The world of power was built to make men, not women, comfortable. In the just released book Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World, Jennifer Palmieri explains how those rules are going to change. Continue reading Dear Madam President
I remember like it was yesterday, the anti Hillary rhetoric flying around during those final weeks of the election. People were making statements that seemed to be based on actual sources, though the sources themselves were not crossing my path. The attitude of those repeating the stories was very similar across the board. Breathless, gut-punch angry, visceral, mean. They were talking almost as though Hillary Clinton had stepped on their baby’s heads. That kind of thing.
And it turns out that this was the Russians. The people doing this were not the Russians. Rather, the Russians, either working for Trump or working in parallel with him (we shall eventually find out) were isolating vulnerable individuals, individual who fit a certain discernible pattern of attributes, and psychologically manipulating them to rage against Hillary.
Looking back, it is now pretty clear that this vitriolic wall of hate, rising up unexpectedly and looking a certain way, was an anomaly. Yes, yes, there was all this Hillary Hate before, but that was from a different demographic, had a different look, and a different feel. This new thing was a different thing, and looking back, one can see it clearly.
And now, it is back. The statements being made that, when you run them down, are not based on reality. The vitriol, almost threatening way it is put. The logical conclusion of the rhetoric being self defeating and damaging to the Democratic Party and progressive idea.
But this time it is about Bernie. I will bet all my bagels and muffins against all your donuts that the Russians are hacking us again, but this time, instead of manipulating Bernie-favoring people to hate bigger and better on Hillary, they are manipulating Hillary supporters to bash Bernie.
It is the same level of vitriol, the same badly sourced accusations, the same direct link between accusation and a final solution of leaving or tearing apart the Democratic party, etc. It appeared in the social networking world instantly, and it is suddenly everywhere. Have you seen it?
I’ll give yo an example. Perez gets up in front of an audience and all the Bernie Bots boo him. That is what is being said. What really happened is that Perez got Bernie to do a talk in a place where Bernie was very popular, to shore up Democratic support, and a lot of Bernie people cheered the heck out of Bernie. There was not moment of booing Perez, though there may have been one moment of mixed hemming and hawing. The actual non-false, real thing that happened is that Perez gave a speech that had the audience cheering and on their feet, then Sanders gave a speech that had the audience cheering and on their feet. If you don’t believe me, you can watch it yourself, below.
But this was converted into a false accusation that Bernie was trying to ruin the Democratic Party. The vitriol is intense. He’s a socialist, run him out. He’s an independent, run him out. He lies all the time. Etc.
The result of this falsehood laced vitriol is to split anti-Republican and anti-Trump forces and to throw the grassroots of the Democratic Party in to chaos.
OK, I do not know that this is Russian Hacking. But it looks exactly like the Russian anti-Hillary hacking. It has the same form, the same technique, some of the same rhetoric, and is exploiting a similar set of vulnerable individuals. If this is not Russian hacking then, indeed, you can have all the muffins and bagels in the land for yourself.
Tom Perez Was Not Booed; that is a pernicious lie
How many Democratic events have you been to? This was a pretty typical one, but slight bit more raucous. There is a heckler yelling something in the beginning, I have no idea what. Hecklers could be paid operatives, or just crazy people, or just people who are not fully in control of themselves.
The so called “booing of Perez,” which was not booing of Perez, happens at just after 6:18. Perez is not on the stage, therefore he is not booed. The speaker asks the audience if they are there to hear about the future of the Democratic Party and the new chair. This is an audience of people who came to hear Sanders. It is a light hearted, fun, charged up rally. If you say to them, “you are here to see ______” where the blank is filled in with anything at all that is not the keynote speaker, they will boo. So, some booed, some cheered, it was pretty ambiguous, and most importantly, UTTERLY MEANINGLESS. It is this moment of alleged but not actual booing of Perez that is among the items being used to bash Bernie and create this unnecessary division.
Now, watch Perz at just after 32:00 . He gives a great speach. He is cheered and loved. there is not Perez hate here.
The people who are being manipulated by this latest round of psychological warfare are unlikely to be convinced that they are wrong. Assuming this is manipulation, the psychology is immune, laced with paranoia and preformed hatred of disagreement. What needs to happen is this: People need to realize that the hacking that happened before can happen again and, probably, is happening again now. The other thing that needs to happen is that the individuals who are doing this hacking, who can’t find their center, their rational self, and slough it off, need to be isolated. Don’t engage, don’t follow, just … well, just do this:
Because that is what your friend’s facebook page looks like.
As you know, there is interest in doing a recount for the presidential balloting in three key states. The chance that a recount in these three states would change Trump’s win (290 to 232 electoral votes) is small. But, it is possible that a recount could demonstrate irregularities that should be addressed.
Also, there is the possibility again small, of so-called “faithless electors” giving Trump a pass. If something like that happens, from Clinton’s perspective, it would be nice if even one of these states flipped (most likely Wisconsin).
So, to keep track of the numbers, here are the current vote values prior to any recount. I’m not too sure about Wisconsin because the Wisconsin Secretary of State does not actually provide the numbers to the general public, which I’m guessing is a violation of their state’s statute or constitution, but hell, that’s Wisconsin for you. The Louisiana of the North, they call it these days.
