Nate Silver, one of the polling world’s leading pollsters, and the editor in chief of the survey site, FiveThirtyEight, went on a Twitter rant about the media obsession with what he characterized as too-early – and therefore, meaningless – polls that predicted outcomes of yet-to-be-established match-ups between the GOP’s Donald Trump and the Democratic Party’s Hillary Clinton.
“For f–ks’ sake, America,” he wrote in one tweet. “You’re going to … go on a rant about general election polls – in May?”
Silver pointed that Clinton currently holds a six percent lead against Trump on a national scale, but that the political campaign season was young – very young.
“It’s early,” he wrote. “Trump could win. Also, he could lose in a landslide.”
And, he pointed, voters and members of the media shouldn’t discount the Sen. Bernie Sanders factor.
“Possible there are effects from Trump wrapping up his nomination while Clinton still competes against Sanders. We’ll know more in June,” Silver cautioned, in reference to the Democratic convention.
He also tweeted: “Looking at Electoral College is great once you have rich data – multiple recent polls of each state. We won’t have that for a few months.”
And another: “It’s usually not worth it to diagnose why an individual poll deviates from the consensus. Think ‘macro’ not micro – look for robust trends.”
Silver also advised political watchers to pay attention to certain specifics about polls.
“Watch whether polls are likely or registered voters,” he wrote. “Usually GOP gains a point or two with likelies. Possible Trump will be an exception.”
And in one other, he spoke what should be the obvious, but seems in this election cycle to have fallen to the side: “The election will go through a lot of twists and turns, and polls are noisy. Don’t sweat individual polls or short-term fluctuations.”