Based on current polls, Princeton professor Sam Wang projects Donald Trump Will Win the Republican Nomination with a median of 1,356 delegates, 119 more than he needs at the convention.
Wang tweeted …
How did Wang arrive at such an incredible prediction?
Invalid Use of National Surveys
According to Wang, “A central problem is therefore how to construct the natural variation in state-to-state support. This can be done using national surveys, based on the fact that the national average contains respondents drawn from across the U.S.”
Using National Surveys Wang concluded Trump had a “92% of the probability of winning 1,237 delegates or greater”, but reduced that total accounting for “Cruz bias” to “70%, about 2-1 in Trump’s favor”.
As logic would dictate, and year-to-date results show, basing state projections based on national polls is a very poor statistical idea.
What does strength in New York or Maryland have to say about strength in other totally unrelated states like Indiana or Colorado?
In a comment on his blog, I very politely pointed out the flaws of using national polls to predict state outcomes. I referenced a recent post of mine and another by the New York Times.
He immediately removed my comment. I tried a second time and he removed that.
I emailed Wang and asked him if he even bothered to read my analysis or that of the New York Times.
He did not respond. Instead, being the “open-minded” professor that one might expect in the US education system, he actually banned me from even reading his tweets!
Banning someone from reading your tweets is certainly a low class act.
However, Wang’s blog still remains open so I present this snapshot.
I bounced Wang’s post off Salil Mehta at Statistical Ideas.
Mehta responded ….
I found it interesting that this individual is taking some thoughtful measures of previous empirical distributions, but then relying heavily on applying “standard deviations” to future election outcomes. Natural election outcomes (especially a composite of these late-stage primary states) tend to not to share symmetrical bell-shaped properties.
Another issue is in the treatment of the 1.2 Cruz handicap. Earlier in the primaries when there were many more candidates and Cruz was a severe underdog, it is far easier to generate a high-ratio handicap. (See my article Getting Trumped).
Now with just 3 candidates, and Cruz with a much later portion of the preference, it is clearly more difficult to get the same high-ratio handicap. The author states that since Cruz this season has been at a certain handicap, it is “fair” to merely apply this same bonus to future projections. This assumption appears to be a significant problem, but one the author can rectify in future modeling!
Three Wang Errors
Given Mehta’s analysis, it’s pretty safe to conclude Wang made at least three major errors (one I pointed out and two by Mehta).
If Wang wishes to do so, I will gladly post his state-by-state projections to see where he gets his numbers from.
I projected a Trump win, but barely citing three key states: New York, Indiana, California, beating the New York Times to that analysis.
Nate Silver Update
The Business Insider reports NATE SILVER: Donald Trump’s Chances of Locking up the Nomination Appear to be Dwindling.
That headline is based on Silver’s State by State Roadmap from which the following chart was derived.
Nate Silver vs. Mish
I appear to be just shy of the mark. But I gave Trump 15 of 125 uncommitted delegates. He may not win many, but he won’t lose them all. With those 15 delegates, Trump eeks out a win on the first ballot.
I am down from my original total as Trump did not pick up the seven I assigned from Colorado.
Pennsylvania could easily provide a decent surprise if Trump needs another dozen. After that, Trump has a huge problem, but so does the GOP if Trump blows out Cruz in the majority of states but does not win the nomination.
Indiana is the key unknown. Silver originally projected 37. Silver now has 9 as the “deterministic” single most likely number, in a “probabilistic” range that widens to 22.
On what did Silver make this adjustment?
Last month, our panel gave Trump an average of 37 delegates in Indiana, which implied that he’s the favorite to win there. I don’t think I can agree with that after Wisconsin, however. The states are relatively similar demographically. In Indiana, as in Wisconsin, Trump doesn’t have much support from statewide elected officials. Moreover, the Midwest as a whole has been a middling region for Trump. Earlier in the calendar, he got away with some wins in the Midwest with a vote share in the mid-to-high 30s. Now that the field has winnowed and Republican voters have learned to vote tactically, he’ll often need 40 percent of the vote to win a state instead.