Friday, November 25th
Michigan (16 electoral votes): 10,704 (0.2%)
Wisconsin (10 electoral votes): 27,257 (0.9%)
Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes): 70,638 (1.2%)
On the electors: Some will claim that an elector is somehow rigging, violating, or otherwise besmirching the process by not voting for the candidate that won their state’s popular vote. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The electors are carrying out a duty in service of the United States Constitution, and and the Constitution does not stipulate that they vote for the majority in their state.
There have been so-called “faithless electors” — those that do not follow that state mandated rule — in the past, and they were never fined or otherwise prosecuted for violating state statute. There is, as I understand it, a reason for that. The state laws that tell an elector how to vote are so blatantly unconstitutional that even a right wing judge whose corrupt brother in law was the candidate harmed by the elector could not possibly uphold the law under an appeal. If a faithless elector was taken to court, and that case was challenged (which it would be), the entire edifice would instantly crumble and the electoral college would have to start to function like it did in the old days.
And, how is that, you ask?
Well, in their Enlightened wisdom, the Founding Fathers, who are today revered, even fetishized, by the likes of the Tea Party and the Sage Brush Rebellion and all the other yahoos, deemed the unwashed masses — the yahoos — unfit to vote for President (or Senator for that matter). The Electors are supposed to be your betters, who will make the decision for you. And, soon, possibly by the time of the next election, this is how we shall start to do things.
Or maybe not the next presidential election, but if the electoral system is tossed aside this year (Wisconsin shifts so the vote becomes 280-242 and 11 electors dump Trump so the vote becomes 269-253) and the election goes to the House of Reprehensible to decide, you can bet on change happening over the next few years, though it will probably come in the form of a bunch of state laws that continue to fly under the Constitutional radar screen.
Clinton beat Trump by a large margin, by electoral standards. A couple of percent is actually a lot these days. Yet so far it appears that Trump won the electoral vote, even though those votes are not yet cast and who knows what is actually going to happen.
But this year, strange as it it and stranger thought it may become, is not the strangest ever. That goes to 1876.
Dump your comments and observations here.
I’ll be looking at several SOS web sites, and eventually I’ll find the best on line tracker of results for the whole country. During the primaries, the Washington Post was the best. Let me know if you have any ideas.
So far heavy turnout has been noted in Minnesota, where turnout is always high, and something close to 30% of the usual number of voters had already voted early.
The biggest fear, a among those of us who have felt the pain of defeat at least as often as the thrill of victory, is this: Heavy turnout usually means more Democrats vote, but it can also mean more of the so called “silent majority” votes. The “silent majority” is actually a plurality, consisting of old angry uneducated white men (see illustration). We always worry that we’ll get Nixoned by those bastards. Ever since they figured out that they can do that. When a pollster calls them, they lie, or hang up, then they go and vote for the fascist.
The first polls will close at 6:PM Eastern in some parts of Kentucky and Indiana. An hour later selected polls will close in several key states, including New Hampshire and Florida. Shortly thereafter, some will close in NOrth Carolina and Ohio. So, before 8:00 PM Eastern, we’ll be seeing some interesting results coming in. Remember to watch New Hampshire, Florida, and North Carolina closely.
At 8:PM Eastern, polls will be closed in about 172 electoral votes worth of states, including Maine, the Southern New England states, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland.
I had placed Georgia as the first Red state likely to fall Blue if any such a thing was to happen, and indeed, Georgia is too close to call after polls closed. The reason? More hispanic voters than previously, pushing Georgia towards the Democrats.
Hard to say where this is going yet, but early information indicates that a larger than expected share of white voters are going for Clinton.
MN CD 2 US House District, Angie Craig vs. Jason “single women are non thinking” Lewis
This is a key race. Lewis is a radio shock jock yahoo right winger Limbaugh wannabe. Craig would be one of the few open lesbians in a same sex marriage in the US House, and she’s cool. Piles of outside money.
MN CD 3 House District, Bonoff vs Paulsen.
This is my district. Paulsen is a Bachmann Republican who suported Trump early on. Bonoff is my State Senator (though I just moved into her district) and a Blue Dog who has run for this seat before and never gotten close. The theory is, you put in a Blue Dog or Centrist to run against the Republican, but that has never worked. I have no expectation that it will work this year. I hope Teri Bonoff wins, but she won’t, and maybe we will eventually learn that the only way to win in this district is to be real liberals.
MN CD 8 US House District, Nolan vs. Mills
Mills is a rich frat boy who should be running as a Libertarian but he’s too stupid. (Real libertarians tend be smart, even if they are totally wrong about everything.) This is a close eace, and I hear it is the most expensive, or one of the most expensive, races in the country. The Republicans are apparently frightened of Nolan.
Who will win the electoral vote on Tuesday, November 8th?
It is not what you say, but how you say it. For several days now, I’ve been told by some how totally wrong I am in my various analyses of the electoral map. Half the naysayers say “But but FiveThirtyEight says this, so you are wrong” and the other half say “No, no, Sam Wang at Princeton says that, so you are wrong!” But all along, we’ve all three been saying something very similar. The difference in how we say it is, Sam Wang says something like “I’ll eat my shorts if Clinton doesn’t win” and I say “I think Clinton will win, but Trump has a small chance.” But really, we have very similar estimates as to what the situation is. And, that is:
1) Hillary Clinton is more likely to win this election than is Donald Trump.
2) Regardless of the initial probability distribution one might have been imagining, this has changed over time so that the chance of a Trump win has been increasing a bit.
3) A number of states are in play, and broadly speaking, the list of states can not be robustly assigned to either candidate is similar.
