Evan McMullin Finally Makes Nate Silver’s Election Forecast

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By Emily Zanotti | 1:43 pm, October 13, 2016

Independent Presidential candidate Evan McMullin is having enough of an impact in Utah that Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight has added him to their polling schematic.

McMullin has risen to an astounding 18.1% in FiveThirtyEight‘s polling average for Utah giving him a chance — albeit a small one — at taking Utah’s six electoral votes. But it’s enough of a chance that he now must be shown in the breakdown.

FiveThirtyEight creates a projected vote share based on several well-known polling agencies, which show Team McMullin ranging from 9% at the lowest to 22% at the highest. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are hovering around 30% in most polls.

Furthermore, Silver openly acknowledges that a couple more good polls for McMullin could change this fast:

But while McMullin may not be showing Trump and Clinton’s numbers, it’s the sharp increase in interest that’s spurned major polling organizations to suddenly count McMullin among potential Utah winners. McMullin has surged rapidly since the second Presidential debate, while Donald Trump has collapsed — and McMullin is still at only 52% name recognition in the state.

This may not be the only state McMullin’s team sees potential in. Since last Sunday’s debate, Google Trends reports that there has been a 2,800% increase in searches for “write-in candidate” using their search engine platform.

The company isn’t sure what has precipitated this incredible search term growth, but reasons could range from last Friday’s Access Hollywood tapes, depicting Donald Trump making lewd comments about women, to a sudden interest among Bernie Sanders supporters in denying Hillary Clinton Vermont’s 3 electoral votes.

McMullin’s campaign is optimistic that the “tech boom” is a good omen. “It’s a fact that Americans are unhappy with the two major party candidates, and we’ve seen a surge of interest in Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn recently, not just in Utah but nationally,” McMullin digital director Sarah Rumpf told Heat Street.

“We have had exponential growth online, from Google searches to new followers and interactions on our social media accounts.”