Popular Prognosticator Pegs Trump’s Chance at Winning at about 5%

This will not make Donald Trump fans very happy. Popular prognosticator Nate Silver was on CNN earlier this week to rain on the upstart GOP candidate’s parade. Silver, who has become a notorious figure in political handicapping after beginning his career by predicting what would happen in the sports world, now says that Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson each have about a 5% chance of winning the 2016 Presidential election.

Anderson Cooper: You might have noticed, we talked a bit about polls around here, so does Donald Trump, so do all kinds of candidates whether they’re gaining or boasting or slipping and complaining. For better or worse, polling drives the conversation right now and a new conversation started comes out pretty much daily. 

Our next guest made his reputation by picking the right polling data and using it much more — well to make much more accurate predictions, extremely accurate predictions. Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight.com joins us tonight to talk about what the numbers can and can’t say right now about the state of the race. 

So it’s really fascinating because you put the chance of Donald Trump or Ben Carson actually getting the GOP nomination and put it around 5 percent.

Nate Silver: Maybe about 5 percent each, somewhere around there.

Anderson Cooper: Why so low?

Nate Silver: So there are couple things to think about. One is that if you look back at history, you’ve never seen candidates like Donald Trump certainly or Ben Carson win a party nomination. And secondly, if you look at the polling, a lot of times a candidate who is leading the polls now mid-September didn’t win the nomination, didn’t even come close. So if you look four years ago, Rick Perry was in the midst of a surge right now. Eight years ago on the democratic side, you had Howard Dean or 12 years ago rather, Howard Dean was surging, Hillary Clinton was still away ahead of Barack Obama in 2008. Rudy Giuliani was leading the polls in 2008. I think people, there’s so much interest in this election, in this campaign, people forget that polls five months before Iowa historically have told you very, very little.