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Republicans: Trump takes a clear delegate lead, Cruz and Rubio still the second tier

New Hampshire’s delegate rules are such that the winner gets a big bonus. (The details of how this works were discussed here last week.) So Trump’s approximately 36% of the vote turns into 55% of the delegates. Counting isn’t actually done yet, but if current trends hold, the delegate haul out of New Hampshire will be:

Trump 11, Kasich 3, Bush 2, Cruz 2, Rubio 2.

Adding these to the previous results in Iowa, and we have these new totals: Trump 18, Cruz 10, Rubio 9, Kasich 4, Bush 3, Carson 3, Fiorina 1, Huckabee 1, Paul 1.

In the form of a graph of the total delegates, we see this:

chart-36

Some groupings look apparent on this chart.

Trump is out by himself in the lead.

Cruz and Rubio make up a second tier, at about half of Trump’s level.

Kasich, Bush and Carson are the third tier. Way behind, but at least with multiple delegates.

Then finally Fiorina, Huckabee and Paul bringing up the rear with one delegate each. Two of these three have already dropped out. It will be surprising if the third does not do so soon.

How does this match what we’re hearing in the spin out of New Hampshire? Well, there is wide acknowledgment that Trump did have a nice win. But the majority of the attention still seems to have been on the race for second, and how that positions the anti-Trumps going forward.

Within that, relatively little attention was paid to Cruz, and he is still in 2nd. Rubio is being dismissed because he did badly in New Hampshire, but he is still in 3rd over all. Meanwhile lots of attention given to Kasich and Bush, but they are still stuck in the third tier with Carson with less than a handful of delegates.

Time to flip this and look at this in terms of my favorite metric, the “% of remaining needed to win”:

chart-37

Trump exceeded the 50.37% of the delegates he needed to get to improve his position. Going forward he needs 50.33% of delegates to be on a pace to win. That is a relatively small change. With almost 98% of delegates still to be determined, there is a huge amount of flexibility available here to all the candidates.

Given that Trump got 55% of the delegates in New Hampshire, that means however that NONE of the other candidates got what they needed, or even close. Essentially, every one of the non-Trump candidates fell further behind today.

Now, Trump still doesn’t have a majority of delegates. To be on a pace to actually win, rather than just to have the most delegates going into the convention, he needs to do better than he has so far. But he is far closer to that mark than any of the other candidates. And if he continues matching his New Hampshire results, he will win.

The story here continues to be that while Trump hasn’t managed a majority in any contest so far, the opposition is so divided that Trump still easily wins (New Hampshire) or at the very least comes very close (Iowa). Does this continue? Does it get worse?

Time to look at the next contest on the Republican side, South Carolina.

There have not been any South Carolina polls since before Iowa, so new polls are eagerly anticipated, but at the moment the RCP average has Trump at 36.0%, Cruz at 19.7%, Rubio at 12.7%, Bush at 10.0% and then everybody else.

Now, that may change. Specifically if either Rubio or Bush drop out that will scramble things a bit. But that may not happen. There is a case to be made for both of them sticking in at least through South Carolina.

Trump probably wins this. But by how much? Time to look at the delegate rules in South Carolina.

From Greenpapers:

  • 21 district delegates are to be allocated to presidential contenders based on the primary results in each of the state’s 7 congressional districts: each congressional district is assigned 3 National Convention delegates and the presidential contender receiving the greatest number of votes in that district will receive all 3 of that district’s National Convention delegates. [Rule 11(b)(4)]
  • 26 (10 base at-large delegates plus 16 bonus delegates) at-large delegates are to be allocated to the presidential contender receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary statewide. [Rule 11(b)(5)]
  • 3 party leaders, the National Committeeman, the National Committeewoman, and the chairman of the South Carolina’s Republican Party are pledged to the presidential contender receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary statewide.

If Trump wins by any margin, no matter how small, he gets 29 of the 50 delegates right up front. That already would give him 47 of the 100 delegates that would have been allocated in Iowa + New Hampshire + South Carolina.

Of course, in order to win the whole state, he would have had to have won some of the congressional districts too. Probably most of them. And so far in Iowa and New Hampshire, it doesn’t seem like there has been a lot of geographic lumpiness to Trump’s support. So he may well win ALL of the congressional districts. In that case Trump would walk out of South Carolina with all 50 of the available delegates. This is very possible.

In that scenario, after South Carolina, the overall delegate count would look like: Trump 68, Cruz 10, Rubio 9, Others 13

Trump would have a huge delegate lead. Even if he doesn’t win all 50, he will still have a very large delegate lead.

