It’s not over until this Democratic Party is over

Sorry to rain on the parade of professors, political scientists, pollsters and pundits, but all this debating over a percentage point here or a population sub-segment there; all the excuse-mongering; all the “if only she’d done that!” wailing and flailing; the (well-deserved) Comey-shaming; all the blame gaming, in short, is missing what this Truthteller suggests is the main question.

Instead of trying to justify, explain, excuse, or condemn the Democrat loss by a few votes in a few states, the real issue is NOT why this contest was won by the Republicans with so few strategically-located votes, but why it was not won by the Democrats with a ten-million (or more) vote plurality and a 50 (or more) edge in the Electoral College.

What enabled the coalition of the ignorant, the religious right, the Hillary haters, the rabid Tea Party and all the other anti-progressives, and, most tellingly, the millions of voters who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 rather than vote for a Black man, to go out and support the worst educated, least qualified, most dangerous, most despicable candidate in our history?

How did what should have been a nation-wide mass rejection of this oafish lout by all the real patriots and serious, educated, issue-conscious citizens turn into a sullen victory by the minority of Americans who hate the very idea of a rational, informed, fact-based approach to governing and public policy?

How did a no-brainer choice, the *obvious* win over ignorance, become literally a no brainer: the victory of a mindless minority composed of only about 25% of our neighbors? We are talking here, fellow losers, of what should have been a historically massive victory of rationality and public spiritedness over a mob.

The answer will not be found in the nit-picking of exit polls, or the insidious vote suppression schemes of the Republicans. The answer will be in understanding why, when faced with a looming disastrous overthrow of our country’s slow march to a progressive society, fully 45% of our citizens would not care enough to vote.

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind. We are a country, not a collection of population samples. Our government has failed *everyone*, not just the angry white men. Seniors, minorities, women, and immigrants have been pushed aside in our relentless march to a brave new progressive world. The Democratic Party has been a significant part of this failure. The party has mainly focused on local or regional causes and written off whole sections of the country along with most of the unfortunate people who happen to reside in them.

We in our coveted Blue liberal safe zones forget too easily that the people in the disaffected class include millions of Democrats, independents, minorities, frustrated young persons, and ignored seniors. More stupidly, we who are living the educated, employed, progressive good life seem to have forgotten there are millions of less-fortunates living in the slums and ghettos and forgotten rural regions of our Blue states and urban areas.

We assume that, just because a person is ignorant, they cannot think. Too many young progressives assume that seniors are out of touch with reality, when many of these same seniors are distraught at the prospects of their grandchildren coming face-to-face with climate change, in a country impoverished by Republican financial excesses. Too many of us assume that, just because a person is white and poor, they must be a racist, or anti-progressive, or unsympathetic to, or even resentful of, the plight of Black and Latino people, their fellow-sufferers in poverty.

We claim to be the champions of public education, but have done nothing as a party to educate the public.

We lost this election because we failed to mobilize all the people from ALL the population segments who want a progressive future for their children. Drunk with our own clever numbers, we ignored the more important ones:

  • Two thirds of Americans fear global warming and want our government to take action to mitigate it
  • More than 80% of our citizens want gun safety implemented
  • More than 80% of our citizens want a fair, universal, comprehensive national health insurance scheme
  • More than 80% of our people accept the principles of women’s equality, voting rights, LGBT rights, and criminal justice reform
  • Most of our people want employment in all the country, not just the thriving pockets of the educated class.

Instead of forcefully and consistently pressing these issues, we allowed our candidate and leadership to campaign on the singular theme of “We’re not him, or the Deplorables, morally bankrupt Republicans, and hypocritical Christians who support him.” We let our political leadership run away from the real issues for fear of offending some small population segment or special interest group.

We sat back and mocked Trump and his rally-goers, sure that all the other rational folks would crush him and his misogynistic, White Nationalist, anti-science, jingoistic followers. We gave them no reason to get off their duffs and go out and stop him. We simply said, “We’re not him.”

And guess what!? The vast majority already knew that they were not “him”, either. They obviously felt that we’re so much “stronger together” that they need not do anything unpleasant, like voting. Or assumed they could fritter away their vote on ineffectual independent candidates.

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind, an answer for all Americans. And it needs to be based on the commitment of the Democratic Party to utterly reform itself, top to bottom.

We do not need a Democratic Party led by career politicians who are committed to a Democratic party, instead of to democratic principles. We will not win with a party that is reformed in name only, after ideological cosmetic surgery. It needs to become the natural and national party for all those who want a progressive future for their children. It has to include fierce progressives, independents, seniors, and millennials alike, of all colors and cultures. It needs to include the struggling poor as well as the successful professionals. It needs to work, in every sense of the word. It needs to become the Progressive Democratic Alliance.

For days, recently, I’ve listened to good people like Joy Reid of MSNBC hound their pundit and political party guests with one question: “What is the message that can reform, revitalize, and redirect the Democratic Party? What is the one thing 65, 75, even 85% of the people can agree with and take to their mind and hearts, and carry to their polling place?”

It’s this, for me: “Change that works”, period.

 

Draining the swamp, and…

…replacing it with a new luxury fishing pond for lobbyists, Trump loyalists, big corporations, and Republicans of all stripes. No, not those stripes. At least not yet. Anyway, prisoners don’t wear stripes anymore. Nowadays they wear bright orange jumpsuits.

Trump is leading by example in this stampede to corruption, by:

  • Continuing to refuse to show us his tax returns — without those, we’ll never know if, where, and how he’s using the powers and prestige of the Oval Office to curry favors and cash from his overseas “partners”
  • Resisting the demands of even his own adherents to put his business assets in a truly blind trust — Trump says by law he doesn’t have to do what all modern Presidents have done in order to minimize the potential for conflicts of interest
  • Pushing for a so-called “infrastructure plan” that would actually be little more than a giant tax-cut for his pals in the construction industry
  • and today, we learn that he plans to appoint an IRS Commissioner that will go easy on him in any audit he can’t avoid while he’s President.

So now we know that he’s draining the swamp only to make way for his own scheme for graft on an international scale, in sums that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, or more.

Jobs? The only jobs Trump’s concerned about are power positions for his adult children and his son-in-law.

As for ethics, Trump’s clearly not concerned with those annoying directives.

He’s grabbed us by the unmentionables, folks, and set it all up so that we’ll never even know how much he’s gotten away with.

Blind trust? Rather, trust, blinded.

 

Let the chaos begin

OK, so Trump has no management skills — can anyone who has read his long history of business failures find that surprising? Little wonder he and his so-called “transition team” cannot come up with a plan to staff the new administration; they could barely even develop a game plan for the campaign. Take the “game” out of it, and they are suddenly dead in the water. They clearly are unaware that the Ship of State is steaming straight for Trump Tower, on a collision course. The current confusion and disarray ensures that the new administration will hit the ground bumbling.

Again, no surprise. Trump got his win by lying and reality-show gimmicks, not through the diligent efforts of a skilled campaign team. Now that the exit-polling data from the election is beginning to come to light, we know that:

  • Many voters who had told pollsters they supported Clinton stayed home, or went to the polls and voted for Democratic candidates down-ballot, but decided on Trump at the top
  • Millions of Trump supporters refused to be polled, severely skewing the pollsters’ projections of likely support for the windbag
  • Millions of working-class whites in the Battleground states who had not voted recently, or never voted at all, came out for Trump.

Most galling of all,

  • We know now that Clinton won the popular vote by, probably, two million or more votes
  • She lost the most important Battleground states by a small number of votes; had she prevailed, she’d have won the Electoral College by a comfortable margin
  • The Comey Gambit cost her those Battleground votes, and about a million more last minute deciders around the country.
But it’s too easy to blame Trump’s win on the Comey game of “Now she’s not guilty”; “Wow! Here’s a bunch of unknown emails!”; and “Nah, she’s clean after all.”

The real, simple, embarrassing, shameful truth is that millions of white, working-class Americans came out of the political shadows to support the worst candidate in the history of the country. They were not persuaded to do this by Trump’s super-effective campaign machine, because no such machine ever existed. They were not brought to the polls as a result of the Republican Party’s ground game, because it was weak and missing in action, mostly, and never even knew of this missing legion of pissed-off white folks. They certainly were not motivated to go to the polls by the Trump plans and proposed policies to Make America Republican Again, because those plans and policies were never enunciated by the Donald or his endlessly spinning, reality-denying surrogates

The ugly truth is millions of Rust Belt and other swing state Trumpsters were motivated by Trump himself. It was his simple messages they heard, thanks to the thousands of hours of free television coverage by our lazy, unthinking mass media. It was his words of hate for the Other they heard, giddily, excited to finally hear a national celebrity defy all the rules of public discourse, rules the whites in their churches and bars and neighborhoods call “political correctness”, but which the rest of us call common civility.

