EL PASO, TX—Saying they were forced to use lethal force after the statistician and FiveThirtyEight founder attempted to breach a secure checkpoint, United States Border Patrol agents confirmed Friday that Nate Silver was gunned down while trying to cross into Mexico with all the polling data from the 2016 general election.
A government spokesperson stated that the 38-year-old political blogger, who presented a patrolman at the border crossing with a doctored U.S. passport listing his name as Rafael Ignacio Salvador, reportedly appeared agitated and nervous when responding to simple questions, resulting in his being flagged for further screening and apparently prompting his decision to flee. Silver is said to have rammed his vehicle into a patrol car during his attempt to evade authorities before trying to escape on foot with as many national and state-level opinion polls as he could carry, at which time he was shot repeatedly by multiple officers.
Silver was pronounced dead at the scene shortly thereafter.
“Upon initial contact, border agents found Mr. Silver to be acting erratically and noticed what appeared to be a large quantity of materials concealed under a blanket in his backseat,” said Division Chief David Stefans. “When instructed to pull his vehicle to the side for further inspection, Silver abruptly accelerated forward and crashed through a barrier, leaving agents with no choice but to discharge their weapons. A subsequent search of the scene yielded over 20 months’ worth of surveys of likely voters, election models, and long-term electoral forecasts concealed in numerous places throughout the vehicle.”
“We can verify at this time that Mr. Silver was in possession of every piece of U.S. polling information dating back to last spring when he attempted to flee the country,” Stefans added.
Officials stated that in addition to the thousands of presidential election polls found strewn about Silver’s 1984 Oldsmobile 98 following the incident, investigators discovered hundreds of weighted congressional forecasts hidden within the car’s wheel wells. The entirety of Silver’s polls-only and polls-plus forecasts since the beginning of the primaries were also reportedly discovered inside the car’s hollowed-out speaker system.
“After he sideswiped a barricade, his trunk popped open, and all these Zogby and Pew surveys came flying out all over the road,” said long-haul trucker Ernesto Nunez, who described watching Silver struggle out of his wrecked vehicle still clutching an armful of high-sample-size phone and online opinion polls. “Even after they struck him a couple times, you could see he was still trying to hold onto as many A-plus–rated surveys as he could.”
“He might have made it, too, if he’d just dumped all the Monmouth University tracking polls on the ground and made a quick break for the Rio Grande,” Nunez added.
According to authorities, a posthumous search of Silver’s person also found a stash of bullet-ridden Ciruli Associates and ABC News/Washington Post polls duct-taped to his legs and abdomen. While officials refused to speculate on the matter, they noted that an autopsy would be conducted in the next several days to determine if the statistician had ingested any further polling data or secreted it in any of his orifices for transport across the border.
“We thought we’d removed every poll from the vehicle after we pried open the glove compartment and found all the Rasmussens he’d stuffed under there, but then we cut open the upholstery of the seats and realized he’d packed them full of swing state demographic analyses,” said Border Patrol agent Paul Vasquez. “It wasn’t until we had the K-9 unit go through the vehicle that we discovered Silver was actually using a false bottom under the car’s chassis to smuggle every candidate favorability rating since Ted Cruz announced he was running for the presidency. This guy was thorough.”
“We hate to use deadly force, but we’re incredibly lucky we stopped him when we did,” Vasquez continued. “Mr. Silver could have left our country with absolutely no polling numbers, no electoral projections, and no approval ratings just days before the election.”