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.

 

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.

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.

With just three weeks to go…

…The Clinton Coalition is on the verge of swamping the Republicans in a wave not seen since Lyndon Johnson crushed them in 1964. Many pundits are finally awakening to this possibility; we intimated as much months ago in our first Battleground map.

Could something suddenly throw up a roadblock to the looming progressive victory? Well, sure; in an era of Wikileaks and sensationalistic revelations it would be daft to assume that the contest is over before it’s truly over: we’ve only to remember how Trump threw himself under his own fancy bus just ten days ago.

But time is short, and it’s unlikely in our judgment Clinton’s juggernaut can be slowed, much lest stopped. The notion that some massive mob of mystery Trump supporters will emerge from their shadows of shame, vote for him, and pull off a surprise win is, sorry, absurd.

The TruthTeller swing vote predictor tool

We’re still testing the new model with each day’s results, but the trend is clear: third party and undecided voters are making up their minds for Clinton, not Trump.

Long-demonstrated political experience says that most third party and undecided voters will opt to support one or the other of the two major party candidates as the contest nears decision day. Conventional wisdom has it that these last-minute deciders will tend to split roughly fifty-fifty.

Seeing the very substantial number of third party and undecideds this year, we wondered if that might foretell a different split. Our theory was, loosely, that the late-deciding voters would disproportionately decide for Clinton. Our reasoning was simple:

  • Most Libertarian leaners had come to that party to avoid Trump, not because they weren’t sure if they should oppose him, and he’s done nothing to make them change their mind
  • The Green party supporters are the hard-core activists for climate change mitigation; there’s no way many of them would ever be Trump supporters
  • The undecided voters were unhappy with both major party candidates, so, yes, they might split down the middle at the end, but given the odious nature of Trump, our gut said the majority would not trust him in the Oval Office, no matter how much they did not trust Clinton in general.

We therefore concluded that

  1. The majority of last-minute deciders would vote Democratic
  2. Many of the rest would stay home rather than support Trump

As announced to our readers, I proceeded to construct a last-minute swing vote model that could predict such a result in credible numbers.

The express objective? To test my hypothesis that in this specific and uniquely messy election, as the three categories of “swing” voters gradually opt for one or the other major parties, the disproportional majority of them will go for Clinton.

How it works

Unlike current models, ours contrasts a consolidation of polling in the twelve main Battleground states with the averaged consensus national poll. We know the results in the BG states will tend to be tighter, since that is where the contest is being waged most intensely. But the national trend is also important, since that correlates better with how each party will do in the Congressional races.

The model employs only recent state polls in the more or less “traditional” Battleground states, namely: Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, and Iowa, plus a twelfth I added last Spring, Arizona, after I realized the Latino vote was swelling there along with Colorado and Nevada. (Georgia, which I saw as another potential new swing state, has so far this cycle failed to develop sufficiently to make the Battleground cut, but should be there by 2020.)

Basically, our BG sub-model allocates 1200 percentage points — twelve states times 100 — across the five distinct voting categories:

  • Clinton supporters
  • Trump backers

plus what I define as the three categories of “swing” voters

  • Libertarians
  • Greens
  • Undecideds

We were ready to begin test runs on September 26th, the day of the first debate.

Complications — what else is new?

After a week or so of initial runs, we were gratified to see just the sort of trending our thought-model had suggested. In the two weeks between the first and second debates, we saw a steady increase in Clinton’s percentage of the vote across the BG states, excepting Iowa.

In the same period, we saw Trump’s share of the vote holding more or less steady. Meaning her gains had to be coming from the third parties and/or the undecideds. But the undecideds were also holding at the level of September 26th, so her gains were in fact coming from the two third party candidates. These voters were NOT going to Trump, just as our hypothesis had predicted. Satisfactory, dear Watson.

Then, on Friday October 7th, we all saw the Access Hollywood tape. Almost overnight the numbers began to roil, mainly due to millions of women, and men too, rejecting Trump’s boorish behavior, along with his insincere apology for it. In the week since, the polling has been all over the NBC Studios lot, as women come forth to accuse Trump of being a sexist liar and molester.

