The Data Disagrees with the GOPe

by Nick V. Flor • February 27, 2016 • @ProfessorF

The New York Times recently published an article outlining several secret plans by the GOP Establishment (“GOPe”) to take down Trump should he become the Republican nominee.  Why? Because they are absolutely terrified that Trump will win the Republican nomination, yet then go on to lose big to Hillary in the general election. They’re certain that the best path to victory is some other candidate that reflects conservative values (well, other than Ted Cruz, of course, because “no one likes him”, they say).

What hypocrites.

For eight years Republican politicians have been telling us that they are the true party of We The People, that they are the only ones that care for and value Americans.  Well, if that’s true, and We The People vote Trump as the nominee, shouldn’t they care for and value our decision, instead of fighting against what we voted for?

I guess it’s all about The Greater Good. But let’s not dwell on their hypocrisy.  Let’s decide this with data.  Let’s see what the data says about their key claims: (1) Trump will win the Republican nomination; and (2) Trump will lose big to Hillary.

Claim 1: Trump Will Win the Republican Nomination (Likely)

You can check this claim via prediction markets. A prediction market is a bunch of people that place actual money bets on who will win various events—like sports and elections. Because money is on the line, bettors tend to do their homework and research shows market predictions are more accurate than polls.

Here are the latest results from my favorite prediction market:


Note that the market has Trump winning by 61 points over his closest rival Rubio.  Conservative favorite, Ted Cruz, comes in last with only 1% of the market thinking he will be the Republican nominee. And the market is usually right.

Data says: Likely.

Claim 2: Trump Will Lose Big To Hillary (Unlikely to “Lose Big”)

One way to check this claim is to look at polling data, and one of the best sources of polling data is RealClearPolitics (“RCP”). They average different polls to come up with a single number for a variety of candidates and match-ups.  In their latest matchup between Trump & Hillary, they have Hillary up by 2.8 points:


But this particular poll includes a poll by PPD conducted in early February.  If that data point is removed, Hillary is only up by 1.3 points.

Data says: Unlikely (to losing “big”). But any loss is bad, and there is indeed a likelihood of losing.

My Recommendation to the GOPe

The data shows that Trump is not going to “lose badly” to Hillary if he’s the GOP nominee. In fact, the polling trend favors Trump.

If Trump does win the Republican nomination, my advice to the GOPe is this: Instead of secret plans to take down Trump, consider strategic plans to work with Trump to win the general election.

It is irrational to do otherwise.

(And no, I have not selected a candidate yet. I just don’t like the hypocrisy of the GOPe)