Nate Silver on Hillary Clinton’s email revelations: Weiner is such a ‘tragicomic figure… he could insulate Clinton’

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talks to staff members, including aide Huma Abedin, onboard her campaign plane in White Plains.
Thomson Reuters

The FBI’s decision to re-open its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server may not end up being a severe blow to Clinton’s campaign, Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of data journalism outfit FiveThirtyEight, wrote on Friday.

That’s because the man at the center of the revelations is former congressman Anthony Weiner.

Officials said that the new emails “pertinent to the FBI’s investigation,” were found during an investigation into Weiner.

Silver cautioned that though some polls indicate that the race is “tightening,” FiveThirtyEight’s models haven’t shown any impact so far of the FBI’s revelation on either Clinton or Donald Trump’s poll numbers.

“Weiner is such a tragicomic figure, and such a lightning rod for news coverage, that he could insulate Clinton from some of the fallout she might have suffered otherwise,” Silver wrote.

“There are also fewer undecided voters now than there were in July, voter choices are more locked in, and many people have already voted – which could lessen the impact,” Silver wrote.

FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast is based on an aggregate of national polls, state polls, as well as one-off polls. The model has Clinton up 5.7 percentage points over Trump, though many polls do show “favorable trend lines,” for Trump.

According to the model, Clinton still has an 80% chance of winning the election on November 8, compared to 19.4% for Trump. Silver notes that these numbers could shift in the coming days.