How a trend becomes a wave

Just before the 2nd debate, we were ready to share the preliminary results of our testing with you readers. The results at that point projected a strong Dem victory in every one of the twelve key Battleground states, even including Iowa. More importantly, the new tool forecasted a national win for Clinton of 12.2 points over Trump.

This margin is terribly important, since anything above 6 or 7 points nationally can spell a major win in the Senate and House of Representatives contests. In 2008, for example, the Obama team flipped 21 House seats after beating McCain by 7 points. If our estimate of 12% turned out to be correct, the 30 seats needed to return the House to Democratic control would likely be within reach.

But then, two immature boors on a bus happens, and the polling numbers go bananas.

They’re still unsettled, but our latest run, Saturday the 15th, suggests a winning Clinton margin above 14%. Gulp. We’ll keep running the tests, and hope that we see a final trend emerge about five days after the upcoming Wednesday third debate. That should let us make a prediction for the Democratic prospects in the House, with, still, nearly two weeks to go before voting day.

Watch this space!

Spoiler alert — it’s going to get even uglier

 

Swing vote predictive tool update

With two full weeks (14 days) under its belt, the new model is stabilizing nicely. It clearly shows the evolving, highly dramatic shift in voter preferences toward Clinton in the twelve Battleground states. I want to incorporate the next two days of state inputs before explaining it here, so please be patient! It should be worth the wait, since Wednesday’s and Thursday’s polls will tell us more fully the real cost to Trump from his tape and his terrible 2nd debate performance.

Stench warfare

Amidst the media and Republican howling over Pussygate and the ancient alleged sexual crimes of the Clintons, it’s easy to become depressed. Does anyone really care about the true issues in this contest?

We know the media don’t, since they’re making millions from the sales of TV ads in these final, hottest, most disgusting weeks before November 8th. And Trump and his minions have never seriously discussed any plans for the country’s future. Why would they start now, when, except for a plan to make the wealthiest 1% even wealthier, they basically have no plans?

In contrast, Hillary’s campaign team has a comprehensive set of policies and plans on her web site. It’s up to voters to go read them. Some will say that she should be spending her huge television budget on promoting her plans, instead of relentlessly attacking Trump’s character, or rather, lack of it. In their eyes, the Clinton tactics serve mainly to make her out to be as “dirty” a candidate as he is.

I respectfully disagree: Trump’s messaging, delivered via his billions of dollars worth of free media time, is like an all-out missile barrage. The Clinton team has had no choice since June but to mobilize an airwaves defense strategy more extensive than any we’ve ever seen since modern media was invented after WW2. Had they failed to react to his onslaught of lies and insults with such focus and determination, he might well have successfully made the transition from clown candidate to change candidate.

To her team’s credit, they’ve been able to use Trump’s own verbal garbage as the main ammunition in their counterattack. Instead of getting bogged down in the turgid details of his lies and tirades, they’ve simply let the ads quote the windbag’s foul wind baggage.

Americans have gotten it. Even before the disgusting revelations of last Friday and Trump’s loutish behavior since, 50% of voters were determined never to vote for him.

This percentage will only go up from now through October. But we’re not finished, yet. His candidacy is dying, but still has enough rancid breath to rail against the truth, and enough die-hard supporters to try and trash our democracy as they descend into the cesspit of demagogic history.

Keeping our eye on the (Supreme) prize

All the sound and fury must not divert us from the major fundamentals of the contest:

  1. We must elect Clinton to ensure a progressive Supreme Court — without this, we’ll see none of the critically-needed changes involving women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, marriage rights and campaign finance reform.
  2. We must take back the Senate to have any chance of implementing any part of the progressive agenda, beginning with aggressive action on mitigating climate change.
  3. We must take back the House to ensure that the full array of Clinton’s programs can be implemented.

The Election is not about electing Clinton, as wonderful a victory for women (and the rest of us) as that will be. The election is about defeating the Republican forces of legislative obstruction, and reversing the backward momentum forced upon us by the Tea Party and religious Conservatives.

