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Nate Silver: Trump’s current supporters still outnumbered by people who think moon landing was faked

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Number cruncher and statistician Nate Silver said on Monday that people who are currently hyperventilating about real estate tycoon and former reality TV star Donald Trump’s poll numbers need to get some perspective on the issue.

In a column titled “Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls,” Silver reminded political reporters and pundits that the number of people currently supporting Trump are still, percentage-wise, roughly equivalent to the number of Americans who believe that the Apollo moon landings were faked.

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“Right now, he has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican. (That’s something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked),” wrote Silver.

He continued, “As the rest of the field consolidates around him, Trump will need to gain additional support to win the nomination. That might not be easy, since some  Trump actions that appeal to a faction of the Republican electorate may alienate the rest of it. Trump’s favorability ratings are middling among Republicans (and awful among the broader electorate).”

Trump will also have to motivate that sliver of the population to go to the polls and vote for him. Plus there is a certain amount of statistical noise this far out from the actual election.

Silver said that part of the issue is that average voters just aren’t attuned to the process at this point. In spite of the outsized amount of attention that early debates have generated, “most voters have a lot of competing priorities. Developments that can dominate a political news cycle, like Trump’s frenzied 90-minute speech in Iowa earlier this month, may reach only 20 percent or so of Americans.”

Silver showed a chart comparing the 2008 race and the 2016 race thus far, noting that “public attention to the race starts out quite slow and only gradually accelerates — until just a week or two before Iowa, when it begins to boom.”

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At this point, the majority of voters are barely paying attention, Silver said. Studies of search engines and Internet queries show that “(v)oters are still at the early stages of their information-gathering process.”

“So, could Trump win?” he asked. “We confront two stubborn facts: first, that nobody remotely like Trump has won a major-party nomination in the modern era. And second, as is always a problem in analysis of presidential campaigns, we don’t have all that many data points, so unprecedented events can occur with some regularity.”

Silver wouldn’t rate Trump’s chances of seizing the nomination at 0 percent, but he wouldn’t rate the businessman as high as 20 percent likely.

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“Your mileage may vary,” he said. “But you probably shouldn’t rely solely on the polls to make your case; it’s still too soon for that.”


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‘People’s lives will be lost’: Psychiatrist warns ‘sociopath’ Trump is ‘getting worse’ — and failing in coronavirus response

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President Donald Trump's psychological problems are getting worse and could be consequential as America faces a potential COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday interviewed Dr. Lance Dodes, a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

"As you pointed out, Lawrence, this man is about himself. He really is not about the country, he's not about public health," Dr. Dodes said of Trump.

"Although he has already severely damaged the country by being a psychopath or sociopath -- in many ways, he's damaged democracy -- I think people's lives will be lost now," he warned. "Individual lives will be lost because of the way he's mishandling the coronavirus issue."

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2020 Election

‘Something really rotten’: Here’s the evidence of extensive voter suppression in Georgia’s notorious 2018 election

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As the 2020 presidential campaign cycle grinds on, there’s renewed concern about the 21st century’s newest form of warfare: cyber-sabotage of government systems, including elections and online disinformation intended to incite unrest. But as Suppressed: The Fight to Vote, a documentary from Brave New Films, makes clear, partisan voter suppression tactics with 20th-century roots remain and can thwart multitudes of voters from changing their state’s political leaders.

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The real story behind Trump’s new lawsuit against the New York Times

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Wednesday was an ominous day for freedom of the press in this country, and I want to tell you why.

You may have heard or seen that President Trump filed a libel suit against the New York Times. Perhaps you weren’t surprised: the president is known to frequently disparage the Times even as he reads it obsessively. Borrowing a page from what I’ve referred to before as a Mount Rushmore of totalitarians, Robespierre, Hitler, Stalin and Mao, Trump loves to call the press the “enemy of the people.”

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