Tag Archives: Election 2016

The Electoral College Vote Three Days Before The Election

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.

So, here, I’m giving you two separate sets of results, initially. First, as in my previous post, a distillation of what the polls themselves are actually saying, using this approach.

First from the polls only:

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-09-35-pm

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-21-58-pm

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-27-34-pm

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-3-30-46-pm

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-47-12-pm

Trump’s “Black Supporter” is from Defunct Florida Murder Cult

“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.

Under President Trump, US No Longer Primary World Power

It appears that if Donald Trump is elected president, many world leaders, including the leaders of the Western European countries, will freeze out the US from intelligence and security decisions, because they have learned that they can’t trust Trump’s ability to manage or handle intelligence, and recognize that he will be Putin’s puppet.

In phone calls, meetings and cables, America’s European allies have expressed alarm to one another about Donald Trump’s public statements denying Moscow’s role in cyberattacks designed to interfere with the U.S. election. They fear the Republican nominee for president has emboldened the Kremlin in its unprecedented cybercampaign to disrupt elections in multiple countries in hopes of weakening Western alliances, according to intelligence, law enforcement and other government officials in the United States and Europe.

While American intelligence officers have privately briefed Trump about Russia’s attempts to influence the U.S. election, he has publicly dismissed that information as unreliable, instead saying this hacking of incredible sophistication and technical complexity could have been done by some 400-pound “guy sitting on their bed” or even a child.

This is a breaking story at Newsweek, here.

Maddow discussed the story here:

This entire story makes the most sense in context of the concept that Putin fears a Clinton presidency. See: VLADIMIR PUTIN: WHY HE FEARS A HILLARY CLINTON WHITE HOUSE

We Now Know FBI Is Rigging Election

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 Electoral College Map Five Days Out: Most Likely Trump Scenario is a Tie

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:

pollssayclintonwinsby_3_or_the_election_is_tied

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.

ladenmodelnovember_3

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.

ladenmodel_nov_4_withuncertainty

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:

pollsonly_nove_4_withuncertainty

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.

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-1-13-37-pm

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:

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-1-15-12-pm

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…

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-1-55-12-pm

Most Recent Polling Shows Tight Race

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

How Will The Swing States Swing?

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 Electoral College Map One Week Out: Clinton Victory Likely But Not Assured

A couple of weeks ago, it was impossible to find a pundit or poll maven who saw a Trump victory as a possibility. I made the audacious claim at the time that this was incorrect, and I’ve been taking heat from it since then. Much of this widespread misunderstanding is ironically caused by the good work of the folks at FiveThirtyEight and their imitators such as the New York Times, who have been publishing probability statements about the outcome.

If I know for near certain that Mary is going to beat Joe in an election, then I can say something like this:

Probability of winning

Mary: 97%
Joe: 3%

But, it is quite possible that I can say that with the following as my estimate for the vote distribution in in this race:

Mary: 50%
Joe: 50%

(Rounded off to the nearest percent. Not rounded, the values are Mary: 50.1%, Joe: 49.9%.)

So, statements like “Clinton has a 75.6% chance of winning, Trump has a 24.2% chance” can go along with an estimate of the popular vote of 49:44.5, and electoral vote estimate of 310.2:226.4 (those numbers are taken right off the FiveThirtyEight site at the moment I’m writing this, Monday AM).

This, in combination with a lot of happy arm waving during a period of about five days, when many very strong Clinton numbers were coming out of Poll Land, has resulted in widespread incredulity over any suggestion that Trump may win.

Let’s have a look at some sobering facts. The following are major source projections of the outcome of the race, giving only Clinton and Trump’s certain numbers. These are the states that those making the projections are putting in the strong Blue or the strong Red column.

Source Clinton Trump
CNN 200 157
NBC 182 71
NPR 190 98
538 187 154
AP 213 106
ABC 197 157

Here is a map I produced, using my model, providing my estimate of these numbers:

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-8-41-10-am

You will notice that my numbers are higher than the major outlets for both candidates. I guess I have more certainty in my model than they do. But, I imagine you do as well, dear reader, because those of you who have kindly commented here or on Facebook have generally been saying that you think certain states will a certain wahy, for sure. States like Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, even Minnesota are given less certainly in those mainstream models than most of us seem to think.

In all cases, of course, neither candidate has the requisite minimum of 270 electoral votes, so in theory, either candidate can lose. “No, wait, that’s not true,” you say. “Clinton has way more votes to start with than Trump, so that’s just not true.”

And you may be right, but not for any good reason. It is totally possible for one candidate to have a base set of states, states that can not be lost, that totals to more electoral votes than another candidate, but for the remaining states to lean towards the second, smaller-base candidate. This is especially true in a heterogenous environment, like this one.

However, in this case, it does happen to be true that the remaining states tend to fall out in a way that favors Clinton on average, but not in all cases.