Journalism strikes again

Thank you, New York Times

Once again, real journalism has come to the rescue of our messy, complex, obsolete voting system. This morning’s bombshell by the NY Times showing how Trump managed to avoid paying taxes on at least $916 million dollars in income may well move Trump’s refusal to show his tax returns from the back burner to its rightful position as the number two or three issue in this contest, just after the Supreme Court appointments threat, and Trump’s lack of emotional, intellectual, and civil fitness for the Oval Office.

Most Americans are reasonably tolerant, but when they learn that the Orange windbag has been living a life of extreme luxury and not paying a nickle for it for most of the past twenty years, they will realize we’ve been totally conned, and the repercussions for Trump’s fumbling candidacy will be devastating.

Mind, the hard-core Trump supporters, the roughly 15 million who have been in denial of his utter incompetence, callousness, and double-dealing past will overlook this, too. In fact, Giuliani and Christy have already labeled Trump’s ability to game the tax system sheer “genius”, since his tax-free billion dollar profit was completely legal, apparently.

But it’s not the legality or lack of it that will grate on Mr. and Ms. America — it’s the utter hypocrisy when Trump calls Washington rigged, after getting his, then proposes programs that will simply make the rigging even more to his and his cronies’ advantage.

Thanks to the diligence and professionalism of the New York Times, we now have a simple list of three compelling reasons not to vote for Trump, and, if one is a true patriot, to vote instead for Clinton:

  1. If elected, Trump will appoint Supreme Court Justices that would move our country backward instead of forward, in every aspect of our democracy such as women’s rights, civil rights, minority rights, voting rights, immigration, gun safety and regulation, and climate change mitigation.
  2. Trump is temperamentally, emotionally, and intellectually unfit to be President — he is mentally unstable, narcissistic, egoistic, and a pathological liar, with, it is now evident, a deep antipathy to strong women. He is his own best answer to the question “Whaddaya got to lose?!”
  3. Trump’s financial and business history show an utter contempt for anyone unfortunate enough to be holding something he wants — figuring out a way to convert nearly a billion dollars of losses he “earned” through bankruptcy proceedings to tax-free income is just the latest in a long list — those Republicans who insist we need a businessman in the White House need to find a real one, instead of a fraud who has not been endorsed by even one major CEO, or by even one Republican-backing major newspaper.

“October Surprises” redux

Here’s a comment I made on another blog yesterday, in a discussion about possible “October Surprises”. Since it concisely summarizes my “3PU” logic for Clinton’s win in November, I’m republishing it here for your consideration.

Not much point in us worrying about an October Surprise, so long as the Clinton team has made a list and pre-planned response strategies. I’m more interested in the November Surprise, when it turns out that the expected split of 3rd Party and undecideds is not 50/50, with half going to each candidate as in normal years.

We have fifteen percent 3rd partiers and undecided as of today. Count on as many as 4% hard-core 3rd party holdouts and stay-at-home refuseniks when all the votes are tallied.

The Surprise? From today through October and into the night of November 8th, expect to see from two thirds to 75% of the rest going to Clinton. What makes me so confident? Most of the present 3rd partiers went to them to avoid Trump or Clinton. Ditto the undecideds. Now they’re up against the threat of a thirty or forty year right-wing Supreme Court, and a twenty year backward march in civil, women’s, and minority rights. No way they’ll break 50/50 in the end.

Assuming 11% of the 15% turn out to vote, that means roughly 7 to 8 percent will be going to Clinton, added to her present 44 percent nationally, putting her well above 300EVs, and giving the Dems enough to seal the deal in at least six of the nine currently contested Senate seats.

Note that this doesn’t include the likely additional slippage in Trump’s totals through October, as he fails to connect with the real people in the town hall and viewers nationally in the second debate and — my guess — skips the third. Nor does it include his potential slippage as it sinks in to undecided and 3rd party voters that he’s not simply a racist misogynist, but a business fraud and tax law abuser.

Addendum

We see today in our TT tracking model that during this past week Trump’s support fell in direct proportion to the increase in Libertarian support. Disgusted Republicans going to Johnson, for the moment, I suggest. In the same week we see Clinton support increasing as Green and undecided support decline. We’ll be watching these trends closely of course, but as of today, the behavior of the 3PUs seems to be playing out as predicted.