Author's Note: This is, of course, a completely fabricated "interview." There is no insider-source at 538, people who pay for polls pay money because they want good information, not to influence the vote, and the 538 offices are not on the 2nd floor. This is a humor piece.
How could you tell? Well, the fact that the by-line is "Max Insider" and that it's posted on a site called RealTrueNews should be enough clue for anyone--but also the leading structure of the questions and responses. Yes: real interviews get re-written for clarity but they don't contain humor beats or provide movie-like dialogs without a lot of editing.
Following the conventions, a pattern has emerged from the polling: Donald Trump has taken a commanding lead in all demographics. From the well to poorly educated and even out-performing Romney among women and Hispanics. According polling aggregates the only demographic Hillary is winning is African American single women and White College Males with advanced degrees in Social Sciences.
We spoke to a source who works at Nate Silver's political advocacy group fivethirtyeight.com.
RealTrueNews: "Is it fair to say that Silver is worried?"
538 Source: "In a panic. Our business model is predicated on making liberals feel better about the election. Right now? It's a disaster."
RTN: "So what are you doing?"
538: "Well, we're changing the model for starters. There were a few hours when the server was showing the real projections and while traffic was pretty high, let me tell you, it was a melt-down politically."
RTN: "What do you mean?"
538: "Well, Nate's a liberal. No secret there. When he saw what was happening he flipped out. Had us look for bugs--something gone wrong--looking at the feeds. Of course nothing was wrong. Nothing had changed. Then he got on the phone with his people embedded with Q-Pac and Survey Monkey and PPP and all those guys--"
538: "Huh? Oh, yeah--it's a big social club. The pollsters all work together. We have a Slack-room that's sharing all kinds of results and skews and all that. That's how we keep it all orderly."
538: "Sure--what? You think it's . . . random? Come on. Who do you think pays for the polls? People who want results. You're buying media. It's like ads or . . . I don't know. Like newspaper stories? You pay 30k for a poll of Florida, it says what you want."
RTN: "But what about on election day?"
538: "Oh--we drive it. You set the expectations ahead of time. It's called pre-loading. You'd be surprised how we can fine-tune things. Mass belief is powerful. The problem here is (a) not everyone plays nice. Fox is rogue. Rasumssen was . . . bad. They were doing real polling. Also, there's like a game of chicken. At the start of the cycle we do real polling so that everyone knows how they better buy in. This time . . . Trump just caught us by surprise. The impact was so big--it came on so fast--Hillary just collapsed."
RTN: "What--what happens next?"
538: "I don't know, man. There are a bunch of smaller groups out there doing real polls. I don't know if anyone can keep this under wraps. They had to talk Silver off the edge of the building yesterday. It was bad."
RTN: "He was literally going to throw himself out a window?"
538: "Yeah--he was--well, but we're on the second floor. He was just really pissed. I mean, he got a call from the White House telling him to fix it and shit."