I’ve descried my model many times. It is calibrated with polling data that is most recent and from the highest quality sources. The presumed outcome in some states, based on that polling data, is the dependent variable in a multi-variable regression analysis where the independent variables are the ethnic breakdown of each state, and the relative Romney vote for each state in that election, to indicate Republican vs. Democratic trend. For the first time, because of a LOT of recent polling, and in a few cases using FiveThityEight’s estimate to stand in for some mediocre polling, I have used most of the states rather than fewer than half. One would think that this would simply spit back out the same polling numbers others have used, but it does not, because of the ethnic and Republicanosity factors, and some of the results are a bit surprising. For example, my model is not that happy about North Carolina voting for Clinton, and it is not that happy about Iowa voting for Trump.

Nor does my model have to be happy. The whole point of doing this model is to include a perspective that, while linked to polling, glosses over low quality or old polls (by not using them) and is not slave to a state-by-state analysis of polls, but rather, heeds lager scale and more general trends that we know are reasonable. The fact that my model puts the same states near the 50%-50% line as the polls do suggests (unsurprisingly) that we are all on the same page, but the fact that some details are different … well, that’s why they invented popcorn.

Anyway, having said that, I have a projection for the entire country based on my model, which I offer in competition (but subject to change before election day) against all the other models. Here it is:

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-8-45-04-am

There are a few things to notice here. First, as discussed elsewhere, there is no Clinton Landslide. This is mainly because Democrats can’t have landslides, because there are so many Yahoo states like Kansas and Oklahoma, and much of the deep south. Another thing to note is that I’ve left off three states. Much to my surprise, New Hampshire is not predictable. I thought it was going to fall out blue this year. Many people will complain about North Carolina not being blue, but face it: nobody had North Carolina as certain. Only one of the above cited (in the table) predictions has North Carolina leaning blue, the others all say nothing. Notice that Ohio is uncertain.

These three states leave a mere 37 electoral votes off the table, and give Clinton a resounding win with 310 Electoral votes.

But what if the Democrats end up putting into effect the greatest ever Get Out The Vote scheme, besting even those done by Obama? “Not likely,” you say? “Because people were more excited about Obama than Clinton,” you say?

You may be wrong. First, people are excited about Clinton. But people have more ways to comfortably be openly opposed to a woman than they have ways to comfortably be openly opposed to a black man. That, and the GOP hate machine has been running longer on Clinton than on Obama. So, yes, this will effect overall feelings but it does not effect the ground game, which is being run, on the ground, by people who don’t really care about those messages. They are busy being excited Democrats.

Another reason you might be wrong for thinking that is that the Clinton GOTV effort will be better than the Obama GOTV effort, all else being equal, because it is not based on excitement, but rather, methodology, data, and professional strategy. And, these things get better every election. So, it is quite possible that the Democrats will outperform the the Republicans in relation to the polls.

After consulting my advisors, I decided that a two point advantage could be given to the Democrats if they do the best they can do on the ground to trounce the Republicans. When we re-calculate on this basis, we get this map:

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-8-46-57-am

Sorry, Democrats, you don’t get Texas. But you do get Georgia and all the swing states! And a respectable win. Almost, but not quite, an arguable mandate. What you’ve got here, really, is a map of future wildlife refuge takeovers. And, a respectable Electoral College win.

But what if it goes the other way, the same amount? What if the monster under the bed (more accusations about email?) comes out. And at the same time, what if there is a real turnout among angry white males, energized by a victory in Idaho? What if men who are really worried about someone taking away their guns and locker room talk make their move?

There’s a map for that:

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-8-50-02-am

Ruh roh.

In this case, Trump wins. Trump wins by taking the swing states, all of them.

Notice that if all this happens, BUT Clinton takes Pennsylvania, OR, North Carolina OR Ohio, OR Florida, Trump loses. The chance of the map shown here being realized is very small. But possible.

Also, remember, that somewhere between this Trump win map and the smallest possible victory for Clinton (270) is that one odd combination where each candidate gets 269 votes, and the Electoral College ends the day having selected no one as president. In that case, the House of Representatives decides, and the way that is done, in combination with the way the numbers are (even if the Democrats actually take the House) is such that a Republican majority will prevail in that decision.

That would be the Republican Party’s last chance to stop Trump. But, will they allow a woman to be president as the only alternative that will be open to them?

Of course not. They’ll select the nuclear option, elect trump, and anyone who is still guessing at their motivations will know what the Republican Party is really all about. Ending civilization, because civilization can not exist without taxes and regulation.

Tracking Polls Show Clinton Disaster Looms, But Electoral College Holds

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:

ABC Tracking Poll:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-19-29-am

USC LA Times Tracking Poll:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-20-24-am

IBD/TIPP Tracking Poll:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-21-37-am

Recent trends reflected in the FiveThirtyEight electoral vote estimate:

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-10-24-30-am

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.

