30 October 2016

Battleground/National Report, 28-29 October, 2016 - T-minus 10 days (Clinton 323 / Trump 180 / Tossup 35)

Saturday, October 29th, 2016, was exactly 10 days before the General Election on November 8, 2016. T-minus just more than one week.... final sprint....

Complete polling results for all states for 2016 to-date are here as an EXCEL table for 10/28-29/2016 in GOOGLE DOCS. All polls are hyperlinked.

So, my methodology for doing averages in this wild-and-wooly-sometimes-3-way election was explained in the first Battleground Report, from 11 October, 2016.

The Battleground table is pretty darned detailed. The LEGEND for said table is HERE. In fact, you need to read it in order to develop an "eye" for the Battleground tab.

11 national polls came in on 10/28-29 plus polls for the following states: AZ (2), CA (1), FL (1), ID (1), LA (1), MN (1), MO (1), PA (1), TX (1) and VA (1), making for 22 polls in the last two days.

BEFORE this report goes on -and I rarely editorialize- I think it would be good to report that I am well aware of what happened with FBI Director Comey on Friday and how the news media handled his writing a letter to Congress saying that there were possibly more emails found on a separate device possibly related to the Clinton email investigation. The media, in it's usual frenzy, went on to say that the investigation has been reopened. It has not. Since then, we have learned that the Justice Dept. did not want Comey to do this and that it breaks with precedent. We also hear from more than one source that very likely, the emails are duplicates. And the real kicker is that the stuff was found because disgraced former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is still married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin, but not for long, was under investigation for sending dickpics to an underage girl. Pretty nasty stuff and just for the record, I don't want Anthony Weiner in the Democratic Party.

That all being said, no matter how you slice it, no matter how weird and obviously political the timing is, no matter how much people try to assail this, it is a terrible optic for the Clinton campaign and even if it ends up that the emails had nothing at all to do with her - it is going to hurt her some. The question is: how much? Because early votes have already been locked in and Clinton is so well ahead in most all of the blue wall and statistically so solidly ahead in all but 3 of the standard battlegrounds and competitive in 3 that the GOP never thought would become battlegrounds ..... 

My point is exactly what I wrote on a number of forums when the Trump-stuff began to fly: if this causes the Clinton campaign to tank, then the aggregate numbers will start showing it by next weekend. I also suspect that is why we are barely seeing polling results this weekend: pollsters all over the land are preparing their final wave (or waves) of polling and probably adjusted their questions to include the most recent email-bruhaha. So, in the next week, we are going to see an enormous deluge of polls, surely at least one more or more waves of the IPSOS/REUTERS and UPI/CVOTER 50 series, probably an end-GOOGLE 50 series, likely an end-Morning Consult (R) series, etc... so I expect that virtually every state will be polled at least four times again before election day. Plus, a plethora of firms that do high-end polls will surely put out one, if not two more polls before election day.

A number of major electoral watchers have written that there are a number of scenarios for Clinton. For instance, Nate Silver at 538 wrote of four possible paths for Clinton from here out. The "Webmaster" at Electoralvote.com also had some sage comments worth reading. 

My personal take is that those who are firmly for Clinton and those who hate her are not going to change their position. It's those in the middle, those who have been sitting on the fence, who may change. However, as I wrote, with a great many votes already "locked in", we will simply have to wait and see. And the number of undecides has shrunk. But my personal take has nothing to do with this. I have already voted and do my civic duty. So, pffft.

In 2008, sticking purely to the math (and there was a lot of it), I predicted within 0.10% of Obama's winning percentage and was about 0.3% off on the margin. To be very exact (and go to the link and see for yourself), I predicted:

Obama 52.77% / McCain 45.23%, margin: Obama +7.54%.

