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FiveThirtyEight Politics

Author: FiveThirtyEight, 538, ABC News, Nate Silver

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Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight team cover the latest in politics, tracking the issues and "game-changers" every week.

757 Episodes
The crew looks back at two of the most notable American political decisions of the 21st century: the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the bailout of American banks during the 2007-'08 financial crisis. Both feel relevant today, as the country marks the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War and the government responds to two of the largest bank failures in U.S. history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The U.S. Census may be the most consequential data set in America. It determines how political representation is apportioned in Washington and how trillions of dollars in federal funding are allocated. But the data contained in the Census shouldn't always be taken at face value. Galen Druke speaks with historian Dan Bouk about his book, "Democracy's Data: The Hidden Stories in the U.S. Census and how to Read Them." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Polling had its most accurate election cycle in at least 25 years in 2022. The crew explains the numbers behind that conclusion, which suggest that, despite a lot of the handwringing, polling is still just about as accurate as it's ever been. Later in the show, Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux discusses how the debate over abortion has evolved since the 2022 midterms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Galen Druke and Nate Silver open up the mailbag and answer listener questions about politics and polling. They cover American skepticism of artificial intelligence — according to one poll, only 9 percent of Americans say it will do more good than harm to society — and consider what to make of former president Donald Trump’s gains on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in early Republican presidential primary polling. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Poll That Ended Dilbert

The Poll That Ended Dilbert


Author Marianne Williamson officially entered the 2024 Democratic presidential primary on Saturday. It’s very unlikely that Williamson will be a serious challenger to President Biden, but with multiple polls suggesting that a majority of Democrats don’t want Biden to run for reelection, the crew asks if he might be vulnerable against the right challenger? They also take a look at the results of recent elections in Chicago, Wisconsin and Virginia to see if they hold any lessons about the national political environment. And they ask whether the poll that Dilbert creator Scott Adams went on a racist rant over was actually a meaningful poll. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
American government is designed to have components that are not directly accountable to the public. The Supreme Court is probably the most recognizable example, but it’s not the only one. In her new book, “Limitless: The Federal Reserve Takes On A New Age Of Crisis,” New York Times reporter Jeanna Smialek focuses on another unelected institution with a lot of power over American life: the Federal Reserve. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Smialek argues that over the past century, through successive crises, the Fed has accumulated the power to choose winners and losers across American markets and society on the whole. And if partisan loyalists were to make their way onto the Fed board, that degree of power could be abused. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
To mark a year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Galen Druke brings back two experts who first joined the podcast when the war began. Samuel Charap is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and author of the book “Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia.” James Acton is a physicist and co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Together they describe why the war has not turned out as originally expected, what the risks of escalation are today and how the conflict might come to an end. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
It's a busy week! The crew looks at what Americans think about aid to Ukraine one year on, how the public may respond to Sen. John Fetterman's treatment for clinical depression and former President Trump's legal liability in a Fulton County investigation. They also preview next week's mayoral election in Chicago and ask whether a new poll of Arizona's 2024 Senate race is actually telling us anything useful. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
This week Nikki Haley became the first major candidate to challenge former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. The crew discusses what her path to the nomination could look like, given that Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are the only candidates who currently have sizable support in national polls. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The U.S. shot down at least three unidentified flying objects over the weekend. We’re still waiting to find out what the deal is, but this focus on slow moving objects in U.S. airspace was kicked off by a Chinese spy balloon that the U.S. shot down earlier this month. Tensions between the U.S. and China have grown in recent years and, in this installment, the crew looks at changing public opinion of China and how it could shape American politics. They also ask whether the Republican Party can coalesce around an alternative to former President Donald Trump and whether President Biden’s recent dismissal of the polls is a “good or bad use of polling.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
President Biden delivered his second State of the Union address on Tuesday to a newly divided Congress. It was his first big national speech since the midterms and a preview of his likely 2024 reelection bid. The crew discusses the arguments Biden laid out and where he stands with American voters two years into his presidency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this installment of "Model Talk," Nate and Galen discuss a recently published assessment of how our 2022 midterm forecast performed. How did the polling averages and seat-gain projections compare with the actual results? If we said there was a 70 percent chance a candidate would win a race, did that actually happen 70 percent of the time? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Americans are spending more and more time alone, and more than a third reported experiencing “serious loneliness" in 2021. The director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development -- the longest study of human life ever conducted -- concluded in a new book that close personal relationships are the "one crucial factor [that] stands out for the consistency and power of its ties to physical health, mental health and longevity." A lack of those relationships can actually have an impact on political behavior and interest in extreme ideologies. Galen Druke speaks with the director of the Harvard study, Robert Waldinger, about the lessons his findings have for politics in America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Although much of our elections-related attention is already trained on 2024, there are consequential elections happening this very calendar year. The crew discusses the races to watch in 2023. They also look at how the Democratic Party's effort to rearrange its presidential primary calendar is going, and ask whether a survey of Republican National Committee members was a good or bad use of polling. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In his new book "Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America," Washington Post national columnist Philip Bump argues that many of the fissures that the country is facing today — politically, economically, culturally — have to do with the Baby Boomers getting old. Galen speaks with him. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The crew discusses how debates on both the debt ceiling and the future of Rep. George Santos’s career might unfold. In light of new data showing union membership at its lowest point since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began counting, they also look at how that decline has shaped U.S. politics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Over the weekend, the White House announced that five more classified documents from the Obama administration were found at President Biden's Delaware home. The crew asks whether comparisons to former President Donald Trump's own classified document scandal are apt. They also discuss why gas stoves became such a hot topic of debate on the internet and what the 2024 primary for U.S. Senate in California will look like. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
As we head into the new year and our attention begins to turn to the presidential primaries, we decided to reair our audio documentary series, “The Primaries Project.” It originally aired at the beginning of 2020 and across three episodes we looked at how our presidential primary system came to be, its consequences and how it could be different. This is the final episode. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The crew looks at why it took 15 votes to get Rep. Kevin McCarthy elected House Speaker and what that process says about the two years ahead and the GOP more broadly. They also consider how Rep. George Santos’s scandals will affect his tenure in Congress and whether he would have been elected at all if his fabricated biography had received more scrutiny during the campaign. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Happy holidays! As we head into the new year and our attention begins to turn to the presidential primaries, we decided to reair our audio documentary series, “The Primaries Project.” It originally aired at the beginning of 2020 and across three episodes we looked at how our presidential primary system came to be, its consequences and how it could be different. This is the second episode. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (410)