It was the President-Elect’s false claims, personal bombast, childish over-simplifications, and outright lies they listened to, and loved, because his words were easy to understand, and, because they confirmed what these ignorant people truly feel and believe: that they are the Forgotten Americans, that it’s their toil and decency that makes the country work, and supports all these millions of immigrants, Blacks, Hispanics, and now, Muslims.

Donald Trump spoke to these people, and told them what they wanted to hear. He told them, directly, forcefully. He spoke, not some slick, sophisticated political consultants, not a bunch of clever TV ads, not the few wise voices of the print media still working to keep journalism alive.

Trump used the Big Lie strategy to perfection. We all laughed last Spring to hear that the only book Trump keeps by his nightstand in his golden tower is Hitler’s speeches, and, like in a second-rate TV drama, the last laugh is on us.

Now, he’s facing the challenge of turning just enough of the lies into truth, the task of converting the largest government on the planet to a bunch of fellow liars, the job of making reality conform to the fake reality he sold all those foolish people. He has to do this, or, soon, the millions he conned into supporting him will begin to turn on him.

It’s an impossible mission he’s asking his clown car team to achieve. Even a competent group of men and women couldn’t pull off the greatest Lie in human history, and the loyalists and goons surrounding Trump are showing themselves to have all the competence of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

The media sense this, are beginning to realize that when Trump is inaugurated January 20th, the Executive Branch of our government will not have a viable Chief Executive, and precious few other competent executives either, if any. The key positions in the government will mostly be empty of a key brain with the knowledge needed to do the job. We will begin the Trump Era in utter administrative chaos.

To some, this will be richly satisfying: the beginning of the Great Trumpian Fail. “So there, all you right-wing nut-jobs!” many will preen.

But we need to understand: nature, and history, abhors a vacuum. The absence of a working Administration will be the long-awaited opportunity for the forces of Ryan and McConnell to push their insidious ultra-Conservative agenda forward. They know Trump will have to sign almost any bill they submit in order to maintain the illusion that he is in charge, that he is the only one who can fix it, that he is draining the swamp.

We face, patient readers, Ryan’s rapid dismantling of much of the State. We face the certainty that the Supreme Court will take a sharp turn to the right, on a dystopian journey that could last decades, a dark, unforgiving trip that will see the likely reversal of many of the rights we all assumed were won over the past fifty years. Trump and his anti-progressive allies will soon be leading us on a forced march into fascist plutocracy. That is the danger now, which the absurdly foolish media and most Democrats cannot seem to get their heads around: the danger now that a rabid minority of unthinking fellow-citizens has let loose the Orange Kraken.

In the eye of the storm

My apologies for “going quiet” the last few days. Like many of you and millions of others around the country, I had to step back from what will turn out to be a historically critical event, and think.

I haven’t been sitting in my darkened office stewing how we Progressives have lost what had seemed a sure win in the Electoral College. It was obvious to me and other insiders by about ten PM on Tuesday that the polling data we had relied upon to construct our various models was waaay off the mark. I’d struggled while building my own little “late decider” predictive tool with the likelihood that turnout could vary widely from what the pollsters were expecting. The polling organizations don’t tell us the detailed assumptions in their likely voter screens, so none of us who use the polls were prepared for the shocker that all their screens were devastatingly wrong. Bigly wrong. Yoogely wrong.

Simply put, no one, on the Republican side as well as the Democrat/Progressive side, had a clue that millions of Trump supporters were actively “hiding” from the poll takers. And, equally disastrous, the pollsters’ likely voter assumptions overlooked the millions of Dems who “supported” Clinton ideologically, but could not stomach actually going out and voting for her. The statistical result was that all predictive models missed an enormous bunch of Trump voters, and over-estimated Clinton likely voters by as much as ten percent, depending upon the state.

So much for the math, and the egg on nearly every political analyst’s face.

But as I said, that was no longer on my mind these last few days.

What I’ve been wrestling with is the recognition that one famously Progressive voice had called this result fully five months earlier, when Michael Moore, the documentarian of despair and right-wing deceit, said flat-out that Trump was going to win.

He made this maddening prediction and stuck to it, even though he was fighting day in and day out all these months to ensure it would turn out to be wrong. His assessment was based not on clever modeling methods but his deep, personal, and long experience of living with and studying the white industrial uneducated under-class; the core of Trump’s army of anger.