I myself have been avoiding making specific probability statements because I think that the necessary assumptions to talk about behavior of the electorate out at the margins are unknown or unreliable.
As you know I developed a model that I used during the primaries, that I’m applying to the electoral college vote, with modifications. In short, the model, as used here, reflects whatever polling data are used to seed it, but modifies the outcome to reflect general patterns of behavior. This, I suspect, removes strange results that the polls sometimes give. But it may also miss strange thing the electorate sometimes does. Which is happening in a particular case, for a particular state? Nobody knows. If we knew that, we wouldn’t need to do the actual voting.
First from the polls only:
As noted in the figure, the polls give Secretary Clinton enough electoral votes to win, barely, with Nevada being exactly split between the two candidates. We’ll look at swing states more closely below, but for now, this is my suggestion for the best guess based on the polls. So, if Clinton takes Nevada, she’ll win by 8 electoral votes.
As I had noted earlier, my model should converge on the polls by this point in time, but since there are so many states within a percentage point either way of the 50%-50% line, my model and the polls tend to differ a bit. Overall, my model is more favorable to Clinton because it give her Florida and Nevada.
At this time, this is my best prediction of what I think will happen on Tuesday, unless there are secret unmeasurable forces having to do with unspoken voting behavior or get out the vote efforts.
This result, my model, is very similar to Sam Wang’s result.
One scary possibility is that Trump is gaining ground on Clinton. Looking at just the polls, there was a gaining of ground going on for a while, but it seemed to stop a few days ago. FiveThirtyEight agrees with that. But, what if all the polls end up being one percent off from what they say now, by the time Tuesday comes around? Can Trump then win?
The following moves all the states over by one point, from my modeled results (which I regard as more reliable than the polls) which, oddly, puts Pennsylvania right in the middle. Trump could win. Or Clinton could win.
It has been said that the Democrats may have a ground game, a GOTV plan, that is much superior to that of the Republicans. A good estimate of how that would change things is to add 2.5% to the Democrat’s votes, effectively for the swing states. In this case, Clinton is shown here to do about as well as anyone expected her to do. Don’t expect this, it will never happen, but this is more or less the maximum limit on where Clinton can go. Notice that Trump still takes Texas and Georgia, but may be a bit weak in Georgia.
Finally, by way of summary, here is a map that shows which states are either recognized by one analysis or another as a tossup, or that move back and forth across analyses or over short times scales or, as in the case of Georgia and Colorado, don’t change their color under those conditions but remain very close in percent distribution to those that do. (Note, for Maine, we are only talking about one electoral vote moving back and forth.) Regardless of which column these states actually end up in, they are states you want to watch to measure the strength of each candidate. Obviously, the eastern time zone states will be the most helpful in this regard early in the evening.
“Unwitting Trump embraces black supremacist cultist support”
This story is precious.
Here’s the thing.
Michael the Blackman (that’s his name), the black guy who stands or sits behind Trump at many of his rallies, tells us that Hillary is the financier of slavery. We know this because Hilary’s name is Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rodham is the descendants of Rothschild, and her biggest donor is a Rothschild. So, Rothschild – Rockefeller – JP Morgan. See? The financiers of slavery. See? The supporters of Clinton are the Canaanites. The ones you’ve seen in the night clubs, with the black fingernails, really white, with the blue veins. They call themselves blue bloods, but we may know of them as albinos. They are cursed with the curse. And they curse. They never come out in the daytime, and they are the supporters of Hillary Clinton. I simplify slightly. Watch the video.
We now know that the several elements of the FBI, especially the New York Office, are manipulating this election in favor of Donald Trump, possibly in cahoots with Rudy Giuliani.
This is not FBI Director Comey releasing vague memos. Well, there is that, but it is not clear if Comey wrote that damaging memo because he wanted to hurt Clinton, or if it was because he was not fully in control of his agents and was trying to pre-empt a leak. What we now know is that several FBI agents, spread across the country but with a pernicious group in New York, are strong Trump supporters, and have been taking action to hurt Clinton and help Trump. The New York agents, in particular, seem to be doing so in cahoots with Trump Surrogate, syphilitic former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Behind the whole thing is Breitbart, the hard right wing crazies and conspiracy theorists, who took over the Trump Campaign a while back. And behind that, is Robert Mercer.
Robert Mercer, a billionaire hedge fund investor, is the main funding source for Breitbart. Robert Mercer also funds a major pro Trump super-pac. Breitbart and the super-pac have supplied the Trump campaign with their campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, and CEO. If Trump wins this election, Putin won’t be the main guy in charge of the US. It will be Robert Mercer pulling the strings.
This group of unsavory characters and their colleagues are linked to the right wing organization known as the “Government Accountability Institute” which produced an anti-Clinton (both Clintons) book, which has apparently become the Conspiracy Bible for a number of FBI agents, who attempted to use this source as the basis to launch at least one investigation against Hillary Clinton. Higher level, relatively normal, FBI personnel put the kibosh on that effort, but the Trump supporting agents apparently continue to agitate against Clinton and in favor or Trump.
Comey’s release of the memo was either an attempt to get ahead of those agents, whom he felt were going to send the info around anyway, or in support of these lower level efforts.
And all of this has a vague relationship to the concept of having sex with piles of hay, trees, and mulch. You’ll have to watch this excellent report by Maddow to get that, and to link together all these details.
