Likelihoods

 

If I were inclined to bet on tomorrow’s results, I would probably roll my eyes and put my money on Hillary Clinton — assuming, that is, that someone gave me equal odds. As I write, at 8:35 p.m. EST on the eve of the election, she is ahead in all but one of the head-to-head polls listed by Real Clear Politics. The only poll that has Donald Trump ahead in a two-way race is the LA Times tracking poll, which has him up by 5%, and the IBD/TIPP tracking poll (which was the most accurate poll in 2012) has Mrs. Clinton up by 1%. If one turns to the four-candidate polls, the IBD/TIPP tracking poll has Trump ahead by 2%, and everyone else has Hillary in the lead.

It may, nonetheless, be considerably closer than this data suggests. In his latest election update, Nate Silver, who called every state correctly in 2012, gives Trump a 31% chance of winning the Presidency, and he breaks it down state by state.

There are a number of obstacles that stand in the way of our being at all certain that the polls are correct. First, the pollsters call people who have landlines. They do not poll cell-phone users. As the number of the former declines and the number of the latter increases, it makes this harder for them to get an accurate read on the electorate. Second, the electorate is in motion. Pollsters take a relatively small sample. Then, they carve it up and weight it in light of past experience. In a relatively stable world, they do wonders with this technique. But our world is unstable. Lots of people are switching parties or voting for the candidate of the party to which they do not belong. In these circumstances, it would be easy to get the weighting wrong. Third, fewer and fewer people actually respond to pollsters. Where, in the past, one-third of those called agreed to answer the questions asked, today only one in ten, if that, is willing to play ball.

Finally, there are intangibles. The Democratic nominee has a well-funded get-out-the-vote operation; the Republican nominee has none. It is perfectly possible that the former will outperform the polls by one, two, or three percent because of this operation. The other intangible has to do with shame. Ronald Reagan, throughout his career, outperformed the polls by ca. 5%. There were lots of people who would not admit that they supported him who nonetheless voted for him in the end.

So, tomorrow, a surprise is possible. But, if I were guessing, I would guess that it is Mrs. Clinton who will outperform the polls. Her GOTV operation is real. The supposition that there are hidden Trump supporters is no more than a guess. Moreover, every major newspaper in the country is behind her, and so are the CEOs of the hundred largest American corporations. And none of the last three Republican presidential nominees has endorsed Trump. Hillary Clinton is the William McKinley of 2016, and Trump does not have as great an appeal as did Andrew Jackson. Had her opponent been able to exercise self-discipline from the time of the Republican Convention on, he might have defeated her. But he shot himself in the foot repeatedly, and his childish boasting over the years about his sexual accomplishments finally caught up with him.

In 1972, the American people had a choice between a putative crook and a fool, and they wisely chose the putative crook — on the presumption that the country had institutions for defending themselves against crooks but none for defending themselves against fools. This time, if my read is correct, they will make the same decision. But we no longer have the institutional safeguards that we had in the 1970s, and we are likely to pay dearly for the choice that we have made.

You can, however, say this for Barack Obama and his anointed successor: they corrupt everything with which they have contact. And you can say this for John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the Republicans in Congress: by their timidity, they have earned the contempt that President Obama so generously showered on them. It was by earning this contempt that they induced the party base to rally to an irresponsible outsider with an uncanny gift for channeling anger.

It is conceivable that we will bounce back in 2020 and set things right, but I would not bet on it. The name of the game, as John Podesta’s emails reveal, is to flood the country with foreigners and register them to vote. The Democrats intend to rule, and the Republicans? They are at their best when waving a white flag.

There are 24 comments.

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  1. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Paul A. Rahe: They do not poll cell-phone users.

    This is inaccurate. Pollsters are switching to more cell calls as the nation shifts more cellular.

    • #1
  2. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    I can predict with 100% certainty much weeping and gnashing of teeth tomorrow.

    • #2
  3. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    The King Prawn:

    Paul A. Rahe: They do not poll cell-phone users.

    This is inaccurate. Pollsters are switching to more cell calls as the nation shifts more cellular.

    Pew may be doing so. Many others do not. The last paragraph in the piece you cite reads:

    According to federal regulations, cellphones have to be manually dialed by an interviewer, whereas landlines can be dialed automatically using a device known as an autodialer. Manually dialing cellphone numbers takes time, which increases interviewing costs. Each cellphone interview can cost almost twice as much as each landline interview. For this reason, some pollsters choose to either dial fewer cellphones or to exclude them from their sample altogether.

