Monday, October 3, 2016

BTRTN's 50-State Electoral College Snapshot #5: Hillary on the Rise

This was another incredibly strange week in the annals of presidential races, to say the least.  If nothing else, we are proving the wisdom of modern campaign management, as Donald Trump continues to violate almost every rule and, by all objective measures, is paying the price.  This is a year that the White House could have been ripe for the taking for the GOP, on the heels of eight years of Democratic control and a candidate with clear baggage.  (Only once since FDR – that’s 71 years -- has a party controlled the White House for more than two terms, the Reagan/Bush 41 era from 1981-1993.)  But that GOP opportunity is being squandered by a series of bizarre unforced errors by Trump, and a strong performance by Hillary Clinton when it matters most.

Clinton won the debate, hands down.  There have been four post-debate scientific polls and they each tell the same story, albeit in somewhat different orders of magnitude.  But clearly it was an overwhelming rout, by any standard, on average by 24 points.  (Trump is fond of unscientific online polls conducted by conservative websites.  Is it any surprise that Drudge Report readers thought Trump won?)

Percentage of debate watchers who thought each candidate won

Clinton
Trump
Margin
Average
55
31
24
PPP
51
40
11
CNN
62
27
35
You Gov
57
30
27
Politico/Morning Consult
49
26
23

Trump has shown absolutely no facility for learning from his own mistakes.  (That could be because he does not feel he makes them.)  There is an amazing echo in his post-debate performance from his post-convention performance, when his extended hissy-fit with the Kahn family dominated the news cycle for a full week.  And now, Trump is again keeping the focus on his running battle with another sympathetic figure, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.  Hillary Clinton set a marvelous trap with the Machado story at the debate, and it has succeeded beyond her wildest dreams, a gift that keeps on giving.  Why Donald Trump, with less than 40 days to go (and with early voting already begun), chose to expend several of those precious days on a losing issue is beyond me.  And his unhinged dead-of-night Twitter rant against Machado was perhaps a bigger story than the insults themselves.

I am feeling pretty good about this paragraph from our post just 14 days ago, at the nadir of Clinton’s campaign, which was entitled “Why Hillary Will Win.”

And to that point, Donald Trump, while improving as a candidate, is hardly reliable, and it is not difficult to imagine more controversy ahead.  And apart from his motor mouth, any number of issues could move front burner again, notably his taxes, charitable giving (or lack thereof), the outlandish math of his economic proposals, his racist and misogynist history, Trump U, his flip-flopping on immigration, his lies about, well, everything.  Need I go on? 

I would say that, off that list, the debate set off the tax and misogynist issues to tremendous effect.  And The New York Times’ piece on Trump’s $915 million tax-loss carry forward has continued with the spotlight on the taxes.

But did winning the debates help Clinton with her standing in the election?  Actually, Clinton started reversing the momentum before the debates, from that low point when her national lead dipped below two points during the week ending September 17.  Her lead increased to 3 points in the week after the low point and then surged to 4.5 this past week, the week of the debate.

Week Ending
Aug 13
Aug 20
Aug 27
Sep 3
Sep 10
Sep 17
Sep 24
Oct 1
Clinton
46.7
45.2
46.5
45.8
46.2
45.0
46.5
47.0
Trump
39.3
39.0
40.2
41.8
42.8
43.2
43.3
42.5
Other/NA
14.0
15.8
13.3
12.3
11.0
11.8
10.2
10.5
Margin
7.3
6.2
6.3
4.0
3.4
1.8
3.2
4.5

One trend worth noting in the above charts is the steadily falling “Other/NA” column, which has dropped from the 15-16% range to the 10-11% range.  I suspect it will fall further.  We at BTRTN have tended to ignore the “four way” polls that include Gary Johnson and Jill Stein because they tend to exaggerate their support.  Voters tend to make more serious choices as Election Day approaches.  Johnson has received notoriety only for two enormous gaffes, not knowing what “Aleppo” is and not being able to name a world leader he admired (echoing Sarah Palin’s inability to name a newspaper she read).  I suspect the downward trend will continue.

But how is the Clinton rebound faring, where it really matters?  Clinton is doing well there, too…overall, Clinton has gained about +3 points in post-debate swing state polling.

And thus, our latest BTRTN Electoral College Snapshot has Clinton up 322-216, with recent polling flipping both Florida and Nevada into her column, which accounts for the change from the 287-251 count in our last Snapshot two weeks ago.  Two other states remained Blue but moved into the Solid category for Clinton, Michigan and New Hampshire.  Pennsylvania has moved the other way from two weeks ago, when it was Solid, but it actually passed through a Toss-up phase before U—turning after the debate into a Lean. 

