By Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight
Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 came despite the fact that he lost the popular vote by 2.1 percentage points, making for the widest discrepancy between the popular vote and the Electoral College since 1876. So one measure of the quality of horse-race analysis is in how seriously it entertained the possibility of such a split in Trump’s favor.
This is one point on which the data geeks generally came closer to getting the right answer. FiveThirtyEight’s statistical model, for example, saw the Electoral College as a significant advantage for Trump, and projected that he’d be about even money to win the Electoral College even if he lost the popular vote by 1 to 2 percentage points.