    • #3
  4. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    The King Prawn:I can predict with 100% certainty much weeping and gnashing of teeth tomorrow.

    Not sure if I’ll have any teeth left to gnash by tomorrow.

    • #4
  5. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    The King Prawn:

    Paul A. Rahe: They do not poll cell-phone users.

    This is inaccurate. Pollsters are switching to more cell calls as the nation shifts more cellular.

    Interesting. Still it does seem a very significant change from previous polling methodologies with unknown accuracy. It strikes me that being uncertain as to the physical location of the voter being polled is a greater flaw than Pew acknowledges, even on a national level. If the bulk of respondents in a poll end up being in a politically homogeneous municipality or state this will clearly skew the results.

    • #5
  6. harrisventures Coolidge
    harrisventures
    @harrisventures

    I’ll cast a vote for Trump tomorrow. Whatever the outcome, the outlook is not good.

    Regardless of who wins, America is in for a rough ride.

    • #6
  7. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    The King Prawn:

    Paul A. Rahe: They do not poll cell-phone users.

    This is inaccurate. Pollsters are switching to more cell calls as the nation shifts more cellular.

    Agreed.  I got a poll call this way back in the primaries.

    • #7
  8. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    The final RealClearPolitics has Clinton winning 272 electoral votes to 266 for Trump with New Hampshire breaking to Clinton by 0.5%?

    So Clinton wins as determined by about 3500 people in New Hampshire?

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/2016_elections_electoral_college_map_no_toss_ups.html

    • #8
  9. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Paul, be optimistic. I think we still have the institutions. It is important to know that after 9/11, the FBI shifted a very large number of investigators to homeland security and combating terrorism. This resource shift depleted the ability to carry out other investigations on domestic crime. But I think we are soon over this hump, if not already there.

    • #9
  10. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    The Cubs Have A Smaller Chance Of Winning Than Trump Does

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-cubs-have-a-smaller-chance-of-winning-than-trump-does/

    • #10
  11. The Whether Man Inactive
    The Whether Man
    @TheWhetherMan

    Paul A. Rahe:

    The King Prawn:

    Paul A. Rahe: They do not poll cell-phone users.

    This is inaccurate. Pollsters are switching to more cell calls as the nation shifts more cellular.

    Pew may be doing so. Many others do not. The last paragraph in the piece you cite reads:

    According to federal regulations, cellphones have to be manually dialed by an interviewer, whereas landlines can be dialed automatically using a device known as an autodialer. Manually dialing cellphone numbers takes time, which increases interviewing costs. Each cellphone interview can cost almost twice as much as each landline interview. For this reason, some pollsters choose to either dial fewer cellphones or to exclude them from their sample altogether.

    Here’s the list from FiveThirtyEight – at least half of them (and all of the more accurate polls) call cell phones, though it is more expensive.  The big names like CNN, CBS, ABC, Marist, Quinnipiac, etc. all call cell phones.

    I suspect the polls are right, and we’re about to enter a third term of Clinton reign.

    • #11
  12. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    The Cloaked Gaijin:The final RealClearPolitics has Clinton winning 272 electoral votes to 266 for Trump with New Hampshire breaking to Clinton by 0.5%?

    So Clinton wins as determined by about 3500 people in New Hampshire?

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/2016_elections_electoral_college_map_no_toss_ups.html

    Thanks for the update.

    • #12
  13. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Marion Evans:Paul, be optimistic. I think we still have the institutions. It is important to know that after 9/11, the FBI shifted a very large number of investigators to homeland security and combating terrorism. This resource shift depleted the ability to carry out other investigations on domestic crime. But I think we are soon over this hump, if not already there.

    You forget that the Department of Justice rules over the FBI. There are honest individuals even in Barack Obama’s DOJ. The fact that the Clinton investigation was not done via grand jury tells you everything that you need to know. The fix was in.

    • #13
  14. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Paul A. Rahe:

    The Cloaked Gaijin:The final RealClearPolitics has Clinton winning 272 electoral votes to 266 for Trump with New Hampshire breaking to Clinton by 0.5%?

    So Clinton wins as determined by about 3500 people in New Hampshire?

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/2016_elections_electoral_college_map_no_toss_ups.html

    Thanks for the update.

    Clinton is also up only +1.9% in Pennsylvania, but of course Trump would have to hold his supposed narrow leads in FL of +0.2%, and probably NC (+1.0%) and maybe NV (+0.8%) and Maine CD2 (+0.5%) to have a chance.