It is a long report but very much worth watching every minute:
The most likely way for Hillary Clinton to not win the presidency may be a tie between Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump. This is because, when one looks at the data a number of ways, and makes various adjustments, Clinton wins, often just barely, most of the time, except in what appears to be the worst case scenario. That scenario is Clinton losing most of what are called “Battleground States” — but for the most part, only those that are truly in contention, so it is quite possible — but retaining her “firewall” states, the states she really can not possibly lose. That puts Clinton 3 points ahead of the 270 required to win. But then, in this scenario, the most likely bluish state to switch to red, New Hampshire, goes for Trump. When that happens, the Electoral College Vote becomes 269-269, and the Electoral College becomes the Electoral College Prank.
What happens then? The House attempts to decide who will win. If that happens, each state gets one vote (or zero, if they can’t decide). Even if the Democrats win the house back from the Republicans this election, Republicans will theoretically decide the outcome, because Democrats are concentrated in the more popular states. On a state-by-state basis, most states are Republican.
That does not mean that the Republicans will vote for Trump automatically. They have to chose among the top three Electoral candidates (while the Senate, meanwhile, choses among the top TWO VP candidates). Who knows what will happen?
You might think this is unlikely. Until I did my analysis this morning, I thought it was possible, but unlikely. I now realize that the chances of an electoral tie are pretty darn good. (And by pretty darn good, I do mean probably less than one in ten, but that’s still pretty darn good for something that has only happened once before.)
Let’s look at all the numbers.
As you know I have a model. I mentioned weeks ago that near the end of the election season, my model would converge on the polls, because it is calibrated to the polls, but only uses the better and more recent polling data. Today, I decided to use the final adjusted polling estimate provided by FiveThirtyEight, because, a) they are good at adjusting and evaluating polling data, and b) there is now enough information to use polling data from pretty much any state. Still, there are some weak states, and there are other uncertainties, so feeding polling data into my model provides a semi-independent look across the states (it is quite possible for the polls to put a state in one column but my model to reverse that).
(Note: my model does not use polling data from Utah or Hawaii, because those states are too different from all the other states.)
So, here I’m going to use two separate sets of results, polls and my model. My model’s multiple R-squared value is really high (0.9838) and the polling results and model results are almost identical, but not quite. Given the strength of my model during the primaries, I trust it more than the polling data. Also, my model foretold many things that the polls finally caught up with, over the last several days, such as the weakness of North Carolina as a Clinton state. Well, not many things, but that one thing and maybe a few other things.
This is what the current polls say about Clinton’s chances in the race. If we take all the polls, and assign every state where Clinton beats Trump to Clinton, we get this:
As noted on the map (made using 270 to win’s excellent tool), Clinton, according to the best available analysis of current polls, would win by only 3 electoral votes. I’ve seen this coming for some time, and despite lots of arm waving saying it is not true, this is the most current, scientific, likely most accurate estimate.
The weakest state among the blue states on this map is New Hampshire. Look closely at New Hampshire on election night. If this map is shaping up as indicated here, AND New Hampshire looks weak, like maybe a Trump win, then we may well have the ultimate election night hangover on Wednesday. An electoral tie.
All the nay sayers out there (you know who you are) who have been telling me that my model must be wrong, because the polls show Clinton doing much better than my model, etc. etc., take heed now. That map, above, was from your precious polls. The following map is from my model, and it has a somewhat more secure win for Hillary Clinton.
I’m giving Florida and Nevada to Clinton, and New Hampshire is more secure. Frankly I think the most likely scenario is either one of the above two maps, or something in between, and that’s pretty much what is going to happen on election night. A trivial and incorrect way to calculate the likelihood of a tie is to look at all the different combinations (moving NH, NV, and FL around) but that is dumb, so I’m not going to do it. The extremes are probably less likely than the other combinations.
One prediction comes out of this that is rock solid. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning are going to be nail biters.
But wait, there’s more. Let’s have another look at the map, but applying the uncertainty in my model, in order to get one possible Election Night Bingo Card version. This map shows what states to watch, because they are the ones right in the middle between the two candidates.
By the way, recent information out of Florida seemed very very positive with respect to that state. But that is only one study, using a methodology and a set of data never before used, in a highly dynamic and changing system, in an untrustworthy state. Comment such as “Yeah, but Florida is in the bag for Clinton” will be frowned upon.
Here’s the same deal, but based on polls instead of my model:
Now, lets try some Magical Thinking. From Trump’s perspective, consider that the polls have been shifting by about one percentage point towards Trump or away from Clinton per week over the last few weeks. So, let’s move one percentage point from Clinton to Trump across all the polls and see what we get.
We get this, the Map from Hell, in which Trump does not win, but the rest of us lose anyway.
The second Magical Thinking scenario involves the idea that Clinton, and the Democrats have a real ground game going, and Trump does not. In this scenario, we move 2.5% from Trump to Clinton across the board to reflect this political reality. This may be the case, but it could also be, as noted, wishful magical thinking. And, it looks like this:
A lot of people have been talking about a Clinton Landslide, but this is the best you are likely to get. And, if you want to call this a landslide, feel free, but it isn’t and you would be wrong.
And, finally, your election night watch list. This map shows as blue every state that remained blue in all of the above analyses, and as red every state that remained red in all of the above analyses. The unknown state are, therefore, states that have either moved back and forth depending on how you look at the data, or what are within a short distance, either by polling or by my model, of those states. This is actually a pretty robust list. I don’t expect any state not brown on this map to move, and some of the brown ones won’t either (Colorado will be Clinton, Georgia will be Trump). But, if things are wonkier and wackier than our imaginations even now let us allow, who knows…
“Trump’s chance of victory have doubled over the last two weeks,” notes FiveThirtyEight, and this is in accord with what I’ve been saying.
