It’s been interesting to see the shift in responses from journalists as Donald ‘Drumpf’ has a meteoric rise through the Republican nomination process. In particular, two people/sources I read reasonably frequently have handled it quite differently.
On the other hand, Nate Silver wrote a piece in late January that talked about Drumpf’s chances, and how they’d changed. The closest thing to a recognition they’d been wrong was buried in a footnote:
Although, the record will show that we weren’t especially skeptical about Trump getting to this point, with a chance to win the Iowa caucuses. It was what came after Iowa that we thought would be the hard part, making Trump unlikely to win the GOP nomination. For a variety of reasons, however, but mostly because of how Republican “party elites” are behaving, Trump’s post-Iowa path doesn’t look as foreboding now. We think he has a real shot.
It’s arguable, I suppose, that Silver is making forecasts on a daily basis, that are carefully calibrated on a wide range of data. So that rather than making an explicit, one-off revision, there’s been a series of gradual shifts tracking the actual outcome, and potentially even the underlying shifts in probability.
Still, given how big a shift there’s been in Drumpf’s outcomes, I think it wouldn’t have hurt to recognise that things have turned out quite differently than many people expected they might last year.
I like 538, and I like Nate Silver. I think he’s a great source for really insightful coverage and analysis of American politics. But I’ve been keeping an eye out for a ‘we were wrong’ piece, and I haven’t seen it yet.