Polls, damn polls, and statistics


October 26, 2016 

With less than two weeks until the US election, why are we still compulsively clicking on election forecasts? European cities are trying to attract London’s businesses with wine, sunshine, and more post-Brexit. And the trailer for Netflix’s Gilmore Girls revival is out.



It’s almost impossible to escape election forecasts. Here’s what they actually mean. 

FiveThirtyEight, RealClearPolitics, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, and more: Every political site is trying to predict the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Most forecasts base their projections largely on polls, though some rely on betting markets. They also represent the odds that a candidate will win on Nov. 8, given what we know today. Tracking them obsessively can feel like a way to cope with our election-related anxiety — though it probably does more to fuel that anxiety than to allay it.

So why do polls change so much? People change their minds — and polls capture only a small slice of voters. Still, no matter how the numbers stack up, it’s all just an educated guess until the votes are counted.

Polls, polls, polls.

BuzzFeed News; Getty


There’s more

  • Donald Trump wants President Barack Obama to be investigated over Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, said he’s voting for Clinton.

  • Clinton has avoided targeting Senate Republicans for months, but in the final weeks before the election, she's shifting gears.

  • And 15 Latino voters explain why they’re voting for Trump.

Laura Diaz of San Antonio, Texas.

Laura Diaz of San Antonio, Texas. “I am a conservative that thinks for herself and does not vote based on the party-line stance. I decide to support Trump because he is not a career politician and not funded by special interest groups.” Edoardo Delille



This is how European cities are trying to attract London’s businesses post-Brexit. 

Tax cuts, tapas, vineyards, ~sunshine~, and more. Here are some of the offerings:

  • Madrid: The Spanish capital offers cheaper rent compared with its competitors, more sunshine and less rain (and the charts to prove it), the best food, and better football teams, the city says.

  • Frankfurt: Representatives were in London last month to pitch the benefits of moving to Germany’s financial capital. Their message was one of economic strength, good universities, thriving local industry, dozens of international schools, and great transport links, alongside a vibrant cultural scene, nearby forests, and vineyards.

  • Berlin: Germany’s second player in the game is pushing hard to attract technology startups and FinTech companies.

  • Amsterdam: The Dutch capital’s marketing pitch centers on its location, charm, digital connectivity, and high-quality talent pool.

Wine in Paris. Sunshine in Madrid. Here's what European cities are offering.


Transgender rights: How the bathroom fight is dividing top LGBT leaders and could change the future of the movement.

The last time LGBT leaders were split this dramatically, it was 2007, and Congress was considering the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.

Conservatives have blocked LGBT nondiscrimination legislation in part by claiming transgender people pose a threat in women’s restrooms. So some LGBT leaders are willing to support bills covering only housing and employment — not “bathroom” issues like public accommodation. Other leaders reject that compromise and may risk losing funding over the fight. A lot of funding, and the future of the movement, is up in the air.

This is the second article in a BuzzFeed News series on transgender rights in America.

There's a major schism among LGBT leaders over state non-discrimination laws. It's a fight for the movement's future.


  • In the UK: Members of parliament will investigate workers' rights and the “gig economy” at companies such as Asos following a BuzzFeed News exposé.

  • In tech: Apple’s annual sales have fallen for the first time in 15 years, but the company still makes $100 million every day.

  • In sports: The New York Giants have released kicker Josh Brown after he admitted to abusing his wife in his journal.

  • Man Booker Prize: Novelist Paul Beatty is the first US author to win the prize, with his racial satire The Sellout, BBC News writes.

  • Welcome back to Stars Hollow: The first Gilmore Girls trailer is finally here and it looks like Luke and Lorelai are together(!).

~Gilmore Girls Are Back~



Check out BuzzFeed’s collection of short original fiction. Three authors present their vision of what it means to be almost famous in 2016.

It’s Alright, It’s Alright, It’s Alright,” by Rebecca Makkai: A virtually unknown actress becomes a tabloid fixture in less than 24 hours.

Successor, Usurper, Replacement,” by Alice Sola Kim: Four friends have literary ambitions that threaten to ruin them all.

Twentieth,” by Lindsay Hunter: A singer grapples with the aftermath of a heinous attack that derailed her from the stardom she was destined for.

Check out BuzzFeed's collection of short fiction.

Thoka Maer for BuzzFeed News


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