Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


If you were a cynical observer and someone asked you what the media narrative would be during the last two weeks of the election, your answer would be simple: Tightening. With Hillary Clinton obviously way ahead and interest waning, reporters would be invested in telling everyone that the race was tightening so that they’d keep reading the news. Sportscasters do this endlessly when they’re faced with trying to keep their audience around during a blowout game.

Believe it or not, I’m not that cynical. And yet, here we are, and everyone is talking about tightening. So why am I not talking about it? Well, take a look:

Do you see much tightening there? I don’t. Now, as it happens, there actually is a bit of tightening here, maybe half a point or so over the past week. But it’s so small it’s almost invisible even in a big chart.

Of course, this is just Pollster. Why rely solely on them? There are plenty of other poll averagers out there. The truth is that I don’t have a very good reason for this decision. I initially chose to use them because they produced nice looking graphics that I could manipulate fairly easy to show different time periods, different candidates, different polls, and so forth. Then I kept using them out of a sense that I should be consistent, rather than bopping around from site to site looking for numbers that happen to back up whatever point I wanted to make.

Of course, I could use The Upshot’s roundup of all the poll averages, and then average those. But enough’s enough. There’s a point at which you’ve squeezed all the information you can out of the lemon.

So for better or worse, I’m stuck with Pollster. In another week we’ll know how accurate they turned out to be. In the meantime, I’m not seeing much tightening there, and I’m not seeing much more anywhere else—including from Sam Wang, my longtime preferred poll averager when it comes to predictive accuracy. There’s maybe a point of tightening over the past month, maybe half a point, but that’s all. This race has been astonishingly stable for an entire year, and so far it’s staying that way.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate