Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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

Flash: "Back-to-back polls show Clinton ahead in Arizona"

That's the story from Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required).

The most recent poll, conducted by the lobbying firm HighGround and involving 400 respondents, has Clinton pulling ahead, 38.5 percent to Trump’s 36.5 percent, with Libertarian Gary Johnson getting 8.3 percent and the number of undecided voters down to 7 percent.

It also shows Clinton winning the vote among all demographics except those 65 and older, and that’s trouble for Trump, said HighGround principal Chuck Coughlin.

The HighGround poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.88 percentage points.

A few days earlier, a live-caller poll by consulting firm Data Orbital showed Clinton up by a single point, 43 percent to 42 percent, with only 6 percent undecided and 5 percent for Johnson.

“Early voting begins in Arizona this week, and our track polling shows that many races will come down to the age and party of voters that turn out,” pollster George Khalaf said in a memo released with the poll.

The poll surveyed 550 likely voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.12 percentage points. Half of the respondents were interviewed by landline, and the other half by cellphone.

Bear in mind that the 4 to 5 point margins of error in these polls far exceed the 1 to 2 percentage point differences.

Nevertheless Arizona is "in play" and both sides know it.

“Arizona is clearly in play and with the significant [investment] by the Clinton campaign, can definitely turn blue,” Coughlin said.

... it appears that the Clinton campaign is making a push in Arizona, where it is diverting $2 million to and sending a series of high-profile surrogates to stump for her.

Summary of the rest of the news for Wednesday, Oct 19. Clinton continues to edge upwards in her chances for winning (94%) but the likelihood of the Senate control by Republicans still hovers at 59%. An Irish bookmaker has already picked Clinton as the sure thing and is paying out on Clinton bets - even before the numbers are in! Down-ballot results may well hinge on how big a win Clinton gets. The ugly award goes to the 39% of Republicans who think sexual assaults against women are not relevant to selection of a President. At that rate, it's only a matter of time until Republicans become the party of rape.

FORECAST UPDATE - Hillary Clinton has a 94 percent chance of winning the presidential election. Republicans have a 59 percent chance of keeping the Senate. [Presidential forecast, Senate forecast] - from the HuffPollster.

"Trump’s path to an electoral college victory isn’t narrow. It’s nonexistent."

Stuart Rothenberg (Washington Post): "the most important question is no longer whether Trump or Clinton will win but how large Clinton’s margin will be and whether she will have coattails." He's betting on a blowout and sees no chance of an electoral college path for Trump. He cites the polling evidence.

Major national polls show Clinton leading among likely voters by anywhere from as few as four points, in the Oct. 10-13 Washington Post-ABC News poll, to as many as 11 points, in the Oct. 10-13 NBC News-Wall Street Journal survey.

The newest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows Trump doing worse against Clinton than Mitt Romney did against President Obama with almost every demographic group, including men, women, whites, Latinos, Republicans, voters with household incomes of more than $100,000 per year, voters with a college degree, voters with a postgraduate degree and voters 65 and older.

It would be a mistake to call Trump’s current path to an electoral-college victory narrow. It is nonexistent. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, once part of the Trump scenario, have never been “in play,” and he is not competitive in states Obama won only narrowly in 2012, such as Virginia and Colorado. Trump is more likely to lose North Carolina than win it, which would put him under 200 electoral votes.

Now, with early voting already underway and only three weeks left until Election Day, the writing is on the wall. Clinton is headed for solid popular-vote and electoral-vote victories that are larger than Obama’s were over Romney.

Irish bookmaker pays out $1 million for bets on Clinton

538: Election Day is still nearly three weeks away, but Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker, announced that it is so confident that Hillary Clinton will win the U.S. election that it will pay out more than $1 million in winnings for bets made on her victory. [PaddyPower]

Romney won the south; Trump not so much

Mitt Romney won the South by 7.1 points over Barack Obama in 2012. Donald Trump is winning in the South too, but by a mere 1.2 points. This is typified by Texas, where Donald Trump is leading by a rather slim margin for a Republican. A University of Houston poll has him up a mere 3 points. [FiveThirtyEight]

PARTISANSHIP DIVIDES REACTION TO TRUMP SCANDALS - HuffPollster: “Americans are more likely than not to consider the sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump credible, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But opinions are deeply divided along party lines, with many Republicans saying that, even if true, the allegations aren’t enough to disqualify him from the presidency. If the allegations are true, 44 percent of Americans say that should disqualify Trump from the presidency. Twenty-seven percent say that it would be relevant to the election, but not disqualifying, while 22 percent believe it wouldn’t be relevant to the election at all…. Although 19 percent of Republicans think the claims would be disqualifying, a 39 percent plurality say that, even if it were proven that Trump sexually assaulted women, it would not be relevant to the election ….Partisan divides go deeper than just the response to Trump. Feelings about the broader topic of sexual assault are also significantly polarized. As the political scientist Michael Tesler noted this week, Republicans ― especially those who supported Trump in the primaries ― were already more likely than others to believe that ‘women who complain about harassment often cause more problems than they solve.’” [HuffPost]

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