Still, some caution is in order. There’s been no polling at all in Indiana. Perhaps Trump can hope that his momentum from April 26 will carry him to victory, or that Kasich will drain a few votes from Cruz in counties that border Ohio. My deterministic projection has Trump losing — although salvaging a few congressional districts — while the probabilistic one is more equivocal. The path-to-1,237 projection has Trump winning, almost out of necessity, because it will be hard for him to carve out a path to 1,237 delegates without the Hoosier State. Revised Trump delegate projections: deterministic 9; probabilistic 22; path-to-1,237 48.
There are no polls. Silver is guessing and so am I.
If Trump loses Indiana and that big block of 30 statewide delegates (the remaining 27 are at the district level), it will be very difficult for Trump to come up with 1,237.
Given the vital importance of Indiana, one would think pollsters would be all over the state. But here we are.
Trump will win or die on the results of California and Indiana.
The quote of the day goes to Salil Mehta “the only real forecast that is >99% accurate is the one that is made the day after the election”
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Wayne Schwartz said:
Good Morning Mish,
I did not think I would need to source this comment, so it will have to given in an anecdotal,
fashion. Based on your live or die comment regarding Trump and California, you may want to check this and then rethink. I read that Cruz has had people in place as potential delegates in every district in California. Kasich is also very strong in Northern California. But the kicker is that as of now Trump has not identified people to run as delegates on his behalf in at least half of the districts. This is especially the case in the Central Valley around Fresno. If that is the case he will find himself with another “Colorado” on his tiny hands.Which means he comes up way short no matter how the voting goes.
If Trump had wished to win in the traditional political manner, all he would have need do is buy off all of the delegates, as that seems to be within “the rules”. The ground game, as is so often referred, appears to be a process of securing delegates…the election of delegates and the desired rules to best get the delegates to vote for you. This has traditionally been under the control of the “Republican Party” to a large extent….a process that the vast majority of VOTERS know nothing about.
We have passively set back and observed the selection of our nominees under the assumption that our votes and voices were being the primary factor in this. Trump, has now turned on the lights and the roaches are in full view. No one is selecting our nominees other than those actively participating NOT IN DEMOCRACY, but party politics. Back room dealing hidden from the light of day is now outed. If Trump wins, it will be because he rejected the party politics rather than embracing it.
Cruz is taking a chance with his actions. Yes, they may well win him the Republican nomination, but he will be further tarnished as a party insider…like all the rest who will do what is needed to win, the ends justifying the means. You can bet that IF he does win the nomination that the RNC support will be weak at best as they have no desire to cede power to anyone, even IF he is playing by their rules.
Make no mistake, the RNC is more than prepared to lose ANOTHER election, and many have outright said they would vote for Hillary over Trump. No ration person believes that Trump would be worse than Hillary, so we KNOW where they stand.
“Anyone but Trump” is basically anyone rather than surrender their power. The democratic and republican parties are a monopoly on the democratic process and they WILL NOT SURRENDER THIS…EVER. Trump WOULD DESTROY THEM.
Trump would never destroy the political parties. He has been an insider all his life, buying politicians and political influence. Think of the prostitution racket. It encompasses both the prostitute and the pimp. Trump has fulfilled the role of the pimp for years and would never destroy the system that has allowed him to prosper.
As an expert marketer he has correctly identified the mood of the country being fed up with the lies and deception of Washington politicians. He only rails against the parties when he is losing. He has received about 37 % of the vote, but has won 45% of the delegates.
This country has never been a direct democracy. Your vote in November does not elect the President per se. The Electoral College decides who becomes President and Vice President. The nominees of the parties have always been chosen by the delegates.
If it’s close – Trump will indeed buy needed delegates out of the uncommitted pool
After Colorado – Trump will have a proper slate of delegates
Besides – rules are different
Pinnacle sports is offering Trump at -121, implying 55% chance of winning the nomination. (At +638 to be president).
Mish, you dared to criticize a Princeton professor? What chutzpah! You’re lucky you haven’t been arrested (yet)!
