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FiveThirtyEight Has Some (Possible) Good News For Pat Quinn

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 3, 2014 10:45PM

Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner are in the final hours of campaigning for your vote to be Illinois’ next governor. (Your other two options are to go on a 24-hour bender or not vote.) And every vote at the poll will count, regardless of what the statistician witches and warlocks assembled by Nate Silver forecast.

FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten predicts Quinn will win Tuesday’s election by the proverbial skin of his teeth—1.3 percent. Enten notes this probability has a 66 percent chance of happening, so getting out the vote is imperative for Quinn to make FiveThirtyEight look prescient once again or Rauner to overcome the odds set by Enten.

Quinn’s campaign has almost mirrored his 2010 run. Four years ago, Quinn exited primary season down in early polls by double digits to his GOP opponent only to see Quinn mount a comeback and post a narrow win. The script has played out exactly this way so far, with only tomorrow’s votes to be counted. This proves yet again never take polls seriously, especially those where an election is months away. Per Enten:

My polling-based analysis in early summer had him with a 25 percent chance to beat Republican Bruce Rauner. At the time, however, I warned that Quinn probably had a better shot than early polls suggested. Quinn is a Democratic governor in a Democratic state. He won in 2010 despite an approval rating of 40 percent (at best) and with only about 15 percent of voters saying the state was heading in the right direction.

This year, Quinn’s approval rating is again between 35 percent and 40 percent. And again, he looks like he may win. His campaign has somewhat successfully painted Rauner as an out-of-touch millionaire. According to a recent Chicago Tribune poll, voters are more likely to say Quinn is in touch with people like them. They also view him as more honest than Rauner, even if they think Rauner can better handle the economy.

The fight between an incumbent people don’t approve of and a challenger with his own flaws has resulted in a close race, but one in which Quinn is a favorite.

Quinn should be emboldened by Enten’s analysis but he should hold on popping open the bottles of bubbly until every vote is counted. A 66 percent probability rating isn't absolute.