Secretary Clinton’s Likely First Violation of Her Oath of Office

When Secretary Clinton is elected President, barring more shenanigans on the part of Republicans like James Comey, she will take an oath of office, promising to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

Then, within a few days, she’ll violate that oath by appointing one or more Republicans to important positions in the Federal Government.

(As an aside, I’m wondering, what is the mechanism for paying someone like James Comey for giving a helping hand to his party and violating his constitutional oath? Offshore accounts? Do the payments come later? How does that work? I know how they do it on TV, but how do they do it in real life? But I digress…)

Every now and then, in every Democratic administration, a couple of Republicans are asked to serve. This is a thing both parties do at about equal levels. But what does not appear to be equal is the probability, increasing in recent years, that the cross party appointment will lead to either embarrassment, or serve to plant a time bomb of some sort. A cross party appointee messing with Democracy, or simply screwing up, seems to be more of a Republican thing than a Democratic things. (Though I’m sure there are a few counter examples.) Often, the Republican turns around at some point and sticks it to the Democrats. Sometimes it is just a personal attack that happens after they serve, other times it is a criminal act they carry out while still in their position.

James Comey is an example of this.

There are three truths that must be understood, and I hope Hillary Clinton understands and acts on these truths. But I doubt she will, because she she is a olde timey Democrat, bless her heart, and will likely carry on the tradition of bending over for the Republicans. But, since she should understand this more than anyone, ever, perhaps she will act differently.

Here are the truths:

1) Republicans are, in fact, very bad at certain things, especially national defense and crime. We are faced as a nation with huge problems in both of these areas, and if Secretary Clinton is elected to be President, she will be spending much of her administration dealing with these things. This includes the hatred of America engendered by protracted Republican wars, and the fact that our society is a prison state, and a police state, and other effects of the Patriot Act. These are mostly Republican-caused problems, and where Democrats were involved, they were Blue Dogs or cow towed.

2) Democrats are actually very good at doing these things, at dealing with defense and criminal justice. If Democrats keep putting their token Republicans in those areas, that will simply reinforce the utter falsehood that Democrats are lousy on crime and lousy on defense. This has to stop.

3) Republicans can not be trusted to govern, under any circumstances, in any role, at any level of government, ever. The fundamental philosophy of Republicans is that nothing matters, no ethical considerations or legal restrictions, as long as one ultimately votes against women’s health, for voter suppression, and in favor of unfettered gun ownership and use. Everything else, all other issues, are secondary. Therefore, when a Democratic president puts a Republican in any position of responsibility, knowing this, a deeply cynical and irresponsible act has occurred. The Republican will, eventually, violate the constitution.

To Republicans, the collective rights of all Americans make up the very pavement over which the bus of the Second Amendment, a Religious Republic, and a Police State roll. We don’t get thrown under the bus. We are expected to reside there, under the bus. Their bus.

Dear Secretary Clinton: After you take your oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America, don’t violate that oath right away by appointing any Republicans to any positions of authority of any kind whatsoever. Please.

There are Republicans who have served in Democratic administrations with honor and dignity, people like Jim Leach. But they are old, they are retired, they represent the GOP before the Republican Revolution. And the good they’ve done is not unique. Those positions could have been covered by Democrats. The Petraeus scandal, Bernanke’s sexism vis-a-vis the $10 bill, Chuck Hagel’s controversy, Bob Gate’s book, all serve as warnings.

But at this state, appointing a Republican to an important position within a Democratic administration carries sufficient risk of unconstitutional behavior that the act of appointment itself should be considered a violation of the oath.

Will 2016 see a landslide in the POTUS election?

No.

Many many people, well intended, smart people, keep talking about the rout, the landslide, that will happen. They may be basing this on the new trend started by FiveThirtyEight and picked up by the New York Times and others of deriving a probability statement about the race. But when you see something like “87%” for Clinton in such an estimate, that does not mean that Clinton will get 87% of the votes. It means that it is very likely that Clinton will get 270 or more electoral votes. There is, for example, a zero chance that Clinton will get a single electoral electoral from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, either Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia or Indiana.

There are versions of this election where the Virgin Mary descends form heaven on a Unicorn and causes Trump to lose in Texas, Georgia, a few other states that he is not going to lose in, and then there are tossup states.

A great outcome for Clinton is winning all the tossups, including New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, North Dakota, Arizona, Nevada, etc. But there is no version of the election in which she wins even one of the 108 electoral votes found among the afore mentioned states.

Now, the total number of electoral votes that Trump can not possibly lose is just over 100. The total number of electoral votes that Clinton can’t possibly lose is just under 200 (including, I think, Washington, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, DC). Either candidate losing any of those states involves the Virgin Mary on the Unicorn. If you make any map of any kind with those states in place, as specified, per candidate, then nether candidate can win by a true landslide.