I’ve always respected Moore’s selfless, dedicated, persistent documentary work. He grabs an issue and then, like a terrier with a chew toy, won’t let it go until he has exposed the truth and captured it in a way millions can understand.

But I’ve never listened to his mind. I have, now, belatedly, and am considering his thoughts and advice in formulating my own. We have, as he has recently said, an incredibly challenging four years of struggle ahead of us. Those who are able must prepare, and plan, and think.

We are in the eye of the storm, reader. To preserve and protect the best, we must ready ourselves to face the worst.

Trump trumps love

Call it Brexit 2, call it the triumph of the mob, call it an American tragedy. What we label this stunning defeat of rational governance doesn’t matter, won’t make us feel any better, will not soften the hard truth we learned last night: Exactly one half of the voters in this country have taken it away from the other half.

How did it happen? That’s for another essay, or five, and I may choose not to write it/them. The crushing fact is that I, along with all other self-styled “experts” and “political scientists” relied on polls to tell us what the people were thinking and feeling, and the polls were disastrously off. The polls did not include the views, the hatreds, the frustrations, the despair of millions of angry White working class and rural people. These folks, especially the ones in the Battleground states, saw the pollsters as part of the established governing and economic order, and refused to play the polling game. They hid in the weeds of our broken economy, and waited. They waited for November 8th, and the chance to grab a pitchfork and stick it the heart of the democracy that had failed them for thirty years and more.

They received an unexpected assist by FBI Director James Comey, when, on October 29th, he announced the discovery of 650,000 emails, some of which might be related to Hillary Clinton. It must have seemed to Trumps’ bumbling campaign team at that moment that there was a God, and that He was White. Overnight, the “discovery” energized Trump supporters, the ones who’d been polled, and the ones who hadn’t. “They’re gonna nail her!” went the internet, Sure, nine days later, Comey dropped the new “investigation”, clearing Clinton of the renewed suspicion. But the damage was done.

Trusting the polls, I made a model that at one point suggested a potential tsunami of votes for Clinton. I was wrong: the polls we were all looking at didn’t include about 5% of the country’s likely voters, all those hidden Trump supporters. The wave came, alright, but we were the ones who were drowned. Mea culpa.

Now, we have a con man about to bring his clownish confederates into the White House. May the native wisdom and courage of the better half of the country protect us, for it’s a certainty God won’t — he is White, and wants to resurrect a past when He was worshiped by ignorant masses.

 

The waiting begins — our final report before Tuesday evening

Let’s call it “Comey’s Betrayal”.

When FBI Director Comey announced yesterday that the 650,000 emails found on the Weiner man’s laptop were mostly duplicates, or completely unrelated to Hillary Clinton, he closed one chapter of the seemingly endless investigation into the Clinton server, and opened a new, far darker one on the FBI, and Comey himself. We shall see after the election if anyone or the Bureau is ever prosecuted for this massive violation of the Hatch Act. But for now, the damage has been done:

  • The renewed suspicions and doubts as to Clinton’s veracity have seriously undermined her potential national winning margin
  • The reduced margins in several key states may mean that the Democrats fail to retake conrol of the Senate
  • It’s highly likely that the Democrats will be unable to flip the required 30 House seats needed to take control, and end the last six years of complete gridlock due to ultra-conservative Republican obstructionism.

Our new late-decision model, which focuses on the Battleground states, was impacted directly, as the polls in those states tightened day by day since Friday, October 28th. As a result, our final projection for Clinton’s winning margin nationally is just above 10%, well into “wave” territory, but well short of the tsunami we had expected just two weeks ago.

In spite of Comey’s illegal action, we can still predict that Clinton will win a convincing Electoral College victory. We now project her total to be 355 EVs. (See our latest Electoral Vote map at Truthteller’s Final Projection.

It’s going to be a great win for the nation’s first female President and Commander-in-Chief, and a crushing defeat for the odious Trump, easily the worst Presidential candidate in our history. It’s going to be especially sweet to see President Obama’s legacy and hope preserved for another term, and a Supreme Court pointed at last toward a progressive future rather than pining for a reactionary past.

When the dust settles, we can say more about the prospects for the Clinton Presidency. But we can predict already that she will be hounded by the Republican-controlled House and blocked at every turn in her efforts to deliver on her agenda goals. We can say as well that a major Democrat/Progressive campaign to keep her fragile Senate majority and win a majority in the House in 2018 will need to begin immediately.

