2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, 2016 Republicans, Poll Watch, Uncategorized

Poll Watch: Is Trump Catching Up?

July 6, 2016

Yes. Donald Trump is either catching up or rebounding from bottoming out. As of the time of this writing, he’s improved a bit in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, moving past a 20% chance of winning on their polls-only measure, getting near 30% with polls-plus, and reaching 25% if the election were today.

If you’re a Trump partisan, a one-in-four chance may seem low, but it’s better than the 1 in 5 from last week. Though they look at this from three different angles, the most important input for FiveThirtyEight is poll results, both at the state and national level. Trump has gained on Hillary Clinton in two important respects.  Continue reading

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2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, 2016 Republicans, State of the Race, Uncategorized

Independent’s Day

July 4, 2016

Happy 4th! Today we commemorate the 240th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson and friends officially breaking free of the British. Sure, it took several years of war, one that very much resembled a civil war, as plenty of colonials were in favor of remaining part of the British Empire, but ultimately Leave won out.

This wasn’t something that happened overnight. More than 150 years passed between the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock and their descendants deciding to form a Union. In the 1750s, a Declaration of Independence would have seemed like lunacy. Twenty years later, it happened, even if the public was hardly unified behind the concept.

Similarly, until very recently, the idea of challenging the established two major parties was out of the question. Sure, every few generations (Ross Perot-1992, Teddy Roosevelt-1912) a third-party presidential candidate makes a dent, but they’ve proven completely unable to turn personal appeal into an ongoing alternative. Continue reading

2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, 2016 Republicans, Poll Watch, Uncategorized

Trusting Nate Silver

June 29, 2016

If you’re reading this, there’s an 80-90% chance you know who Nate Silver is. After he correctly predicted 49 of 50 states in 2008 and all 50 in 2012, he was anointed as a predictive savant, something he found more amusing than accurate. Nate’s actual contribution is bringing baseball-style (he cut his teeth at Baseball Prospectus) data analysis to politics.

For all the talk about polls, most pundits aren’t real versed (like at all) in reviewing data, tending to grasp at whatever result bits fit their preferred narrative instead of digging for the most likely reality. Having Silver and his blog-turned-platform FiveThirtyEight around provides some important balance and has definitely influenced how I look at numbers. Continue reading

2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, State of the Race, Uncategorized

How Far Can Johnson & Stein Get?

June 21, 2016

We’ve spent the past few weeks watching Donald Trump either implode or merely confirm the suspicions of his detractors. Either way, it’s not pretty. I’ll spare you the recap. Yesterday’s firing of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, followed by the resignation of communications director Michael Caputo after he sent a “ding dong, the witch is dead” tweet in reference to Lewandowski, along with the release of numbers showing the campaign is effectively broke, was a 5 of 10 on the Bad Day Index.

It’s enough to remind me it’s probably time to do a piece on the worst primary to general election transitions in presidential history. Does Trump belong ahead or behind George McGovern picking a guy with electroshock therapy history (this was especially frowned upon in the early 1970s) on the list? He’s reached his highest disapproval ratings. The media is savaging him at every turn.  Continue reading

2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, 2016 Republicans, Poll Watch, State of the States, Uncategorized

Poll Watch: House Effects

June 9, 2016

Donald Trump is even with Hillary Clinton in the key states of Florida and Pennsylvania. Or so you’ll hear. We have new polls from PPP in each state. The Pennsylvania version has Trump even or trailing by one, depending on inclusion of third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. In Florida, he leads by one or is tied, again depending on the quantity of choices.

This sure seems positive for him. The last Republican to win Pennsylvania was George H.W. Bush in 1988. Trump has argued he will compete better than any Republican in the past generation in this sort of Rust Belt state. Florida is a must for any GOP candidate, but after Mitt Romney and John McCain fell short the past two elections, being tied is still an upgrade.

Even better, PPP is a Democratic pollster. You wouldn’t think an organization that makes it’s income polling for Democratic candidates would have a bias in favor of Republicans. Their data shows Trump is holding strong because he’s pulling a higher percentage of his party than Hillary is of hers. Basically, not enough Berners are on board yet to put her ahead. Continue reading

2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, 2016 Republicans, State of the Race, Uncategorized

Taking Stock (It’s as Bad as You Think)

June 8, 2016

We’re done with the primary season, and barring unexpectedly quick FBI intervention, we have our two major party nominees. Despite the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are still well on track to serve as standard bearers. Bernie Sanders is done. Clinton needs to win over as many Berners as possible over the next few months, but California voters decided to end the drama.

The conventions are still more than a month away. Traditionally, we would now enter a bit of a dead period, a time for candidates to consolidate their party machinery and pull everything together under the radar. A time for each candidate to attempt to define their opponent before the conventions give a chance to package a desired view. But we now live in Trumplandia, so it probably won’t go that way.

Here’s where we stand on the morning after California: Continue reading

2016 Democrats, 2016 General Election, 2016 Libertarians, 2016 Republicans, Poll Watch, State of the States, Uncategorized

Utah is Ready to Secede

June 7, 2016

Utah has had it. From coast to coast there are plenty of #NeverTrump, #NotHillary voters. National polling regularly shows a solid 15 to 20 percent of the voting populace with no desire to vote for either major party nominee, even when prodded to choose the lesser evil. This isn’t normal. By this stage, it’s usually easy to get 90% or more of voters to make a choice, even if it’s subject to change.

It’s as if the candidates have record low favorability ratings or something. Some states are pitching more of a fit than others. Monmouth surveyed New Jersey voters last week and found only 72% of them were capable of choosing Trump or Clinton. That was before offering any third party options. Throwing Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the mix, pulled away a few more voters (though not many-most of their support was from the angsty/angry 28%.) Continue reading