Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pols and Polls: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Summary for Oct 27. The good (for Clinton): Clinton maintains her lead with pollsters estimating her chances of winning at 85.7% to 97.6%. HuffPollster sees the chances of gaining a Senate majority now at 70%. The bad (for Trump): Libertarian VP candidate Bill Weld issued a statement harshly critical of Donald Trump and urging undecideds to NOT vote for Trump. The ugly (for America): Americans are split on partisan lines about how well or poorly things are going.

POLLS VARY, BUT SHOW CLINTON LEADING - Janie Velencia: “Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is either slightly ahead or way ahead of Republican Donald Trump with just 13 days until Election Day, according to new polls released Wednesday. An AP-GFK poll shows Clinton leading by an astonishing 14 points, 51 percent to Trump’s 37 percent, in a four-way race. In a two-way heat, Clinton’s lead narrows to 13 points. A new Fox News poll finds Clinton ahead by a much smaller margin― just 3 points ahead in a four-way race, 44 percent to 41 percent. She also leads by 3 points head to head with Trump. Other recent polls show Clinton with a lead ranging from 2 points to 12 points. It’s best not to freak out just yet over which of Wednesday’s polls are right. Instead, consider the aggregate of recent polls for a more sober look at the race. According to the HuffPost Pollster aggregate, Clinton is leading by about 7 points in the four-way race, 46.6 percent to 39 percent.” [HuffPost]

Splitting the difference - The ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll released Thursday morning shows Clinton leading by 6 points. [WashPost]

All that is good news, but beware. Regardless of which set of percentages attract your attention, there remains a sizable group of voters who are committed to the Johnson-Weld ticket or are just undecided. By subtraction that group contains 12 to 15 percent of the voters. Johnson-Weld is running about 6% so that leaves 6 to 9 percent up for grabs. Will they all vote for Trump? Probably not. Certainly not if Bill Weld has anything to say about it and he most definitely does. See the accompanying post today on Weld's statement.

Is the race tightening? - Nate Silver: “It seems like we’re overdue for another round of ‘is the presidential race tightening?’ And the answer isn’t totally clear. Our model thinks Donald Trump has probably narrowed his deficit against Clinton slightly, but the difference is modest enough that we’ve wanted to change our answer with every new round of polls. And in general, we’re reluctant to proclaim any turnaround in the race while we still have to squint to see a shift. But here’s what we think is a little clearer: Trump’s share of the vote has increased, as he’s picked up undecided and third-party voters, probably as the result of Republicans’ returning home after a disastrous series of weeks for Trump this month. Clinton, however, is at least holding steady and probably also improving her own numbers somewhat.” [538]

Forecast update - Clinton’s chances of winning are up to 97.6 percent, according to HuffPost’s presidential forecast. That number have been steadily ticking upwards as it gets closer to the election. The forecast gets more certain of the outcome as Election Day approaches, even though polls haven’t changed much. Trump’s chances are down to 2.4 percent, essentially the chances of all of the polls being wrong. Other models show Clinton’s chances between 86 percent and 99 percent. The main difference between the models deal with how likely they think there is to be major polling error. In the Senate, Republicans are down to a 29 percent chance of keeping 51 or more seats according to HuffPost’s model. Democrats have a 35 percent chance of winning 51 or more, and accounting for the presidential race, their likelihood of a majority becomes 70 percent. [Presidential forecast, Senate forecast]

From 538: 85.7 percent - Probability that Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-only model. If you want to know how Trump might win, by golly, we have that too. [FiveThirtyEight]

VIEWS ON DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY ARE DIVIDED BY PARTISANSHIP - Jennifer Agiesta: “More Americans than at any time in Barack Obama’s presidency now say that things in the United States are going well, a sharp uptick in positive views and the best reviews of the country’s trajectory since January 2007, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. Overall, 54% say things in the country today are going well, 46% badly. That’s a reversal from late July when 54% said things were going poorly and 46% said they were positive. The improvement in impressions of the country’s path stems largely from shifts among Democrats and independents. Among Democrats, 85% say things are going well, up from 76% in late July. Among independents, 51% now say things are going well, up 9 points since this summer. There’s been no significant shift, however, among Republicans: 21% now say things are going well, not significantly different from the 17% who said so in July. There’s also a stark divide between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. More than 8-in-10 of those behind Trump, whose campaign slogan suggests America has gone off on the wrong track, say things in the US today are going poorly. Among Clinton’s supporters, almost 9-in-10 say they’re going well.” [CNN]

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