No rest for the weary, in other words. But some satisfaction for us nonetheless, as we see the gnashing of teeth and wailing and whining of a cowardly, demoralized, humiliated, ideologically defeated Republican Party.

Head down, defying the (bull)s**t-storm, moving forward

The new stash of emails being “reviewed” by the FBI will have a palpable affect on the outcome of the election. It was unconscionable that FBI Director Comey chose to announce the existence of these previously unknown emails just eleven days before Election Day, as even President Obama has now said.

What damage has the final October Surprise done?

  • It has apparently energized the Trump voters in a major way, but remains unclear how many of these irregular voters will actually come out to vote next Tuesday
  • The possibility that the Clinton case might be re-opened has seriously impeded the gradual drift of undecided or Libertarian Republican-leaning late-deciding voters toward Clinton as reflected in our new tracking model, while sending a higher proportion toward Trump
  • It has caused the Trump campaign to send the Donald on a wild goose chase for Electoral Votes to New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Michigan, even though he stands no chance of willing any of those states
  • It has raised the noise level of national media to new levels of lightweight commentary and melodrama, leading to an even less-informed electorate in the days when they need real information more than ever.
Time for a little perspective

Yes, the TV news channels are hopping up and down about the emails and so-called “tracking polls”, because their bosses want to persuade you that this contest is still a “horse race”, and no one knows who’ll win. Poppycock. The truth is that this was never a horse race, not from the moment Trump was nominated. Clinton had an average lead in the polls of 5% from June all the way through this week. When the lesser-quality or openly biased polls are eliminated, her lead has been around nine percent. Consistently. Trump never had a serious chance, and that was true even before he set out to self-demolish his candidacy after the Democratic convention.

The media has played all of us for fools, in order to attract viewers and readers and advertising dollars.

Clinton’s Electoral College win is still very much assured. Dr. Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium puts her odds at greater than 99%.

We also learned late Tuesday evening from a survey of Florida voters who had already voted that 28% of the registered Republicans had voted for Clinton. Out of disgust for Trump, they had split their ticket, in other words. This result, by a very well reputed polling organization, sent a shock wave through those of us nerds who spend all our time these days trying to analyze polls and other election trivia. If, and it’s a large if, this behavior is replicated among Republicans nation-wide, well, then, Trump is already toast.

Another finding from this early-exit poll in Florida is that Clinton’s winning margin over Trump was 53% to 38%–spot-on with our new model’s latest predictions for November 8th. Encouraging, for sure, but we need to hold off on the shouting, since we cannot now say if the new email scare will throw off our math come Election Day.

On the downside, many Clinton supporters are worrying that the early voting by African American young people is down, as compared to 2012. This was expected, since President Obama is not on the ballot. Mind, too, that a big factor has been the attempts by the state administration (again) in North Carolina and Ohio to suppress the early vote in Black communities. We’re confident Black turnout will be relatively high, and we remind readers that Hispanic-Americans are voting in record-smashing numbers, all across the country. Women are also coming out to register and vote this year, thanks to the Great Orange Misogynist.

We can also say that the magnificent GOTV machine built by President Obama and augmented by Clinton is in high gear in all the Battleground states. Trump has no comparable ground game, and is clearly unaware that only a massive army on the ground would be able to get his newly-registered voters out to the polls. This failure will probably cost him several points on Election Day nationally, as well as in the few swing states he must win to prevail.

Conclusions heading into the final weekend

The tightening of the race won’t affect the final outcome of the Presidential contest; Clinton will win with a commanding victory, since she still has a robust lead in more than enough states to secure the presidency. But her winning margin in several key states will be reduced. This in turn will probably lessen Democratic chances of carrying Senate races in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina. The much-discussed possible Democratic takeaway in Missouri might also be impacted. Clinton needs three of these seats to retake control of the Senate.

The other serious negative after Director Comey’s Friday night ambush will be in down-ballot races, where a smaller national winning margin can be expected to translate into less House seat flips than we had projected just a few weeks ago. It’s now likely that Clinton will come up at least a dozen seats short of the 30 she’d need to re-take the House and send Ryan and his reactionary agenda packing.

We can’t make a solid estimate of Clinton’s final national winning margin, thanks to the email discovery and all the other variables in this whack-o election year, But we can project that it’s still likely to be above ten percent. That will put her win solidly in landslide territory, while keeping the final Senate and House results up in the air.

