on May 28, 2015 at 4:24 PM
LANSING, MI — Nate Silver, a data guru and polling analyst who correctly predicted the winner of every state in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, says the fundamentals of the 2016 race point to a "toss-up."
Silver, an East Lansing native who now runs the FiveThirtyEight website, spoke at the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference on Thursday, where he outlined 16 things to know — or that we don't yet know — about the 2016 election. Archived video is not available, so here's a recap:
1. Hillary Clinton is inevitable*
Yes, the asterisk was Silver's. Clinton appears a lock to win the Democratic nomination, he said, noting that 111 Democrats in Congress have already endorsed her. He gave Bernie Sanders credit for endorsing himself.
2. Democrats have a weak bench, but Hillary isn't running unopposed
Beyond Clinton, Democrats do not have a deep bench, Silver said. The vice president doesn't appear to be a strong candidate, and the third-place finisher in the 2008 primary was John Edwards, whose personal scandals appear to preclude him from office. Sanders is running, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is likely to join the field as well.
3. Democrats are acting like Republicans. Republicans are acting like Democrats.
It's usually the Democrats who are trying to herd cats and Republicans who have a "next-in line" candidate, Silver said. That's reversed this year with a large GOP field fighting to appeal to different segments of their base.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is an interesting candidate, Silver said, "because he can still channel some of the tea party spirit but gets establishment support as well."