I remember a time, long ago, when Princeton staff & graduates were intelligent.
I wrote a detail analysis of the Indiana Republican primary with respect to Trump’s chances of winning and the strategic characteristics that will shape the race. I would say Trump has a very good chance of winning, but the state is a must-win to avoid the contested convention.
No thanks necessary. I enjoy your writing immensely. You are killing Silver et al. with your coverage of this stuff and I love it.
Gibbon – well written!
I’m guessing also, but I believe Trump loses Indiana, Maryland, and California.
Indiana is a winner-take-all state by congressional district and statewide. Cruz has a strong chance at winning the statewide vote in the state and the 30 statewide delegates. There are nine congressional districts each awarding three delegates. Assuming Cruz wins 5 and Trump and Kasich each win two, given that this state is similar to Wisconsin, that would give a projection of Cruz 45 delegates, Trump six, and Kasich six.
Maryland is a winner-take-all hybrid state. The statewide winner will garner 14 at-large delegates. The winner of each of the eight congressional districts in Maryland will receive three delegates. Daniel Horowitz lives in Maryland and expects Cruz to win almost every district and statewide because Maryland is a wealthy state, a closed primary, and the state’s GOP voters are more conservative than Republicans in other northeastern states. (hat tip to Robert Enos at Conservative Review.)
In California only 13 delegates are awarded to the winner of the state, the rest are doled out based on the winner of each Congressional district. Cruz has worked for months in the state organizing each district down to the precinct level. He has delegates and alternate delegates in each precinct. My understanding is the slate of delegates has to be submitted by May 7th. Trump just now hired a state campaign director. Just as in CO, Trump has no ground game and will therefore come up the loser all the while whining about the vote being stolen.
If Trump ran his businesses as he has run his campaign, he would once again be filing bankruptcy. When poor preparation and organization lead to a loss, he results to bullying and whining, ginning up his base to threaten anyone who dares oppose him. A thoroughly disgusting display of a juvenile, entitled mentality. This is my chief complaint about Trump. He is a progressive populist who views government as the answer if only we had better, smarter leaders. He will appoint smarter trade negotiators, impose tariffs, and through the strength of his personality make America great again. He can’t even run a campaign much less a country.
I voted for Cruz in my primary and have no problem at all if he becomes our nominee IF it is based on a popular vote, NOT gerrymandering delegates. I’m sick of the damned games. Republicans and Democrats do not OWN the democratic process, regardless of what their “rules” say.
The caucus procedure, for most intents and applications, dates back to before the founding of the republic. And this is still a republic (small “r” intended) not a pure democracy, where two wolves and a sheep vote on what’s for dinner.
Granted, it’s messy sometimes, but there is some method to the madness.
I believe the caucus has outlived its usefulness. We no longer have long distances and time issues to deal with. Further, I would question as to if the “parties” had such a stranglehold on the process as they do now. Regardless of its intent, it stinks (like most other “good intentions” of politicians).
You don’t seem to know how this works. Regardless of Cruz’s organization which no doubt will pad the delegates with fake Trump supporters – The delegates are bound on the first round
IF, they don’t change the rules. As they are continually reminding us, it’s their game and their rules….fairness is NOT a consideration, only OUTCOME is relevant.
Billy Walrus said:
You are absolutely right with the only accurate analysis here. Mish seems to think Trump is miraculously going to produce an organization capable of doing the hard groundwork necessary to win delegates. He has not and he will not. He is blowing this contest big time and thus proving himself unfit to run the country let alone a political campaign.
Cruz out organized him in all the caucus states plus Colorado
Hardly a basis for your wild claim
Even Silver has Trump winning California
Isn’t Nate Silver the one who pushed Romney as winning in 2012 until about the day or maybe two days before the election – when he switched to Obama?
Everyone said it was only so Nate could screech about “being right.”
What if the Donald selected the Bern as VP? Imagine,,,the anti-establishment Neo-capitalist and Social Justice outsider warriors pitted against the Corporatist Hillary the Hun?