Terry Watson

This sounds very familiar... pretty sure we heard this song and dance before...

Mar 14th


Yang please.

Feb 7th

Christopher Peterson

This was a good one.

Nov 27th

Nick D

uncensored f*** at 53:57?

Oct 29th
Reply (1)

Darcie Harris

I'm one of those people who moved, in large part, for political reasons. After 35 years as a lonely Democrat in Oklahoma, I moved back to California, where I grew up. I'd been very politically active since 2000, and just got tired of losing. Little did I know that Orange County, where I moved was almost as conservative as Oklahoma. But we turned OC blue in 2018! There is still work to do, but I definitely found my tribe.

Oct 18th

Nick D

is this just a repost of last week's model talk?

Oct 3rd


Just heard your question about run-offs in the South. I didn’t know the answer either… Another example of the structural racism & Jim Crow energy baked into our institutions. I just wanted to say your response was so gracious. Wypipo are wrong about there being no “right” thing to say. Thanks for being uncomfortable & moving on without white fragility & hysteria.

Sep 12th

Rick Patton

There is no "right" to abortion any more than there is a "right" to spank your children. Some localities allow it by law, and some don't. An outlet that is predicated on objective, statistical analysis should not be using this kind of shamelessly-biased language.

Aug 3rd
Reply (56)

majid Mp

Thank you 4 ur great post. Is it possible for you to share the transcript?

Jul 10th

Andrew Browne

Always good to hear the DNC perspective.

Jun 7th


Excellent guest!

May 27th

Darshan Roy

This was phenomenal.

May 13th

Paul Miailovich

"let's *#& this puppy" is not something they say in America. I did, however, hear it on occasion when I lived in Australia. Mind you, this was over 20 years ago, so they might not say it there anymore either.

Feb 10th
Reply (1)

Ryan Persaud

There are so many issues with this lady's arguments, and I applaud Galen for challenging her. Citing Ukraine as a "liberal democracy" that got into civil war had me floored (really grasping for examples there). Or, that she constantly repeats the meme that Republicans are all white people, despite the polling and data clearly showing they're getting MORE, not less diverse. It sounds like the sort of alarmism meant to compel Democrats to vote more than a serious academic pursuit. Which is fine, just be transparent, damn.

Jan 24th

JT O'Connor

Good on you Galen for challenging the reductive views your guest offered.

Jan 19th
Reply (1)

Joshua Collins

Could at least have interviewed Robert Evans since he's been covering this specific topic since early 2019

Jan 13th

Andrew Browne

trying to talk up Dem position, situation normal

Jan 11th

Will Crowley

Silver is a degenerate racist, equating remote schooling during the pandemic with the devastation we caused in Iraq. I listened for years, but no more.

Jan 6th

Josh Smith

wow this was a spicy interview about horse race pills!

Nov 19th

Paul Bass

WOW. delete.

Oct 25th
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