|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:
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:
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.
Here’s our current projected map and EV forecast. At 375 EVs, we’re a bit above the consensus, due to our positive view in Georgia and Iowa. Enjoy!
As far as the new swing-voter model test is concerned, we’ve now reached a major milestone. We had hypothesized that in this weird election year, the majority of late-deciders would go for Clinton. Through three weeks of testing since the first Presidential debate, that is happening to a degree well beyond my expectations.
Using the daily pollling averages of the twelve key Battleground states, we have determined that in these specific states
- Johnson has lost 22% of his support
- The Green Party has lost (so far) only 4% of their support
- 13% (so far) of the undecided voters have made up their minds.
Drumroll, please: all of these losses have gone to Clinton. Trump is at exactly the support level he enjoyed on September 26.
We’ll continue tracking the changes in the 3rd party/undecideds cohorts every day. But at this point, we are sufficiently confident in our tracking math to say that Clinton will win every Battleground state on November 8th, most by a substantial margin.
We can also say with confidence that this will be a so-called wave election, allowing the Democrats to make aggressive gains in the Senate and House. But due to the difficulty in predicting the splits in the expected surge of last-day votes, we won’t know how many House seats Clinton’s coattails can flip until November 9th.
I feel compelled to add a footnote. It’s clear from our measurements that Jill Stein’s Green Party could hurt Clinton’s House push if the party members fail to vote for the Democratic House candidate in their district. Vote Green if you want to send a message, but be sure to vote for the folks who can help Clinton implement your agenda.
The polls taken just after Clinton made her derisive “deplorables” comments are in, and they show a net two to four point reduction in her national lead over Trump. I’m aware that the media bobble-heads and many commentators insist that the “tightening” is mostly due to her team’s clumsy handling of her recent health problems; they’re kidding themselves. Most people in this often mindless country, like most people in every other country, have some sort of Underdog Gene, which causes them to immediately sympathize with little people who are disdained by the powerful. Clinton is now paying the price of invoking this powerful irrational impulse on the part of millions. Worse, unlike the health silliness, the negative effects of her words will not go away.
Let me be clear: I’m not judging the truth or overreach of her characterization of the Deplorables. I don’t care, since the greater truth is that truth has little to do with determining the winner of an election. The question before us is not whether she was justified in insulting (from their point of view) about 25 million lower-middle class white Americans, but how she can cope with the aftermath.
If that’s even possible.
Like the rest of her hard-core supporters, I’m struggling to think how she might recover her solid lead going into the debates. Failing that, what are the odds of Trump saying or doing something to cut his own polling numbers?
I’ll make my suggestions in a day or so. In the interim, I’ve been forced to amend my Battleground forecast from the last update one month ago.
Estimating the worst case for Clinton
Since so many Clinton supporters are panicking at the moment, I’ll show the worst case Electoral College scenario, and my own expected worst-case result for Clinton if I had to “call” the November vote today.
Notice that I think Clinton will win 272 EVs minimum, including New Hampshire. Even if Trump wins all other swing states excepting Virginia and Pennsylvania (which polling indicates are probably safe for Clinton), she still reaches 272 EVs. Yes, the race in New Hampshire is tight, and in the worst case scenario she could well lose here. But it’s a safe bet that she will win at least one of the other nine Battlegrounds, and any one will put her over 269 EVs.
To repeat, I am not predicting the final EV tally will be this close. But the earlier forecasts of mine are not likely either, barring some Trump blow-up in the debates, or an improbable string of positive Clinton news that would let her rebuild her polling lead in the key Battleground states. For example, learning Colin Powell’s true, blunt appraisal of Trump will make many Republicans on the fence drop to the Clinton side, or, if not, at least keep them there, their nose safely up in the air when they finally decide to stay home or vote Libertarian. Similarly, Trump’s failure to reveal his tax returns will surely help Clinton among the white voters she is having trouble persuading. Possibly the same could be said of the recently reported Trump financial scams and secret deals, but with just seven weeks to go, that would require aggressive follow-up by the media, and we’re probably unwise to assume they’ll do their job.
But she, and we who support her, cannot count on luck. It’s clear that this election is the least predictable one in at least five decades, not just due to Trump, but to the potentially major variable that more damaging emails will be leaked between now and early November. Or that Clinton may fail to go after Trump aggressively in the debate, calling him out as an adolescent bully and wholesale liar. The chances are good, and scary, that she’ll try and play the debates safe. Trying to protect a lead that can evaporate with a single leaked email would be ill-advised. Correct that: it would be stupid, and a betrayal of the millions who want her in the White House, warts and all.
Two additional well-intended, potentially disastrous complications
This election is a forecaster’s nightmare thanks to the two third party candidates. As of now, they’re providing undecided voters with a sanctimonious place to hide from the great challenge to our country’s future posed by the Trump candidacy.
Your Truthteller happens to be a specialist in global warming mitigation, but is not supporting Stein. She has a very real possibility of “Naderizing” Clinton. Even if Clinton wins the Electoral Vote contest, Stein will probably cut the Democratic popular vote total by two or three points. This will result IMO in the failure to flip at least one Senate seat to the Dems, and likely limit the success of the House take-back effort. Those who vote green to “send a message” or simply feel superior will be setting back the very cause many thousands of us have spent decades working for.
For those angry progressives voting for the Libertarian ticket, they need to think very hard about the kind of Supreme Court resulting from a Trump victory. If he is elected, we can forget any hope for a very long time of reversing Citizens United, securing women’s rights and income equality, reforming the criminal justice system, and a dozen other crucial legislative goals. I am a radical progressive, but I can recognize the disaster facing the millions of Americans who make up the 99% if Trump wins.
The time for moving the progressive cause forward faster is after we have stopped the Republicans and their blowhard buffoon from dragging the nation back fifty years into the past.