I suggested a few days ago that while Clinton would probably win, there is a nowhere near zero chance that she won’t. FiveThirtyEight came out with an analysis today very similar to mine, suggesting that Trump has abut a 3 in 10 chance of winning. Historically, races tighten near the end, I think FOR THIS REASON mainly, and that has been happening. The actual national difference between Clinton and Trump by Tuesday will probably be about 2.5 percent or so.
Now, before you jump in to tell me that the national number isn’t what counts, yada yada yada, let me note right away that I do know about the Electoral College and stuff.
Anyway, see this for my most recent Electoral College analysis, and I’ll have a new one out in a day or so, though I expect it to be similar.
Meanwhile, here are some notes on some of the more interesting and important races.
No cherry picking here. All of the really recent, high ranked (by FiveThirtyEight) polls in states of interest. All these polls were released over the last few days, though they may cover earlier days. The data are all taken from FiveThirtyEight, but using the original poll numbers, not FiveThirtyEight’s adjustment.
Note: Polls that weight on the basis of motivation seem to favor Trump; his voters say they are more likely to vote.
Arizona, when it isn’t busy shooting something, generally votes for the Republican. There was hope this would not happen this year, but the latest polls suggest otherwise
Arizona CNN/Opinion Trump +5
Arizona Emerson Trump +4
Arizona Google CS Clinton +5
Florida is a very important states, and there are signs of Clinton weakening there, but most indicators suggest a Clinton win. Also, the TargetSmart study (not shown here) indicates that 28% of Republicans who voted early are voting for Clinton.
Florida CNN/Opinion Clinton +2
Florida Google CS Trump +3
Florida Quinnipiac Clinton +1
Florida TargetSmart (Not rated by 538) Clinton +8
People mention Georgia now and then. We’ll be watching Georgia, because if Clinton wins there, the world has changed. But she won’t.
Georgia Emerson Trump +9
Georgia Google CS Trump +9
I’ve been predicting a Clinton win in Iowa, many polls indicate otherwise, the latest Google Consumer Survey suggests a Clinton win.
Iowa Google CS CLinton +7
Nevada. I hear people saying that Clinton has Nevada in the bag. She doesn’t. My model currently has her winning there, but clearly there is ambiguity.
Nevada CNN/Opinion Trump +6
Nevada Google CS Clinton +7
New Hampshire has not been declared a solid sate for anyone, yet many seem to insist it is solid for Clinton. It isn’t, but also, there isn’t much good polling there, so really, we don’t know.
New Hampshire Google CS Trump +1
North Carolina is totally uncertain for many reasons, including polling all over the map, an active voter suppression campaign by the Republican party, and because it is, well, North Carolina.
North Carolina Elon Clinton +1
North Carolina Google CS Trump +6
North Carolina Quinnipiac Clinton +3
North Carolina SurveyUSA Trump +7
Everyone I know who is from Ohio or lives in Ohio loves Ohio and hardly ever shuts up about it. Time to shut up about it! You’all are about to go for Trump, so you suck.
Ohio Google CS Trump +2
Ohio Quinnipiac Trump +5
Pennsylvania seems solidly Clinton, though if I recall, Pennsylvania has sometimes thrown a surprise. But not likely this year.
Pennsylvania CNN/Opinion Clinton +4
Pennsylvania Franklin & Marshall Clinton +11
Pennsylvania Google CS Trump +2
Pennsylvania Monmouth Clinton +4
Pennsylvania Quinnipac Clinton +5
Pennsylvania Susquehanna Clinton +2
We fully expect Clinton to take Virginia.
Virginia Emerson Clinton +4
Virginia Google CS Clinton +5
Virginia Hampton Trump +3
Virginia WaPo Clinton +6
The election is one week off. I think I’ve convincingly demonstrated, here, that Clinton is likely but not certain to win, that Trump has something of a chance, but not a great one, and that the swing states, therefore, matter.
There are a lot of states that are called swing states but are not. There are non-swing states that are slowly becoming swing states. For example, Georgia and Texas may well be swing states for the next presidential election. Virginia has been considered a swing state for so long that this now reliably semi-progressive/centrist vote-for-the-Dems-for-POTUS state probably shouldn’t be considered a swing state any more. Of course, once a state is a swing state, it should probably not be trusted for several election cycles thereafter.
And, of course, there are swing states that are currently busy swinging back and forth and must be paid close attention to. Here are a few observations on this subset of swing states, based on this morning’s polling and my previous model. (A LOT, perhaps a record number, of polls came out over the last 36 hours, most of which are fairly low quality, and I’m mostly ignoring them.)
Right now, it looks like Trump will win Arizona. My model puts Arizona in Trump’s column. Before you object, FiveThirtyEight agrees with me.
My model puts Iowa in Clinton’s column, but polls disagree, and it looks like Iowa is going to be Trump. This may be where my model fails (likely, paying too much attention to Iowans of the past?) Or, this could be where I get to say, later, “I told you so.” This contrast has been developing for weeks, but there hasn’t been a lot of poling data.
Proposal: If Iowa votes for Trump, take Iowa out of the first slot for the next primary season. (Unless Trump wins the election, then, move to Iowa.)
Nevada really is very, very, close but all indicators suggest that Clinton will win Nevada. My model says Clinton will win Nevada.
