What would Nate Silver make of it all?

There’s a lull today. After three weeks of campaigning everything has stopped. I’m in a car on the road to Lahore from where I’ll be reporting on the vote tomorrow. Maybe I’m too much of a political junkie but I find election days to be a magical time, filled with optimism and the feeling that anything is possible. After watching last night’s big rallies that’s how I feel now. Whatever happens, change is in the air as the PPP is all but certain to lose its status as the biggest party.
But who will win? It’s all but impossible to forecast the result with any certainty. Here are some thoughts while we wait to find out:

Imran’s barn storming campaign has worked in as much as he is now impossible to ignore
But he still will struggle to convert momentum into seats going up against PML-Ns election juggernaut
Unless turn-out is substantially above 50% – in which case the traditional vote banks will be under pressure
The PPP will not be wiped out – agriculture is still doing OK helping its rural heartlands
But there are no reliable polling data to help work out what is going on
What we are left with is gut feeling, anecdote and an assumption that this election will work the same way as previous ones
Will it?
Nate Silver would be doing his nut
What if we are all missing the real story of this election because all we have is noise and we can’t find the signal?
What if the consensus is wrong?
I’m not saying Imran will win. Citing his momentum as evidence of seats would be to make the same mistake.
I’m saying we don’t know.

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