Nate Silver Thinks Donald Trump's Chances Of Winning Are Higher, But Don't Worry

People who fear a Donald Trump presidency are likely feeling uneasy when looking at the national polls. Clinton maintains a 4.3 point average lead in polls from August; that's a decent number, but it might be a bit too close for comfort, especially given the amount of time between now and November, during which anything could happen. Although it might seem likely that the popular vote will be close, and even if it is, it's still unlikely, based on available data as of August, that Trump will win. Five Thirty Eight's professional wonk Nate Silver is putting Trump's chances at 15 percent based on current polls, taking into account projected electoral vote distribution.

Silver's projection is up from 11 percent for Trump a week prior. And, in the "polls-plus" predictive model, which factors in economic conditions and historical data along with recent polls, Trump is currently up to 24 percent from a low of 21 percent. Silver noted that it's hard to tell if Trump is actually garnering more support across the nation than before, since his performance is improving in some polls while worsening in others.

Either way, Silver's predictions don't bode well for Trump. But they might be a salve for those who are alarmed by his proximity to Clinton in some national polls. When consideration of electoral college votes factors into polling analysis, it shows Clinton with a likely lead in electoral votes, which ultimately decide the election.

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Many states award their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis; whichever candidate gets a plurality of votes within a state gets all its electoral votes. And Clinton has fairly steady average leads between 4.5 and 9 points in the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, each of which has a large number of electoral votes, and Silver deems them the three most powerful states in the race. Silver noted that Trump is more competitive in the swing states of Iowa and Nevada, but both have low electoral vote counts (six each).

Even though he's only 4 points behind Clinton in national polls, the state breakdown of polling suggests Trump has a slim chance of winning, unless there's a big turnaround between August and November. With the presidential debates on the horizon, third-party candidates getting more media attention, and Trump's general unpredictability, there's no such thing as a sure thing in this race. But as far as Silver is concerned, we have reason not to hold our breath for a Trump presidency.