Aug 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight model gives Trump 27% chance of re-election

FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that his forecast for the 2020 election finds that President Trump currently has a 27% chance of defeating Joe Biden.

The big picture: Biden has an 8.7-point lead on President Trump in FiveThirtyEight's average of national polls. The president has seen his poll numbers tank since the coronavirus pandemic began, and as Americans took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd in cities around the country.

The state of play: Silver's same model gave Trump a 29% chance on Election Day 2016 — higher than most forecasters at the time.

  • "This is not quite the same situation as 2016, when the polls were actually pretty close," Silver said. "This year, Trump is not very close to Joe Biden. Instead the issue is that he still has a lot of time to catch up."
  • The model gives a 10% chance of Trump again winning the Electoral College but not the popular vote — like what happened in 2016.

Yes, but: Silver said "uncertainties related to COVID-19," like what the economy will look like in November, make the election especially unpredictable.

  • "It's simply too soon for a model or for anybody else to be all that confident about what is going to happen," Silver said.

Silver's bottom line: "Yes, Trump definitely still has a shot at re-election."

Go deeper