And we know what a true landslide is because there have been many of them. A very conservative estimate of Trump’s electoral take would be about 147 votes. The lowest actual estimate I’ve seen is, I think, 153. Very few put him below the 170s, and these all assume that he’ll get more, but with many states left in limbo. In other words, Trump losing badly gives him something like 25% to 30% of the electoral votes.

There have been 56 elections.

10 elections have been won by 90% or more of the electoral vote. The were won by George Washington, James Monroe, FDR, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. The weakest of those was Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and this is what his map looked like:

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-8-34-52-pm

28 of the elections were won by 70% or more. The weakest of those was Bill Clinton in 1996. This is what that year looked like:

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-8-36-27-pm

Hillary Clinton’s electoral map is going to look a lot more like Bill Clinton’s map, and that is not a rout.

There have been many landslides in recent years. Reagan and Nixon as mentioned (Reagan twice), Johnson and Roosevelt as mentioned. Even Wilson, 1912, with just over 80% of the electoral vote looks like a rout on the map:

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-8-39-18-pm

A major victory for Clinton will be taking all of the major swing states, and one or two of the formerly red states, such as Georgia, South Carolina, any Deep South state, Texas, or Utah. Any one of them. Plus the swing states (esp. Ohio and Florida, both, as well as Pennsylvania). That will feel like a rout, a landslide. But it won’t be.

James Comey’s Last Day at the FBI: November 9th

You all know what James Comey did. He sent a letter to Congress that will undoubtedly serve to change the vote distribution among the leasing candidates for president enough to possibly change the outcome of the United States election of the President of the United States.

Such an act is treasonous, and had a private citizen, especially a brown one or one with “Hussain” in his name, done something to affect the election to this degree, the FBI would be on that citizen like ugly on an ape. But, James Comey is the head of the FBI, he’s white, male, and a Republican. Also, there is an argument that could be made that he had to send this letter.

The argument that he should of is fallacious. The only reason to have done so is that he, James Comey, can not be seen as having done something more wrong (as opposed to less wrong) in the final analysis of the Clinton Email Tragicomedy. So, it was an utterly selfish act on his part, and does not excuse him. Indeed, it makes what he did worse.

President Obama will be fully justified in relieving Director Comey of his duties. People at his level of government have been asked to resign for less. But, since Comey’s act serves to hurt the Democratic candidate, the one President Obama has been stumping for, he can’t do that before the election.

And that is why November 9th will be James Comey’s last day in public service. Then, he can go and write his book.

The Presidential Race Tightens Even As Many Assume It Is Over

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:

lat-tracking_poll_trump_winning

Here’s the ABC tracking poll.

abc_tracking_poll_race_is_dead_heat

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-11-54-34-am

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-12-33-51-pm

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:

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-12-37-42-pm

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:

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-12-40-59-pm

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:

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-12-46-37-pm

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.

Trump Supporter Charged With Vote Fraud, Grammar Infraction

How can you tell what a megalomaniac is really up to? You find out what the megalomaniac is accusing everyone else of. That’s what they are up to.

While the just barely brighter than dim press and pundits are focusing on Trump’s call for his followers to carry out voter suppression in African American and Hispanic neighborhoods on November 8th, or before at early voting elections, and accusing the Democrats of voter fraud (suppression and fraud are different, sort of opposite, things) something different is actually happening.

This is how dog whistles work. Dog whistles, usually used by conservatives, are thought by liberals to be a way of saying things that you can’t actually say because they are obnoxious or illegal. But no, that is not how they actually work. Dog whistles are much more subtle and nuanced than that. The recipients of the message unwittingly (but not unwillingly) adopt opinions or, in some cases, carry out acts, directed by constantly repeated well placed dog whistles.

The dog whistles are not explicit instructions. The are cues that set up a mind set that leads to a desire to act or think in a certain way.

Think about it. If you tell people who hate Democrats and Hillary Clinton that Democrats and Hillary Clinton are going to carry out voter fraud, again, and again, and again, what are they going to do? They are going to a) carry out their own voter fraud and b) do so with the justification that they are afraid that the other side is busy carrying out voter fraud.

So, from the Huffington Post, on reporting several apparent cases of voter fraud in Iowa:

Police in Des Moines, Iowa, said Friday that they had arrested Terri Lynn Rote, 55, on suspicion of voting twice in the general election.

Rote, a registered Republican, allegedly submitted ballots at two different early-voting locations in Polk County, Iowa…

She said she feared her first vote for Trump would be changed to a vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

As expected.

There are two other individuals in the same area being looked at, neither has been arrested yet.

Apparent voting felon Rote is known to have commented, “I wasn’t planning on doing it twice. It was a spur of the moment,” a comment for which charges from the local grammar police are expected soon.