Friday, October 21, 2016

2016 Presidential Polls 10/21/16

Currently the state polls give Hillary Clinton a 6.7 point win. 538 has Clinton with a 6.5 point win. The RCP average is 6.0. Some people have focused on polls that have Clinton up double digits but that doesn't appear to be the most likely outcome right now. Clinton is up from 5.4 points in the state polls a week ago and was up only by 2.5 at the beginning of the month. The race is definitely moving towards her, so it's not hard to see an 8-9 point Clinton win. That'd be huge in the current partisan environment, although not the big historically.

It wouldn't be surprising if Trump shaved a few points off a Clinton win, but the race hasn't moved toward him since the beginning of the month. The debates didn't help Trump and Wikileaks revelations haven't lessened Clinton's lead. I don't know what would have to happen for the race to move toward Trump.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

California VBM First Returns

California is voting by mail more and more. In 2014, 60% of the electorate returned vote by mail ballots before or on election. As the linked spreadsheet shows, in the past the party breakdown of VBM returns has correlated well to the final result. In CA-7 in the 2014 general election, the Democratic/Republican VBM return was roughly even and the Democrat won by 1%. In the 2016 primary returns were D+7 and the result was an 8% Democratic win.

There are a few districts that defy the close correlation but they defy it consistently. The Central Valley districts, CA-10, 16, and 21, will have a more Republican result than the spread of VBM returns while CA-36 and 52 tend to have a more Democratic result than VBM returns.

Here is where PDI is keeping track of ballot returns. Returns have been very strongly Democratic, even more than the primary. That bodes poorly for Republicans but we should keep in mind that it's very early and a small percentage of ballots have been returned. Some counties have barely reported any being returned. California ballots are counted by counties and they each have their own pace. I'm not going to do a deep analysis at this point because so few ballots are in. But Democrats should be encouraged.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Donald Trump's Floor

We're hearing a lot about Donald Trump collapsing in the polls. If you look at the polls Trump doesn't collapsed. On September 18 Trump was down 41.0-40.3 in the RCP average. He’s down 45.8-39.0 now. He’s lost all of 1.3 points from when the race was closest, but Clinton has picked up 4.8 points. While the sex allegations against Trump have hurt him it seems to have drawn Clinton more Johnson, Stein, and undecided voters than Trump voters by a fairly wide margin.

Earlier this year the opinion was floated that Trump was so awful that he'd lose by 20% or even more. It appears that a major party candidate has a floor no matter how bad a candidate he or she is. Even when the news about him is awful, such that he should be abandoned by more people. In 2012 Republicans got 54.7% of the Missouri House congressional vote, but Senate candidate Todd Aiken got only 39.0%. People are willing to be less partisan for the Senate than they are for the President. Trump isn't going to fall 15.7% below the Republican congressional vote. It won't even be close to that.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Trump v. Clinton, State and National polls 10/14

Hillary Clinton has gained ground in the last two weeks. She was up 3.1% in the national polls then and is now up 5.9%. That's a healthy win, more than the 3.8% Barack Obama won by in 2012, but not as big as the 7.0% he won by in 2008. It is not the landslide that many predicted or thought was happening after last week's Access Hollywood Trump tape. The state polls show a Clinton 5.4% lead. That's less but we haven't had New York or California polls come out this week. If they moved toward Clinton her lead would be much closer to 5.9%. A new Texas poll yesterday moved the lead from 5.3% to 5.4%. Here is the spreadsheet.

My spreadsheet can be heavily influenced by states that are rarely polled. In those cases I use Internet only polls whose accuracy I question. So Oklahoma moving 9.5% towards Clinton should be taken with a grain of salt. The most heavily polled states don't show a 1.5-2.0% move toward Clinton. Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, and Florida show smaller moves or moves toward Trump. Clinton only gains 2.0%+ in Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona.

The way the Presidential polls look now the results will be just slightly more Democratic than 2012. That year Democrats didn't match Obama's 3.8% win in the House. They won by only 1.2%. If 2016 is similar Democratic gains in the House should be no more than 10-12 seats. Because there are so many seats in the House, a few candidates who run especially good campaigns doesn't influence the net gains and losses very much. The Senate, however, is different because the number of competitive races is small. In 2012, good Democratic candidates resulted in Democratic gains overall, despite an unfavorable map. Either party could do well this time, even with the House not moving much.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Democratic Wave?

Poll after poll showed that all those people warning that Republicans would stay home due to Trump were wrong. Loyal Republicans voters will vote, maybe not for Trump. Any candidate who can’t turn their voters doesn’t deserve re-election anyway.

The one thing that could sink the GOP was turning off Trump voters. Some of them weren’t long time supporters of the Republican party and others express a lot of animosity toward Republican office holders. Unlike the loyal Republican voter these people are largely non-ideological, except on immigration, or even lean left. Trump isn’t running on small government. He’s running on big government for his supporters.