Netting it out, we won’t know until Election Day

  • How many Republican women will decide in the voting booth to split their ballot and vote for Clinton
  • How many of the late-deciding third party supporters will finally go for Clinton, or Trump
  • How many of Trump’s supporters will actually turn out
  • How many of the last few undecided voters will show up, and which way they’ll split
  • How successful Clinton’s ground game.has been in motivating the various cohorts of her new coalition.

We’ll continue running our much-battered new tracking model and make our final estimate Sunday evening.

A week to go, but no end in sight

The good news is that the election will be over in just nine days.

The bad news is that between today and Tuesday, November 8th, most of us may suffocate from the endless stupidities being shouted by Trump and his surrogates, and repeated by the dumbed-down media. Trump is after voters, and the media is after audience and the advertising dollars that come with viewers and readers. Many have told me over the decades that I’m going straight to Hell. I almost wish such a place existed, for it would be a great pleasure to see Kellyanne Conway and the other Trump surrogates along with various TV “journalists” on fire for real.

This election has been full of information, 99% of which is not informative. Those looking for the truth are pretty much on their own. Lost in the mind-numbing endless repetitive chatter, lies, misleading claims, bitter accusations, and Trump insults are these truths that are among the more important ones just now:

  • Clinton will win in a mudslide, I mean landslide, possibly earning 375 or more Electoral votes
  • She’ll “flip” a number of long-time Red states to Blue
  • She’ll re-take control of the Senate
  • She has a better than 50% chance in the judgment of your Truthteller to flip more than 30 House seats, and thus send denyin’ Ryan to the back of the class, along with his archenemies in the Freedom Caucus
  • The United States of America will have elected its first female President.

Not bad, fellow citizens; not bad at all.

Truthteller “Late decider prediction tool” update

We’ve continued daily tests of our new model, and it is still performing as we’d hoped. Meaning it’s quietly tracking the steady, unspectacular drift of the remaining third party and undecided supporters to Clinton and Trump. As hypothesized back in September before the first debate, the great majority of these late deciders are indeed falling to Clinton.

Readers will recall we’re testing the new tool using the main twelve Battleground state daily poll averaged results. These are the most hotly contested states, the ones that will decide the election. As of last night, October 29th, since September 26th in these key states:

  • Johnson and his Libertarians have lost 31% of their supporters
  • The Green Party have lost 25% of theirs
  • Almost 19% of the undecided voters have made up their minds
  • Of these, 27% have settled on Trump, but 73% have decided on Clinton.

Just to remind you, the primary purpose of the new tool is to predict the final national winning margin for the victorious candidate. This percentage is the key predictor in guessing how many House seats, if any, might flip to Democrat occupants. More on this below, but for now we can say that the tool predicts that Clinton will win with at least a 15% margin over Trump. To be blunt, this projection is regarded by most experts as wishful, possibly insane, thinking.

The main analytical problem in 2016

As noted here and in many other election analysis sites, the undecided likely voters are taking their time to make up their minds. Similarly, the greater number of third partiers than has been the case in prior elections are hanging on to their candidates right down to the wire. We cannot really blame these late deciders, given the tendency in this ugly contest for a new revelation to appear every ten days or so. These last roughly fifteen percent of the likely voters have made life miserable for the polling organizations. Many of their most revered “rules” and past voter behavior patterns simply don’t apply this year, with its two intensely disliked main candidates, and its two third parties.

Seeing this relatively huge pool of late-deciders on the horizon is the reason we invented a special-purpose, applies-to-2016-only predictive model in September. It’s experimental, and hard to test, since there are no fat files full of past data to use, simply because this type of election has never occurred before.

What we expect to see

With eight more testing days to go, we may find a flaw in the math, but based on the trial so far, we’re confident that the model will come reasonably close to predicting Clinton’s final victory margin. With each passing day, the shift of the majority of late deciders to Clinton has been rock-steady.

Then came a stunning confirmation of our tentative projection from a quality polling service. Over nineteen million voters have already voted, so Reuters/IPSOS finally has enough of a pool to build a sample of these early deciders. Yesterday they announced that Clinton’s reported winning margin among these folks was, indeed, 15%! We cannot say for certain if that margin will hold up through November 8th, but if it should be close to that, then we’ll feel our effort was vindicated.

