Monday, October 31, 2016

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

Summary for Oct. 31: The NY Times Upshot model gives Clinton a 90% chance of winning and gives Dems a 61% chance of flipping the Senate. HuffPollsterGeist has Clinton’s chances at 98% and the likelihood of Dems getting a Senate tie or better at 78%. HuffPollster still anticipates 341 electoral votes for Clinton. Trump was gaining, slightly, before Comey went Lone Ranger. Nate Silver reports little to no evidence that Comey-gate has shifted polls away from Clinton, but polls are few and more damage could emerge in the next few days. However, consider this quote from the HuffPollster’s email: “I do not equate sexual assault with mishandling of classified information, but it strikes me that the cognitive task before voters is similar. In both cases, voters have a mountain of evidence already placed before them. One more woman making an accusation against Trump will not change voters’ assessments of the veracity of the totality of the allegations. Similarly, possibly finding new Clinton-related emails - without any further evidence that they are relevant - does not change voters’ assessments of Clinton on this issue.”

Nate Silver’s 538 via email: Donald Trump continues to make modest gains in the FiveThirtyEight forecast. His chances are 21 percent in our polls-only model and 23 percent in polls-plus, his best position since early this month in each forecast. And Trump has narrowed Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead to roughly 5 percentage points from 7 points two weeks ago. … look at what polls conducted since Comey’s announcement say about the race. This will be brief because there actually aren’t any of them. The best we can do is to look at polls that conducted some of their interviews since the FBI news and compare them to the most recent pre-Comey edition of the poll. There’s really no evidence of a further shift to Trump — at least not yet:

STATEPOLLSTERDAYS
POST-COMEY
NEW POLLLAST
PRE-COMEY
POLL SHIFT
U.S. ABC/Wash. Post 1 of 4 Clinton +1 Clinton +2 Trump +1
U.S. IBD/TIPP 2 of 6 Clinton +3 Clinton +3
U.S. USC/LA Times 2 of 7 Trump +2 Trump +2
Wisc. Emerson College 1 of 2 Clinton +6 Clinton +6
Ariz. YouGov 1 of 3 Trump +2 Trump +2
Colo. YouGov 1 of 3 Clinton +3 Clinton +1 Clinton +2
N.C. YouGov 1 of 3 Clinton +3 Clinton +4 Trump +1
Pa. YouGov 1 of 3 Clinton +8 Clinton +8

John Cassidy (New Yorker) looks at Clinton’s very bad week but remains optimistic.

… recent polls have confirmed the same message: voters have issues with Clinton, but they have bigger issues with Trump. He still has the highest unfavorable ratings of any Presidential candidate in recent history, and he still has a huge credibility problem.

Forecast update - More from HuffPollster (via email): “Despite fluctuations in national polling numbers, state polls indicate that Trump has no plausible path to winning 270 electoral votes at this point. Clinton’s electoral college advantage remains strong. The Huffington Post presidential forecast currently shows a 98 percent chance that Clinton will be elected… Trump’s [less than] 2 percent chance of becoming president represents the possibility that all of the polls could be wrong in the same direction. Clearly we don’t expect that to happen, but it is a possibility…. State polls are generally slower to come in than national polls, and if Clinton’s lead shrinks in key states, as it has in national polls, her Electoral College advantage will shrink a bit…. [But] Clinton’s lead shrinking a bit would likely only mean going from an anticipated 341 electoral votes in the HuffPost forecast model today to somewhere between 300 and 320 electoral votes. Unless Trump can sweep all the states he leads in now plus Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida and at least one other state (likely among Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or New Hampshire), he won’t win the presidency.” [HuffPost, Presidential forecast]

DEMOCRATS HAVE THE EDGE IN SENATE PROJECTIONS- The HuffPost Pollster Senate forecast gives Democrats a 44 percent chance of taking 51 or more seats. There’s also a 35 percent chance that the chamber is tied and the vice president casts the deciding vote. Given Clinton’s strong chances of winning the presidency, Democrats overall have a 78 percent chance of taking the majority. Republicans are down to a 22 percent chance of getting 51 or more seats or 50 or more plus the vice presidency. [Senate forecast]

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