New Hampshire probably is not on the table any more as an unreliable state, or a swing state. Does anyone know if this has anything to do with Massachusetts and New Hampshire cross border commuting and car insurance? Eric?
Even though my model is very iffy about North Carolina, it does give it to Clinton by a very small margin, and polls suggest that North Carolina is firmly Clinton.
My model currently puts Ohio barely in the Clinton column. Previous runs of this model put Ohio in Trump’s column. Polls suggest it is very iffy. FiveThirtyEight puts Trump one percent above Clinton, suggesting a fair sight better than 50-50 chance of Trump winning there.
Verily, Ohio is the swingiest of states.
I think everyone and every poll and every model is agreed: Pennsylvania is Clinton. But, Pennsylvania has pulled surprises in the past, so don’t turn your back on Pennsylvania. If you find yourself in the elevator with Pennsylvania, check your wallet.
People have been talking about Utah like it matters. It does not and never will. But it is interesting. Don’t confuse “interesting” with “matters.” Trump will win in Utah.
Are we done calling Virginia a “swing state” yet? Clinton.
The relationship between the popular vote, roughly reflected in national polls, and the Electoral College vote, is where the rubber meets the road.
When you look at states that are very solid for each candidate, neither candidate has a lock on the race, but Clinton has way more electoral votes, currently. These numbers hover around 200-something to 100-something.
Then there are the strongly leaning states, which when added to the other states, put Clinton almost exactly at the required 270 electoral votes. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less, depending on which states you think you can count on. For example, until this weekend, many put Florida in this second category, but Florida is now looking more like a Trump state.
All of these in between states, including the strongly leaning ones and the real tossups, have the candidates within just a few percentage points of each other. If a strong swing toward or away from either candidate happens, either candidate could win this election. The chances that such a swing puts Trump in the White House is low, but not zero. Repeat: Not zero. And, there is currently an anti-Clinton swing going on, the full magnitude of which we will not know for several days.
It is distinctly possible that the situation on the weekend before voting day will be distinctly different than, say, last weekend. At the present, the race is in flux.
More on the negative side: It is possible that James Comey has (in an act best described as a felony) put enough of a counter spin on the top of the ticket that the Senate is lost to the Democrats.
On the positive side, it is possible that the Democratic Party gets anywhere between one and three extra points in each state because of an improved ground game, a get out the vote effort, compared to the Republicans. But, the Republicans have been getting good at this, and in states where they have a senator at stake, they are putting millions of dollars into play. And of course, some of those states are also swing states.
Anyway, here is today’s bad news:
Recent trends reflected in the FiveThirtyEight electoral vote estimate:
Of the swing states, Trump is leading in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Utah,
Of the swing states, Clinton is leading in Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Caroina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Clinton is leading in Florida but with a rapidly diminishing lead, and is behind in more recent polls than is Trump. Florida may go for trump. A prudent guesser will now put Florida in the unknown column, or to be safe, in Trump column.
A Trump-Kaine presidency is now on the table.
It ain’t over ’till the lady in the pantsuits wins. Or looses.
Imagine Debbie Downer and Chicken Little have an offspring. It would be me. Or at least, that’s how I’ve felt over the last few weeks as the only person in the Free World who seems to have noticed that the gap between Trump and Clinton is closing, and in fact, was never really that large to begin with. It only appeared large because a fluctuation occurred at about the same time everyone was hoping for a fluctuation, so it became more real than it should have been. The race has been close for some time, remains close, and is narrowing.
This morning, the newscaster for NPR introduced a story on the race with “With Hillary Clinton’s lead narrowing …” or words to that effect. The story was about President Obama’s remarks. You think you’re wining, then you miss a couple of free flows, get a penalty or two you weren’t expecting, next thing you know, you wake up the next morning, and you’re the Minnesota Vikings. Or words to that effect.
Let’s look at some tracking polls. Tracking polls may be inaccurate with respect to magnitude (how high or low the candidates are, in relation to each other, but scaled in absolute terms) but they are supposed to be helpful in detecting short term changes. So, for example, if you have good reason to think two candidates are at, say, 60 – 40 in the split among voters, and a tracking poll then tells you that that first candidate has likely lost about 5%, that means that you should take seriously the possibly that it is no longer 60 – 40, but may have moved closer to 50 – 50, without assuming how much closer. That is what tracking polls can give you.
The Los Angeles Times has a well respected tracking poll. This is a picture of it:
Here’s the ABC tracking poll.
This shows the race narrowing to a near dead heat.
In both of these polls, ignore the absolute value. What these tracking polls are telling you is this: Ten days ago, you were jumping up and down happy because Clinton was so far ahead and her lead was expanding. Today, you need to stop jumping up and down and you have to put your nose the grindstone and work on making sure she wins, because, simply put, Trump has a chance.
A third tracking poll, the IBD/TIPP poll, is considered to be highly accurate (has never been wrong in a presidential race) and has put Clinton and Trump in a near dead head for a long time now. IBD/TIPP shows Clinton’s lead expanding a bit.
So, with two tracking polls showing what looks like an emerging reversal of fortune for the Clinton campaign, and one maintaining as an indicator that things are close, those who wish to not have a Trump Presidency should be concerned about two things.
The first thing to be concerned about is your own personal connection to and understanding of reality. A lot of Americans really like Trump, and you didn’t think that was possible and still don’t understand why. Fail to grasp that at your peril.