Much more importantly, a huge winning margin of twelve percent or more will give the Dems a good chance of adding 30 or more House seats to their present total, and taking control of the Congress.

We’ll publish our final projection next weekend, before Election Day.

The House divided — our updated “Late Decider” Battleground Tool trend

Just two weeks to go! Soon we’ll all be able to step back and survey the damage done to our democracy by the worst Presidential election campaign in living memory.

We can take comfort in the very high probability that Trump will face a crushing defeat on Election Day. We can also breathe a collective sigh of relief that Clinton will hold the vacated Harry Reid Senate seat in Nevada, plus take at least five away from the Republicans, for a net 51 to 49 Senate tally. My forecast says she will get at least one more, and could even get two more, depending on the results in Florida, Missouri, and North Carolina.

Hopefully, all our readers have already voted, as have we. But we cannot just sit back and wait for the results in two weeks. The one remaining issue of how many Congressional seats Clinton can flip on November 8th is a long way from being settled. As the frightened comments by seasoned Republican political operatives and pollsters testify, the House is very much in play.

Here’s what we think we know.

If Clinton’s winning national margin is, say 7%, most experienced observers feel she’ll take a net 10-12 House seats away from Paul Ryan. The prevailing estimating rule of thumb, such as it is, advises that for each additional percentage point she achieves, she can expect an additional four to six seats to flip.

The consensus estimate going into these final two weeks is that Clinton will win by about ten points, nationally, or three points above her current seven in the most-quoted polling averages. If we assume just four seats gained per point, the three additional margin points should yield another twelve seats, bringing her flip total to, say, 22 to 24 seats. We cannot guarantee this number, but we can say it’s not outside the bounds of reasonable expectations, based on the (still poor) understanding we have of the winning mechanics in Gerrymandered House seats.

A wave by any other name is… holy s**t!

Now it gets really interesting. If Clinton’s wave builds into a true electoral tsunami, what are the odds she’ll add another ten or more seats to her flip score?

About a month back, we concluded the best way to estimate this possibility is to model the late-decision behavior among five distinct voter sub-populations:

  • Johnson supporters — (Libertarian leaning) voters
  • Stein, or Green party supporters
  • Polled undecided voters who will decide to go and vote at the last minute
  • Polled undecided voters who will remain so, and stay home on Election Day
  • Polled Trump supporters who, betrayed by their party, will decide in the end not to vote.

We further hypothesized that in this particular year, with its two intensely disliked major party candidates, the third group, the undecided voters who finally come out to vote, will not split evenly between Trump and Clinton. Rather, we’re predicting the majority of such voters will opt for Clinton. (See older posts for my simple reasoning to support this radical idea.)

We decided to focus our analysis on the twelve key Battleground states, using only recent state poll results. The twelve states are Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. (We are also modeling Missouri, Texas, and Georgia out of curiosity, but their results are not included in our prediction numbers.) Our thinking was that tracking the day-to-day polling in the hotly contested swing states would clearly reveal evidence for our splitting theory, if any such proof comes to light.

We built such a tool and had it ready to test by September 26th, the day of the first debate.

Our first challenge was to track day-today-changes in the five reported voter categories:

  • Clinton supporters
  • Trump supporters
  • Johnson supporters
  • Stein supporters
  • Undecided likely voters

Our second challenge would be to predict the ultimate percentage split among these five groups into the more refined subgroups listed earlier. The key assumptions here are that Clinton supporters would do as they had told the pollsters they would, but that while the majority of Trump’s supporters would come out to vote for him, a proportion of them would not, after being told by Trump himself so often that their votes would not matter in this “rigged” election. Or, as we speculated here months ago, many Trump-supporting women would decide at the last moment not to cast their vote for him out of sheer disgust.

Results to date

We’re still tweaking the second part of our new baby, but the first part, the tracking of the decision pattern among the Johnson/Stein sujpporters and undecideds, is humming along nicely.

To begin, we isolated the percentage of 3rd party and undecided voters in all 12 Battleground states. Together, they made up 18.67% of all the polled likely voters (in these twelve specific states, not in the country as a whole). Since September 26, the “movement” among the Battleground voting groups tested by the tool has been as follows:

  • A total of 6.8% of late-deciders so far have settled on Clinton
  • But only 1.5% have moved into the Trump column
  • Johnson has lost over 26% of his support
  • While Stein has lost 10.7% of hers
  • Strikingly, just 9% of the 3rd partiers and undecideds have decided as of today.