One would have to vote a ticket like that, if for nothing more than the entertainment value.
At one point, DJT said his VP pick would be someone with “political” experience.
Hasn’t Bernie been in Congress since about 1970?
Of course “political” experience could mean from business positions……
Would states accept a third party on the ballot at this late date?
No The Bern has not been in congress nearly that long. His bio:
Born (1941) & raised in Brooklyn NY (he’ll be 75 for the next election)
BA in political science from U. of Chicago where he belonged to the Young People’s Socialist League (the Socialist Party of America youth affiliate).
Between ’72 – ’76 he ran in & lost 4 elections. He then ran for Mayor of Burlington VT in 1980 and won by 10 votes. He was re-elected 3 times.
He lost the 1986 Vermont governor race and briefly was out of politics until being elected a US representative in 1990. He became a Vermont senator in 2007.
Although he is generally extremely liberal, he has voted against gun control bills, against the Patriot Act and spying on citizens, and sometimes against military ventures.
He is actually much better than his evil democrat opponent (but that’s not saying much).
Mish, check out this analysis of Trump vs anti-Trump voters based on European ethnicity..https://heartiste.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/niceness-will-be-the-death-of-the-white-race/
Bill Fawell said:
Indiana is nothing like Wisconsin, in fact, they’re compete opposites. There’s your mistake Mish, confusing Wisconsin with Indiana. I’m not sure how you got there because both the history’s and a cursory examination of the two should make this clear, they are diametrically opposed. Trump will win Indiana. Personally, I’m absolutely amazed that so many people can’t see through the thin oily facade of Cruz (TRUSTED???) Not in a MILLION YEARS. I call him the mask, because he’s frozen his face so that it can’t betray his lies. With his emotionless black dead eyes, he otherwise resembles a shark, swimming continually, mindlessly, without moral judgment, looking for a fat soul to steal. A true American Psychopath.
Bill, what did you expect? Cruz is a lawyer, like Obama & Hillary and so many other politicians.
Q: What do you call 1000 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start.
Q: What’s the difference between a dead lawyer and a dead skunk in the road?
A: There are skid marks from braking in front of the skunk.
Anyone running for a position of power is not to be trusted. Blind loyalty has gotten us into this mess.
“A true American psychopath”.
I do believe you have just described the universal genre of politicians.
They should just let the people directly vote for Dem/Rep candidates, instead of delegates. Why should someone other than the people’s choice be in the ballot in November?
Stuki Moi said:
Because “The People’s” anything really isn’t.
When the jaws stop flapping and the money is laid on the line,,,
Indiana is much more favorable for Trump than Wisconsin, as the ethnicity chart shows, but still looks about even…
Mish, I live in Southern Indiana. Sentiment is very different south of the Indianapolis line in the dirt. The standard FSA (Free S**t Army) are abound in Gary, Indiana. Indianapolis is a mix up of super wealthy and FSA types. But in S. Indiana, you have a demographic of coal miners and energy producers, who are really pissed about Prez. Obaminations efforts to kills their jobs. In Evansville alone, the costs of electricity & gas consumption has skyrocketed to nearly the highest in the whole country, due to all those EPA mandated changes that Vectren Energy Delivery is required to put into use. Any nominee supporting the idea of getting Americans back to really working, excluding burger flipping you know, and keeping the lights on will be getting their vote. Trump is that choice.
(My own personal impression of the four candidates: Cruz creeps me the hell out. Something about him is sociopathologically way off. Hilary is a liar, knows it, doesn’t care, and thinks all women are going to vote for her because she is biologically the same. Nope, nope, nope. All I really know about Sanders is that he’s really smart, and supports Socialist concepts. Great in theory, not so much realistically. Trump may not be a politician, but does know business. Our country is currently being ran as if it’s a corp., so why the heck not elect someone who knows how to outwit the banker and get some real bargaining accomplished? Also, he isn’t excited about waring with other countries. I think if anyone can bridge that Russia – US gap of trust, it’d be Trump.)