Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls

I’m going to offer something a little different in this week’s Outside the Box. Nate Silver has consistently been one of the best political analysts of the past 12 years. I wasn’t terribly enamored of his move from the New York Times to ESPN – to go back to covering sports rather than politics – but he still covers politics over at 538.

This past week he wrote an article called “Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls.” It’s not that he’s got an anti-Trump bias, but he points out in this insightful article that polls taken this month aren’t really telling us anything, and at the end of the piece he shows us what the breakdown of people who are firmly decided on their presidential candidate probably is for Iowa and New Hampshire. If nothing else, that will either make you happy because your favorite guy or gal may not actually be that far behind (assuming you’re Republican, that is) or it will demonstrate the dubious value not just of political polls but also of consumer and economic surveys as opposed to hard facts.

Silver’s analysis speaks to the skeptic in me. In his analysis, Donald Trump still comes in at the top of the heap of announced candidates, but “undecided” is a massive winner. That won’t be the case on February 1 when the Iowa caucuses are actually held, and Nate discusses how and when people actually make decisions on such things. If you are like me and find yourself faced with the choices given us today, you may be (1) overwhelmed and (2) not exactly sure who to support. There is a lot to like about a lot of them, but the choice is confusing to say the least. Do you pick the candidate you think can do best in November, or do you pick the candidate you would really like to be president? I think you will find this a fun and interesting read.

Even though I am not traveling, I seem to stay just as busy as ever. I am beginning to whittle my inbox down while trying to keep up on my book research. When you start trying to write a book on what the world will look like in 20 years, there are just so many moving parts. We are also dealing with well over 100 different research assistants, and trying to coordinate all that and hit writing deadlines does make for a full day. An interesting day to be sure, but full.

You have a great week and be sure to check your inbox for my letter this week. It will have a major announcement that I am sure will intrigue you.

Your skeptical about polls in general analyst,

John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box