A stunner, readers, truly! In these past three weeks, just 17% of the late-deciders so far have chosen Trump, while 83% have moved to Clinton.

Our intuitive vote splitting theory is thus validated. That’s reassuring. But the fact that nine out of ten late-deciders still have yet to make up their minds is unsettling, at least for someone trying to predict Clinton and Trump’s final share of the national vote.

What it means for November 8th

Undaunted by the large remaining number of late-deciders, which nationally come to about 8% of voters still supporting the 3rd parties and 5% still undecided, we can now make an initial estimate of Clinton’s likely final winning margin. First, we think that only 3 of the third partier 8 percent will stick with their candidates through November 8th. We’ll also hazard that 2 of the 5 percent currently undecideds will “decide” not to vote, and stay home. If we’re close to being right, that should leave a total of 8 of the 13 percent late deciders making a choice for either Clinton or Trump.

Based on our model results to date, we suggest that at least 75% of these voters, equal to 6 of the 8 late decider percent, will be voting for Clinton. This would add 6 national points to Clinton’s current 48, for a final national share of 54%. Trump would pick up the remaining 2 points, bringing his final total share from today’s 39% to 41%.

A 13% winning margin for Clinton on November 8th, in other words. Mega wave!

But wait, there’s less…

There’s going to be more bad news for Trump. We can be certain that some percentage of his current supporters are going to decide in the end to stay home, or go to the polls to support the down-ticket Republicans, but not vote for Trump.

But no one has a clue right now what proportion of the Republican voters will choose this course. We happen to think the number will be small, on the order of perhaps one in twenty of his present polled supporters. That would be about 2 points deducted from the 41 points we estimated for him above. Not a very big deal, it may seem; a paltry five percent.

But these opt-out Trumpsters would be lowering his final national vote share to 39% again — and give Clinton, with her 54 point final total, an estimated final margin of 15%! (Our experimental tool actually predicts a margin of above 16% at the moment, since the split-out of late-deciders we used in the example above was conservative.)

If, and, folks, this is a very large-sized if, Clinton earned four seat flips for each margin percentage point above seven, at 15% we would be talking of a total House take-away total of 40 seats. Or, deep breath everyone, more.

Hold on to your life-preservers, any readers out there who are supporting the Donald — surf’s up!

Polling watcher inside tip — and a special welcome to all our new readers!

Here’s an insider tip for those worrying that the new ABC/WaPo polling lead of 12% for Clinton might be an outlier result, erring on the upside. Readers need to be aware that the oft-quoted national lead for Clinton of “6 or 7%” used by the TV lightweights is low. They mostly just quote the Real Clear Politics average, which is a seriously flawed number. Some use the Huffpost Pollster general polls average instead, which currently shows a 7.3% lead.

But for much improved accuracy, we use a customized version of the Huffpost average. Here’s the link:
Huffpost average — corrected TruthTeller version 2016/10/24. Technical note — we’ve used only the “live phone” polls collected by Huffpost Pollster. These are the most reliable polls.

When you open the above link (in a new tab), you’ll see that Clinton is probably leading Trump nationally by almost eleven points, not six or seven. This in turn means that the ABC/WaPo lead of 12 points is not so different. It’s a point higher because the poll was taken entirely after the 3rd debate, while the (corrected) Huffpost average of 11 points includes hundreds of polls results going back to August 1st.

Looking ahead two weeks, we expect Clinton’s final lead going into Election Day eve to climb further, probably topping out between 13.5 and 14%. Hang on to your spreadsheets, folks; we’re headed for a wave of historic proportions!

Welcome to all you new TruthTeller readers

Thank you for signing up! The TruthTeller blog was not scheduled to be launched until next year, when it would deal primarily with the issues of climate change and global warming mitigation, my primary research and analytical interest area. But seeing the potential disaster of a Trump-led Republican victory in this election cycle, I decided to start TruthTeller this year, hoping to add my quantitative analysis talents, such as they are, to the dialog.

I hope I’ve been able to make some of the complexities of this uniquely hard-to-predict race a little clearer. Even more, I hope you all will stay with us after November 8th. We’ll be commenting on the new administration, especially as part of our focus on mobilizing people and resources to deal with the looming climate disaster. We’ll also continue to track the first stages in the 2018 Congressional contest, when the Clinton team will be challenged to hang on to their 2016 winnings.