 92%, or even that it won’t be close. But such optimistic predictions can actually change the outcome of an election if Democratic voters think its in the bag and stay home.  Plus, we’re kind of big believers in jinxes.

So what say you, Queerty readers? Do Nate Silver’s rosy numbers put a spring in your step on Election Day—or fill you with dread?

Photo: Randy Stewart