Republicans thought they were being smart turning on Trump over the weekend. It now appears to be a huge blunder. Sure, repudiating Trump was the moral thing to do, but it looks like it wasn’t the smart thing to do electorally.

If Trump doesn’t tell his supporters to vote Republican down ticket we could be seeing the Democratic wave I've repeatedly said couldn't happen. But then did anyone see the potential for voters to abandon Republicans because they didn't support Trump enough?

A Lot of Crazy

I try to add something that isn't being added elsewhere and there isn't a whole lot of that. It's a crazy election between an unconventional candidate who people really dislike and a conventional candidate people dislike a bit less. Each has bombshells come out that would sink other candidates. I'm only linking to the latest ones.

The first poll post Trump video has Hillary Clinton with an 11 point lead. A lot of people on Twitter are taking the poll to confirm what they believe. Democrats are certain this proves Clinton will win big. Anti-Trump Republicans are certain this confirms their predictions of Trump losing big. I take it with a grain of salt. It's only one poll, taken exclusively the two days after the video came out, and from a pollster that's skewed Clinton. Unless Trump is bombarded with video after video this bump might go the way of Clinton's convention bump. The revelations about Clinton's Wall Street speeches was ignored due to the Trump video, but the next bombshell about her might not happen on a day with a Trump video.

In the RCP average Trump has been above 39% since September 3. When the margin was smallest Trump was at 40.3. Now Trump is at 39.7. I think Trump has a floor of his supporters and people who’ll vote for him because they hate Hillary. Clinton has jumped from 41.0 to 44.8. The third party candidates have gone from 11.7 to 9.0. The undecided has gone from 7.0% to 6.5%. Clinton appears to be drawing from people who dislike both Trump and herself but have decided that they need to vote for one of the two major candidates. I think that’s where her votes will come from. Conceivably she could win 59%-39% if people abandon the 3rd party candidates, but I don’t think she can get above 52-53%. I’d say her max might be 53%-41%. That's the ceiling. Of course she only needs to win by one vote.

The NBC/WSJ poll also had Democrats with a 7 point lead in the generic congressional ballot. That's pretty big and would be a problem for Republicans if it holds up. I'm skeptical how much Republicans' fortunes are tied to Trump. This CBS/YouGov poll had Clinton leading by 8% in Pennsylvania but Republican Pat Toomey in a tie. I don't think the environment is good for Republicans but I'm not sure how much Trump can make it worse.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

President Obama is Wrong about Sarah Palin

“I see a straight line from the announcement of Sarah Palin as the vice-presidential nominee to what we see today in Donald Trump, the emergence of the Freedom Caucus, the tea party, and the shift in the center of gravity for the Republican Party,”

In an effort to spin his Presidency, President Obama gave a very friendly interview with the liberal New York Magazine. Now there are a lot of things wrong with President Obama's characterization of Republicans in this period. I know this because I lived through it but also because I was in contact with a number of Republican congressmen at the time.

I'll leave that rebuttal to others who are even more knowledgable than I and focus on President Obama's statement about Sarah Palin. As many of you know, I've spent a considerable amount of time making a documentary about the Tea Party and the 2010 election. It was originally called "Where's The Party," hence the name of this blog, but is now "From The Ground Up." I had hoped to finish the film long before now, but circumstances prevented that. The documentary has been made independently and that is difficult to do these days. It is close to completion and will be out there at some point in the next year.

For the documentary I've spoken with Tea Party founders, Tea Party members involved in important elections, Tea Party organizations, and Tea Party candidates who both won and lost. While I wouldn't claim to know as much about individual events as the people who were there, my research has given me a complete view of what happened in the 2009-2010 perspective. No one who had any involvement with the Tea Party ever brought up Sarah Palin's name in an interview. I just did a computer search of all my interview transcripts for Palin and found that two people did use her name, but only after I asked a question with "Sarah Palin" in it.

Palin may have spoken at a Tea Party event but she wasn't at any of the key ones, including the February 27 or April 15 Tea Parties or the 9-12 March. She might have campaigned for candidates but she didn't campaign in the NY-23 special election or the pivotal Massachusetts Senate election. None of the candidates mentioned having her at a rally. I acknowledge Palin had a decent amount of popularity during this period and I'm sure that some people in the Tea Party liked her, but everything that happened would've happened whether she was nominated or not. There's a lot of people on the line of the beginning of the Tea Party to Trump, including President Obama himself, but Sarah Palin isn't among them.

As I've said before, there are certain elements of what the Tea Party supported in the Trump coalition and I'm sure some Tea Party members support him for outside status. If we're drawing a straight line of the Tea Party, it should end with Ted Cruz's 2016 campaign. Cruz was representative of much of what the Tea Party stood for.