Actual results:
Obama 52.87% / McCain 45.60%, margin: Obama +7.26%. (yes, +7.26 and not +7.27, due to rounding)

That's pretty damned good. In 2012, again, based only on the numbers, I called every state except Florida correctly but didn't even try with the national numbers since there was such a huge polling disconnect between the national and state aggregates. So, I see no reason to change the method this time around: I am going to let the numbers simply speak for themselves. And right now, the numbers that were released on 10/28 and 10/29, which of course do not reflect anything about the Email-bruhaha, show absolutely no change in the battlegrounds or the tossups.  In fact, most of the fluctuations were very marginal:

This also means that the electoral landscape has not changed at all in the last 6 days:

With that in mind (simply use the excel table link above to tab out to where you want to go), only two states in the battleground/tossup zone were polled: AZ and FL.

ARIZONA received two polls, one from Republican pollster Data Orbital, replacing a poll from 10/20, which shows a shift from an absolute tie to Trump +2. At the same time, a poll from a pollster whom I have never seen before, called Saguaro Strategies, quite possibly a Democratic firm, but I don't know yet, shows Clinton +2. That coupled with a Remington from 10/25 showing Trump +1 makes for a three-way aggregate of only Trump +0.33. However, due to the 2-way polling aggregate, his overall statistic is Trump +0.92. Now, this can be a good case study: if the Email-bruhaha shows a massive ripple effect in polling, then logically, AZ may be one of the first states to show it. On this corresponding day in 2012, the aggregate was: Romney +5, so Trump is doing 4.1 points worse right now than Romney did back then. However, Romney exceeded the polling expectations in Arizona in 2012 and Trump may do just the same. Wait and see.

FLORIDA received one poll, but a doozy of a poll: from St. Leo University, showing Clinton +13 in a three-way race, an 8 point margin jump for her over the last St. Leo Poll. 

But there is also something very critical about this poll: it is the first Florida poll to also include Evan McMullin on a 5-way ballot and the results look even worse for Trump:

In that case, Clinton's lead increases from +13 to +14.3 and McMullin polls ahead of Johnson. Not only that, Trump falls under 35%, so obviously in a 5-way, McMullin, who is on the ballot in Florida, takes away votes from Trump. This means that polling that does not include McMullin may possible have an ever so slightly skewed statistic, enough to hurt if the race becomes a nail-biter. But for now, the current aggregate is Clinton +3.63 in Florida. On this corresponding day in 2012, the aggregate was: Romney +1.47. So, Clinton is running 5.1 points better right now in Florida than Obama was in 2012.

There is even worse news for Trump in this poll. Look at the tendencies of the undecided voters in this poll:

By a landslide +12.6% spread, the undecideds are tending more toward Clinton.  Even with the newest Email-bruhaha, this may be a heavy lift for Trump, also because there aren't that many undecideds left.

Now, this is just one poll, but it may force me to open a new 4-way rubrik in the excel table for McMullin in the mix in key states. And it could be an outlier, but then again, so could the Remington (R) poll, released just three days before. But between St. Leo and Bloomberg, there is a circa 15 point difference, something that is impossible in the same universe. One of these polls is way off, and yet, the aggregate is probably pretty close to reality.

Speaking of McMullin and also of IDAHO, which I just mentioned a couple of battleground reports ago, the Rasmussen poll released on 10/28 for that state shows:

The Rasmussen poll shows the same percentage for McMullin as the Emerson College poll released on 10/25, perhaps supporting the Emerson poll claim that Trump is doing badly among Mormons in ID-02.

In MINNESOTA, a SUSA poll shows Clinton beating Trump by +10. This is not a huge suprise: Minnesota is a 9 for 10 D state since 1976 and a 13 for 14 D state since 1960. It's Democratic "DNA" is very heavy. Trump has not campaigned there nor are his ads showing there.

However, in VIRGINIA, CNU's latest poll shows Clinton's lead reduced from +12 on 19/21 to +7 yesterday. Sound terrible, right? No. +7 is still larger than Obama's 2008 win in the Old Dominion and almost double his 2012 win here, and it barely moved the statistic, which as a matter of fact moved slightly up, because some polls fell out of the automatic 7-day time window. Clinton stands at an aggregate of +9.65 in Virginia. Her aggregate here is slightly higher than Trump's current aggregate in INDIANA, just for comparison (see: battleground table).