The second thing, of course, is an actual Trump presidency.
This is the point where most un-realists, those who simply wish Clinton to win so hard that their eyes have become scaled over, make this argument: “But the Electoral College, bla bla bla.”
So, let’s look at the Electoral College. I recently projected a very close race in the Electoral College, that some said was a crazy outlier. But when I looked at the other projections, I found that mine was similar to many others, with only one difference: I projected win/loss for all states, while the others left a lot of states as unknown. In other words, for states where we know the likely outcome, the race is close.
But how close?
Here is a list of the selected sampling of pundit forecasts listed at 270 to to win.
This represents the range of what people are thinking.
Note that in all cases, a) Clinton has more than 270 electoral votes, BUT, in several cases she is within one state of losing that. Note also that Trump is in every case below 270. But, also notice that in all cases (not shown in this table, but visible on direct inspection) there are plenty of unattributed states for either candidate to draw from.
This is the map that is of most concern:
This is the map 270 provides to represent “contested states.” It is not unreasonable. New Hampshiere, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wisconsin, and Iowa are reasonably thought of as contested. In this scenario, neither candidate has enough to win.
Let’s take this map and give Trump the states he is very likely to win if the wind is blowing softly in his direction. We get this:
Still, neither candidate wins.
I personally have a hard time believing Wisconsin will not be blue. New Hampshire has been trending more and more Blue, so maybe it will be Blue as well. Le’ts assume that Maine goes blue as well. If that all happens, Clinton wins by 3 electoral votes.
But it is also not unreasonable to guess that New Hampshire goes for Trump, or that, say New Mexico ends up going for Trump. In that case, Clinton is just below the 270 mark. If Trump then wins North Carlina and Florida, then hello President Trump.
Indeed, in the Election Year From Hell, we may very well expect this nightmare scenario:
If this happens, the vote on November 8th is thrown out and Congress decides who will be president. The House will decide who will be President, and they will pick Trump. The Senate will decide who is Vice President, and they will pick Kaine.
On Election night, I’ll be watching New Hampshire and North Carolina very closely.
I’ve got a new set of electoral college predictions. I’m using the same method as before, but with these differences: a) I had to use less than ideal polls (c rating, a few that overlapped with days prior to POTUS debate III) on the last run, this time no such polls are used; and b) there are some new polls added in this time.
The difference is interesting, and somewhat concerning (compare to this result). For example, in this run, Arizona, Virginia, and New Hampshire go for Trump. Most people think of that as unlikely. Personally, I don’t see Virginia doing that. New Hampshire is conservative and is very white (thus potentially Trump-leaning), but is in transition. However, these states are all within a very small fraction of the 50-50 cutoff. Oddly, North Carolina is not that close.
I did a second map (using 270 to win) with the same data but adding ca 3% correction for ground game. Trump seems to not have much of one. I asked a number of colleagues what percentage correction they might use for a good vs. bad ground game. These are people who have ground game experience and a good record. They were all over the place in their suggestions, and noted that any such guess would be iffy this year. So, I picked 3%. North Carolina is actually slightly more tha 3% of the 50-50 line, but I included it anyway in this latest run, which adds New Hampshire, Arizona, Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina.
I want to remind you of a couple of things about this model. It is indifferent to your opinion as it might be derived from polls. That is the point. This is meant to account for some of that potential observational bias, or at least, ignore it. Also, this model tends to work ver well. However, it is accurate mainly with respect to the percentage of the vote assigned to each candidate in a unit area (a state), not whether the candidate takes the state or not. In other words, we look at this and freak out about a state being blue or red, and the model says, “Who cares about that, I’m trying to tell you the PERCENT of the vote per candidate. So, 49 vs. 51 are two points off, and 81 and 83 are two points off, they are the same, silly human!”
The real meaning of this particular prediction, which uses BETTER DATA POINTS than the last one but FEWER OF THEM, is that it is not a) closing in on a Clinton landslide — that isn’t going to happen and b) it shows the kind of crazy variation over time that should keep us up at night. On the 8th. But not so much other nights, because it is, essentially, impossible for Clinton to lose.
And, to underscore that point, here are the states that my model currently says will go to Clinton, on the stronger Clinton side of the distribution, that are the minimal needed to get 270 votes:
So, that’s how Clinton can win without Pennsylvania or Ohio. And, again, this is the quirky nature of variation near the 50-50 line. Clinton will probably win Pennsylvania (according to everything) and couple of other states, and does not, therefore, need Florida. Probably.
It is fun to look at polls, and using such data, decide which candidate will win which state, and ultimately, which candidate will win the electoral college. A lot of people and organizations do that, and for this reason, I don’t. I do not have access to polls that no one else sees. Were I to use polling data to directly predict outcomes per state, I’d use a method like that used by FiveThirtyEight, and probably come up with similar results. How boring. It would be a waste of my time to try to replicate the excellent work done by Nate Silver and his team.
Back during the Democratic Primaries, I decided that I wanted to get a handle on which candidate was likely to win, fairly early on. The polling based estimates were inadequate because most states simply didn’t have polling data that early in the process. So, I invented an alternative method, which made certain estimates of how voters with different ethnic identities would vote. That method accurately predicted several primary outcomes, outperforming the poll based methods such as those used by FiveThirtyEight.
After a while, enough primaries had been carried out that I could switch methods slightly. Using the same exact model, but primed with the results of prior primaries (that year) rather than my estimates of voter behavior, I used the ethnic distribution data for each state to predict the outcome of upcoming primary contests.