    Other close states: Colorado (+2.9 Clinton), Iowa (+3.0 Trump), Michigan (+3.4 Clinton), Ohio (+3.5 Trump), Arizona (+4.0 Trump), Maine (+4.5 Clinton), Georgia (+4.8 Trump), and New Mexico: (+5.0 Clinton)

    • #14
  15. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Paul A. Rahe:

    Marion Evans:Paul, be optimistic. I think we still have the institutions. It is important to know that after 9/11, the FBI shifted a very large number of investigators to homeland security and combating terrorism. This resource shift depleted the ability to carry out other investigations on domestic crime. But I think we are soon over this hump, if not already there.

    You forget that the Department of Justice rules over the FBI. There are honest individuals even in Barack Obama’s DOJ. The fact that the Clinton investigation was not done via grand jury tells you everything that you need to know. The fix was in.

    Yes and no. I agree that there was a bias not to proceed at the DOJ, but I don’t think they can forever resist pressure from FBI investigators. This story is not over imo. Maybe wishful thinking, but given the alternative candidate, that’s all I got.

    • #15
  16. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    Gaslighting, goal seeking, and propaganda

    RCP page for New Hampshire:
    RCP Average 10/28 – 11/6 — — 43.3 42.7 6.0 2.0 Clinton +0.6
    Emerson 11/4 – 11/5 1000 LV 3.0 45 44 5 3 Clinton +1
    WMUR/UNH 11/3 – 11/6 707 LV 3.7 49 38 6 1 Clinton +11
    Gravis 11/1 – 11/2 1001 RV 2.0 41 43 7 2 Trump +2

    Notice the recent WMUR/UNH poll that has Clinton +11, which in turn changes the result of entire RCP page for NH

    The WMUR and University of New Hampshire poll had 85% college educated respondents.

    New Hampshire has 34% college educated citizens.

    “Highest Level of Education N %
    High School or Less 103 15%
    Some College 162 23%
    College Graduate 261 37%
    Post‐Graduate 167 24%”

    That is certainly one way to goal seek a poll.

    http://cola.unh.edu/sites/cola.unh.edu/files/research_publications/gsp2016_fall_pressengov110616.pdf

     

     

    • #16
  17. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CwrB-yDWEAEl4Gt.jpg

    • #17
  18. King Banaian Contributor
    King Banaian
    @KingBanaian

    I see that @thewhetherman has already noted the cell phone issue.  We have an opinion survey research center here at my university that buys cell phone call lists.  They are indeed more expensive but more accurate.  Our latest survey up here has Clinton +11 in MN, which doesn’t help explain why there are so many darn ads on my TV.

    • #18
  19. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    https://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/EX15.png

    • #19
  20. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    Bill Mitchell@mitchellvii 2h2 hours ago

    Right now, Hillary is running roughly 60% behind Obama’s performance in Hillsborough. Obama won FL in 2012 by only 1%. Devastating for her.

    http://axiomstrategies.com/abc/hillsborough/

    • #20
  21. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    “Trump’s campaign hopes rest on a strong enough turnout in Collier and Lee counties to turn the state red on Nov. 8, said Naples businessman Francis Rooney, the Republican nominee for Southwest Florida’s congressional seat.

    “We are the redder than red region in this state,” Rooney said. “We can run up the score here and protect what we stand for from what happens in I-4 and Fort Lauderdale. If we can get a huge turnout here, we can deliver for the Republican party and Donald Trump.”

    http://www.news-press.com/story/news/politics/2016/10/23/collier-lee-gop-leaders-stump-trump-rally/92659970/

    “Trump +9 over Romney in Collier/Lee Cankles at stunningly low 24%!!”

    Larry Schweikart

    • #21
  22. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    Bill Mitchell

    Romney lost Pinellas, FL by 26,000 votes in 2012. Right now, Trump is ahead by 20,000 (assuming 10% lead with Indies). That’s a 46k swing.

    4:52 PM – 8 Nov 2016

    • #22
  23. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    hungrypatriot says:

    November 8, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    I live in a small town in the red state of Wyoming, pop. 8900. Today, the line has snaked around our polling location all day. I have NEVER had to stand in line to vote. Evidently, the line is for first time voters to register. Our three electoral votes may not mean much in the whole scheme of things, but to the people of Wyoming, they know what is at stake. They know this is do or die and they are stepping up. It makes me proud.

    • #23
  24. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2016/11/06/google%20trend%20vote_0.jpg

    • #24
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