The Sacramento State poll out of CALIFORNIA shows a massive Clinton +36 in our Union's largest state. This is also second largest CA margin value I have ever seen for any presidential candidate of any party in all of my lifetime and this highest from a premium pollster that doesn't just do internet polling and the sixth poll to show Clinton at +30 or above here. I just want to make this point very clear. In the battleground report from 10/27 I just explored the possible raw vote margin numbers for California and this poll brings back home what a bonanza of raw votes in margin this would bring for Clinton on election day. Interesting about this poll is that Clinton is polling equally well among men (+35) as among women (+36) but has a higher value among non-whites (+44). She is also getting 19% of the Republican vote in the Golden State, whereas Trump is getting 5% of the Democratic vote. This moves Clinton's overall CA aggregate up to +27.5 (Obama's end aggregate was +15.8 in 2012).

Conversely, in LOUISIANA, a state where Obama actually improved his statistic in 2012 over 2008, a Univ. of New Orleans poll came in showing Trump with a landslide +14 over Clinton. Romney's end aggregate was +14.07 in 2012 and he won on election night by +17.21, so Trump is on track to pretty much duplicate Romney's statistic from 2012. This is an important piece of data because it shows that the so-called "Clinton 6" states, which I explored in December, 2012, are just as surely RED as they were back then. The "Clinton 6" are the 6 Southern states that Bill Clinton won twice (1992, 1996) that Obama never won: WV, KY, MO, TN, AK and LA.  All six of those states are showing landslide stats for Trump, he is going to easily win all six of them. In fact, it looks as if WEST VIRGINIA is going to move farther up the partisan rankings on the Republican side.  At an aggregate of Trump +23.57, West Virginia is currently Trump's second strongest state, after Wyoming and just ahead of Idaho. That's the good news for Trump. The bad news is that a Democrat no longer needs these 6 states in his or her column in order to win. And as a matter of fact, without the six, Bill Clinton would still have won.

The remaining polls you can see at the tabs.


The tracking list:

12 October 2016, Clinton +5.52, -0.21
13 October 2016, Clinton +6.61, +1.08*
14 October 2016, Clinton +6.75, +0.14
15 October 2016 - no battleground report posted
16 October 2016, Clinton +6,44, -0.31
17 October, 2016, Clinton +7.35, +0.92*
18 October, 2016, Clinton +6.91, -0.45
19 October 2016, Clinton +6.64, -0.27
20 October 2016 - no battleground report posted
21 October 2016, Clinton +6.74, +0.10
23 October 2016, Clinton +6.02, -0.72
24 October 2016, Clinton +6.25, +0.23
25 October 2016, Clinton +6.37, +0.23
26 October 2016, Clinton +6.73, +0.36
27 October 2016, Clinton +6.55, -0.18
29 October 2016, Clinton +5.91, -0.64

*Due to rounding, the difference is off by 0.01

On this corresponding day in 2012the national aggregate was Romney +0.09%, so Clinton is currently 6.00 points ahead of where Obama was four years ago. On 10/27, she was 6.62 ahead, so there has been a measurable drop in the national average, but Clinton is still at about +6.

If you look at the margins, you see a gentle rising and falling - often called the sinus-curve effect. I fully expected to see this.

And some end-statistics: I first started collecting 2016 presidential polls at the beginning of October 2013 and since then I have logged 4,411 matchups from 2,302 individual polls. You can find the breakdown to this stuff at the EXCEL table, in the tab that says "poll totals".

For past reference, here is the ELECTORAL LANDSCAPE from 10 days before the GE 2012, from 10/27/2012.  And here is also the corresponding reports from 10/25/2008: the semi-final POLL CONVERGENCE and the DISTILLATION thereof

One more thing: early voting has begun and there are lots of stats coming out of many states. Soon, I will be collating that data as well.


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