Nate Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, defended the website’s polling on a Wednesday podcast, telling critics “f*ck you, we did a good job.”
“I do want to ask about polling because I think I would be virtually decapitated on Twitter if I didn’t get into this,” FiveThirtyEight podcast host Galen Druke said.”I think some of the biggest polling errors we maybe have seen were in maybe Wisconsin or Florida, but in other states like Georgia we didn’t really see that much of a polling error.” (RELATED: Philadelphia City Commissioners Say They Are Investigating After Video Allegedly Shows GOP Poll Watcher Getting Kicked Out Of Polling Place)
“I know that the pitchforks are already coming for the pollsters,” Druke continued, “but what do we make of that scattered result and of the level of rage that we’ve seen over the past 24 hours?”
Critics expressed frustration after some polling predicted former Vice President Joe Biden beating President Donald Trump by a significant margin when in reality the race turned out to be very close. FiveThirtyEight gave Biden a 71% chance of winning the election – the same odds the pollsters gave Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Nate Silver needs job retraining assistance. https://t.co/t8nXw55mC8
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) November 5, 2020
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) November 5, 2020
But for real, how the hell does Nate Silver have a job?
— Dan Arel (@danarel) November 4, 2020
Nate Silver spent all year analyzing congressional districts and polls and everything possibly related to the election.
And again, he couldn’t have been more off. This isn’t an NFL game, this is *the country.*
How’s this possible? https://t.co/S6Pc8QN9Ol
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) November 4, 2020
“If they’re coming after FiveThirtyEight, the answer is f*ck you, we did a good job,” Silver responded. “And the reason why is because look, we are here to provide guidance on how accurate the polls might or might not be. And the whole premise of why Joe Biden was a fairly heavy favorite was that he could withstand 2016’s style polling error or a bit larger, and even those polls are sometimes wrong.”
“On the one hand, I think it shows increased sophistication that people can say okay, maybe you didn’t miscall that many winners,” Silver added, noting that the only state that Biden lead in the polling average but ended up losing was Florida.
Silver said that in 2016, the polls incorrectly predicted the winner, but in 2020 the polls correctly predicted the winner, but the margins were off.