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 theĀ 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.