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Trafalgar and Rasmussen Polls

Trafalgar and Rasmussen Polls

Nate Silver Comments

I'm not a Let's Delve Into The Crosstabs guy, but some of the shit here is just crazy. Trump is not going to win 30% of the Democratic vote in Michigan. Biden is not going to win 25% of Republicans. Trump is not going to win independents by 32 points.

Broader Issue

A broader issue here is with polling firms that behave like partisan shops even though they're nominally nonpartisan. And unlike pollsters who work for campaigns, who are mostly pretty good, a lot of them don't know what they're doing, as @Nate_Cohn says

Counter Replies

More on Trafalgar Silliness

Trafalgar Response - Remove the Cross Tabs

Links to these Trafalgar polls with the dubious crosstabs have gone dead.

My Take

  1. Yes, those crosstabs by the Trafalgar Group are "crazy." 
  2. If Trafalgar stood by them, they should leave them up.
  3. Yes, Silver was overconfident in 2016.
  4. Both Trump supporters and Biden supporters believe what that want to believe no matter how crazy it is.
  5. Trafalgar got lucky in 2016. Trump won because of a last minute Comey bombshell or we would not even be having this discussion.

We will see who is crazy and who isn't soon enough. 

I put my faith in polls on women, those 65 and older, and Trump's miserable handling of Covid.

My Faith is Here

What About Undecided Voters?

I am glad you asked. 

There are not enough this time to matter. For discussion, please see Who are the Undecided Voters and How Many Remain?

This is Not 2016

Please consider my Eight Reasons This is Not 2016

I even added a bonus 9th reason, Covid. 

A thoughtful reader added two more: 

Scroll to Continue


  1. Trump ran as an outsider in 2016. He is an insider now.
  2. The Trump campaign is short on cash and had to pull ads in a number of key states. 

I made both of those points before so I accept them.

Bucking Silver 

I don't mind bucking Silver and do so all the time. 

I did in 2016.  

November 2, 2016: Assessing Trump’s Chances With Six Days Remaining.

Without a doubt, the decision by FBI director James Comey to announce the discovery of new emails related to the Hillary Clinton has seriously damaged Hillary’s election chances.

This may hand Trump the victory.

If we only look at the three most recent polls, Trump has a decent chance of winning Michigan.

In fact, Michigan seems to be Trump’s best shot, followed by Colorado, then New Hampshire.

By the way, even Wisconsin is in play. The most recent poll has Hillary with a mere one point lead, on an adjusted basis.

A slew of states are in play. Trump needs just one of them, assuming I am correct that Florida, North Carolina, and Nevada are a given.

Attributing Luck to Skill

Silver's 30% odds of Trump winning were too low and I said so. 

Ultimately, I expected Trump to fail by a state or two. This lead to taunts against me and of course more so against Silver for being "wrong".

Those confident Trump would win in 2016 were mostly lucky, not brilliant (unless they changed their belief because of the Comey bombshell). 

People Don't Understand Polls

Importantly, people do not understand polls or odds based on them.

40% chances happen 40% of the time, by definition. Watch any poker tournament and you will see 10% hands come in. 

That certainly does not make the 10% assessment "wrong".

In 2016, I correctly cited Comey, in advance, not arrears, just underweighted it. 

Lightning Won't Strike Twice

Without Comey, Trump would have lost. Hillary was more despised and that carried the day. 

Trump is more despised today. For numerous reasons (links listed above), I cast my lot with Silver in this election.

Lightning will not strike twice. The Hunter Biden story isn't lightning, it's meaningless nonsense.

Unless Joe Biden dies between now an the election, it's over. 

I reiterate that it's more likely for Biden to win Texas than for Trump to win the election.