Once again, my method was very accurate, and once again, it out performed the polling based methods.
So, recently, I’ve tried to apply a similar method to estimating the electoral outcome for this year’s presidential race. But, it is impossible to use the same exact method because the entire thing happens all on one day. I can’t use the election results from a handful of states to estimate the likely future outcomes in other states.
I recognize that polling data is very limited on a national level. Things happen during an election season that probably change people’s likely voting behavior, especially among independents. Solid states are rarely polled, and small states, swing or not, are rarely polled. Many polls are of low quality. Right now, for instance, fewer than half of the states have polls that were a) taken fully after the final POTUS debate and b) have an A- or better rating from FiveThirtyEight. If I allow the use of B and occasional C ratings for recent polls, and allow a few polls to include periods of time prior to the last POTUS debate, but only in states that are very strongly in favor of one candidate or the other (and thus likely to not move anyway), I can find 32 states that have sort of usable polling data. Interestingly, states with some of the more controversial changes happening, like Utah and Iowa, are not adequately polled.
In order to apply a model like the one I used in the Primaries to the current election, I used the 32 states for which there was somewhat acceptable recent polling data to inform the model (to calculate the regression coefficients) in order to then, separately, predict the likely voting behavior (Trump vs. Clinton) in all of the states.
Before I show you the map, however, I need to discuss something else.
About a week ago the press, especially the somewhat more left leaning press, and various commenters, seeing much reaction to a series of events beginning with the NYT release of Trump’s tax return and ending with the final POTUS debate, events which sandwiched the sexual assault tapes and accusations, collectively decided that a huge gap between Clinton and Trump was rapidly opening up and the race would end with a double digit spread, an electoral rout, and a big party.
Soon after, I pointed out that this may not be correct. That polling data seemed to show, rather, that there was an expansion of the difference between the two candidates followed by a re-closing of the gap, with Clinton still leading but by about as much as before this temporary shift. To this I added a concern. If too many people assumed that the race was over and in the double digit range, perhaps there could be a GOTV backlash effect, or a funding effect, that would shift things to within shooting distance for Trump.
I was not alone in thinking this, and I was probably right. The GOP sunk, via pacs, 25 million dollars into Senate races in response to the Democrats shifting from the national race to the Senate, which was followed by the Democrats shifting back to the national race in certain states, presumably recognizing that the polls were artificially spread. Indeed, some who criticized (arguing mainly from incredulity and good wishes) my admonition noted, correctly, that some of that narrowing was because a bunch of right-leaning polls had come out all at once. This is true, but it ignores that a bunch of left-leaning polls had made the formation of the Great Gap of GOP Defeat look a lot bigger than it ever really was.
I say all this as part one of my preparation for what I’m going to tell you below, which is not the news you want to hear. Part two is some logic I’d like to bludgeon you with.
Consider these points:
1) True Trump supporters could give a rat’s ass about sexual assault, poor debate performance, or tax forms. Donald Trump was correct when he said, weeks ago, now forgotten, that he could gun someone down on the streets of Manhattan and he would not lose support form his base. These people did not abandon him when he was heard to talk about sexual assault. If anything, they were energized by it. And, I’m talking about something just shy of 40% of the voters. We live in a barely civilized asshole country.
2) Please tell me exactly which Hillary Clinton supporters, who were going to vote for Clinton over Trump all along, are NOW going to pick Clinton (if polled or on voting day) that change from not being Clinton supporters to being Clinton supporters? In other words (this is a somewhat subtle point) which people who hated Trump became True Haters of Trump after the sexual assault thing? Almost none. They were already there.
3) The third category of people, the undecideds (who are only lying about being undecided, in most cases) and the so-called “reasonable Republicans” (of which there are very, very few), who could conceivably shift from Trump to Clinton are going to divide their voting activities between Johnson, a write in (as they are being advised by Republican leaders in some cases) or simply staying home.
In other words, over the last few weeks, no source has emerged that hands Secretary Clinton more electoral votes than she probably had about a month ago, and Trump is not going to have any, or at least not many, electoral votes go away.
Those observations (part one) and that logic (part two) cause me to be utterly unsurprised to find out that an analysis of the electoral map I did on October 16th and one I did today do not show Clinton pulling farther ahead. In fact, the two analyses have Clinton being less far ahead than Trump now than ten days ago. The difference is in Ohio (shifting from Clinton to Trump) which is almost certainly going to happen, and North Carolina (which shifted from Clinton to Trump in this analysis) which seems much less likely to happen, and Arizona shifting from Clinton (that was probably wishful thinking) to Trump.
The point here is this, plain and simple. An analysis using a technique that has worked very well for me in the past shows that the difference between that moment of Maximal Clintonosity and today is plus or minus a couple of state. In other words, not different. Maybe a little worse. Really, about the same.
Here’s the current map:
Obviously, I will be watching for more data over the next few days. I assume there will be a spate of polls as we approach November 8th (the day Democrats vote. Republicans vote on the 28th of November). If so, then there will be convergence between my method of calibration and my method of calculation, and the model will consume itself by the tail and become very accurate at the same time.
But between now and then, perhaps that very small number of polls that are both recent and high quality will grow a bit more and I can do this again and resolve those closer states.
By the way, the “swing states” according to my model, the states where things are close, are Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, and Georgia of those now in the Trump column. Those are indeed swing states. Numerically, the close states that are in the Clinton column are Virginia, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.