It isn’t all bad news for Trump.  Recent polling has pushed Texas and Mississippi into Solid for him, but of course that is where they always should have been. 

But the race may be even more favorable to Clinton than these results show.  There has been no post-debate polling in a number of battleground states that are in the red column – Ohio, South Carolina, Iowa, Georgia and South Carolina.  If you tack on that same +3 that Clinton saw in swing states that have new polls, that would flip Ohio and perhaps even Arizona.

PRESIDENT SNAPSHOT: ELECTORAL COLLEGE
Electoral College
September 19
October 3
CLINTON - TOTAL
287
322
Clinton - Solid
233
233
Clinton - Lean
35
35
Clinton - Tossup
19
54
Trump - Tossup
86
29
Trump - Lean
54
32
Trump - Solid
111
155
TRUMP - TOTAL
251
216



Swing States (EC)
Latest Polls                   as of Oct 3
BTRTN Rating
Nevada (6)
Clinton +6
Lean D
Colorado (9)
Clinton +5
Lean D
Pennsylvania (20)
Clinton +4
Lean D
N. Carolina (15)
Clinton +4
Toss-up D
Florida (29)
Clinton +3
Toss-up D
Wisconsin (10)
Clinton +2
Toss-up D
Ohio (18)
Trump +1
Toss-up R
Arizona (11)
Trump +3
Toss-up R
S. Carolina (9)
Trump +4
Lean R
Georgia (16)
Trump +5
Lean R
Iowa (6)
Trump +5
Lean R

‘*******************************
Here is the 50-state Snapshot.  Note that one Maine electoral vote is in the Lean GOP camp, while the other three are Solid Blue.  Rating changes are noted in CAPS in the last column.

ELECTORAL COLLEGE SNAPSHOT

2016 Electoral Votes
2012 Margin    (D-R)
Latest 2016 Polls as              of 10/1/16
BTRTN Rating as of 9/19
BTRTN Current Rating
DC
3
84

Solid
Solid
Hawaii
4
43

Solid
Solid
Maryland
10
25

Solid
Solid
Massachusetts
11
23

Solid
Solid
Vermont
3
36

Solid
Solid
California
55
21

Solid
Solid
New York
29
27

Solid
Solid
Washington
12
14

Solid
Solid
Illinois
20
16

Solid
Solid
New Jersey
14
17

Solid
Solid
Delaware
3
19

Solid
Solid
New Mexico
5
10

Solid
Solid
Oregon
7
12

Solid
Solid
Connecticut
7
18

Solid
Solid
Rhode Island
4
27

Solid
Solid
Maine
4
15

Solid*
Solid*
Minnesota
10
8

Solid
Solid
Virginia
13
3

Solid
Solid
Michigan
16
10

Lean
SOLID
New Hampshire
4
6

Toss-up
SOLID
Nevada
6
7
Clinton +6
Toss-up
LEAN
Colorado
9
5
Clinton +5
Lean
Lean
Pennsylvania
20
5
Clinton +4
Solid
LEAN
N. Carolina
15
-2
Clinton +4
Toss-up
Toss-up
Florida
29
1
Clinton +3
Toss-up
TOSS-UP
Wisconsin
10
7
Clinton +2
Lean
TOSS-UP
Ohio
18
2
Trump +1
Toss-up
Toss-up
Arizona
11
-11
Trump +3
Toss-up
Toss-up
S. Carolina
9
-11
Trump +4
Lean
Lean
Georgia
16
-8
Trump +5
Toss-up
LEAN
Iowa
6
6
Trump +5
Lean
Lean
Missouri
10
-10

Solid
Solid
Mississippi
6
-12

Toss-up
SOLID
Indiana
11
-11

Solid
Solid
Alaska
3
-13

Solid
Solid
Montana
3
-14

Solid
Solid
Texas
38
-16

Lean
SOLID
Utah
6
-48

Solid
Solid
Louisiana
8
-17

Solid
Solid
S. Dakota
3
-18

Solid
Solid
N. Dakota
3
-20

Solid
Solid
Tennessee
11
-21

Solid
Solid
Kansas
6
-22

Solid
Solid
Alabama
9
-22

Solid
Solid
Nebraska
5
-23

Solid
Solid
Kentucky
8
-23

Solid
Solid
Arkansas
6
-24

Solid
Solid
W. Virginia
5
-27

Solid
Solid
Idaho
4
-32

Solid
Solid
Oklahoma
7
-34

Solid
Solid
Wyoming
3
-41

Solid
Solid















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