Nevada is three days after South Carolina. It is proportional, not semi-winner-take-all like South Carolina, but the latest polls still have Trump with a nice lead in Nevada. Those polls are old and out of date, but does anybody think two straight wins would hurt Trump’s position?

To “stop Trump” things have to move very quickly to a one on one with Trump vs Somebody. Maybe a three way race could do it, but might just be a recipe for a contested convention. But as long as we’re still looking at four or five candidates splitting the non-Trump vote, Trump wins.

But the non-Trumps still seem to be in a locked battle with each other for that anti-Trump one on one slot. And in doing so, they just let Trump win. The race will of course consolidate further. More candidates will drop out. Some may drop out before South Carolina. But it is unclear if that will be enough to let one of the others actually win in South Carolina.

Trump won New Hampshire. Trump looks like he will probably win the next two states. Things get more complicated once we get into March, but Trump would get there with a substantial lead.

Things are by no means settled yet. There is a long way to go. Even after we get past both South Carolina and Nevada 94.6% of delegates will still be up for grabs. There will still be time for the non-Trumps.

But if we only get consolidation down to 2 or three candidates after the March 1st contests, when 25.8% of the total delegates will be decided, the non-Trumps that are left may have a really tough uphill fight to catch up.

If consolidation doesn’t happen until after March 15th, 60% of the delegates will already have been decided, and it may just be too late. (Although if several non-Trumps are still strong at that point and Trump has the lead but not a majority, we’re looking at a contested convention, and that starts getting into completely different scenarios.)

But if the non-Trumps want to actually win, they have to stop fighting each other, some of them have to drop out, and they have to actually act like Trump is the frontrunner, and that their priority has to be bringing him down rather than each other. Otherwise they are done, and Trump ends up walking away with this.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks both a poll based estimate of the Electoral College and a numbers based look at the Delegate Races. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or like Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates or to join the conversation. For those interested in individual general election poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as they are added.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Finally Past Iowa

We made it past Iowa! We have Iowa results! We have brand new speculation about New Hampshire and beyond! Yes, of course, the bulk of this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast is Sam and Ivan discussing where the presidential race sits in this week between Iowa and New Hampshire. We go over all of the results so far, then discuss how candidates, the media and the public are reacting to those results, and what that means for the rest of the contest. Plus, for the first time in a little while, we do a lightning round as well, covering bluetooth audio issues, Iran, the Flint water crisis, tech earnings results, and more!

Click below to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

CCCover20151125bw
Recorded 2016-02-04

Length this week – 2:12:09

 1-Click Subscribe in iTunes
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Show Details:

  • (0:00:10-0:05:11) Intro
    • Pi O’Clock Again
    • Agenda
    • Talking Politics
  • (0:06:00-0:29:42) Republicans in Iowa
    • Loser.com
    • Headlines
    • Delegate Totals
    • Spin
    • Polling Wrong?
    • People Dropping Out
    • Carson/Cruz blow up
    • Speeches
  • (0:30:45-0:43:55) Democrats in Iowa
    • Close Race
    • Not a Surprise
    • Delegate Totals
    • Spin
    • Demographic Split
  • (0:44:33-1:24:33) Republicans in New Hampshire and beyond
    • Delegate Rules
    • Delegate Hypothetical
    • Will we get good New Hampshire polls?
    • Contest Calendar
    • Trump reacts to losing
    • How will New Hampshire react to Iowa?
    • Divided anti-Trump vote
    • Trump Strategy
    • Bush done?
    • Big last minute moves?
    • Gilmore
    • post-New Hampshire
    • Predictions
  • (1:25:53-1:42:08) Democrats in New Hampshire and beyond
    • Sanders will win New Hampshire
    • post-New Hampshire
    • Delegate Allocation
    • How will Clinton react to losing?
    • No Clinton Backup
    • Clinton emails
    • Clinton collapse scenarios
  • (1:43:24-2:11:49) Lightning Round
    • Car Bluetooth Audio
    • Movie: Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000)
    • Iran Deal Implementation
    • Flint Water Crisis
    • Oregon Militia Standoff Ended
    • Apple Earnings
    • Alphabet Market Cap
    • Feedback on Performance Reviews
    • Feedback on Sam’s Writing
    • Growing Show

Republicans: Minor Delegate Shuffling and a New Hampshire Hypothetical

Yesterday’s update was preliminary, and I ended up using the delegate estimates provided by the AP which were used at the New York Times, Washington Post, and other places. My favorite source, Green Papers, had a different set of numbers. When I tried to calculate delegate numbers myself, I came up with yet another set of numbers. I ended up going with the AP numbers.

A little more than a day later and Green Papers updated, now matching what I had calculated myself. So I’m updating the estimates accordingly.

This moves us from:

8 Cruz, 7 Trump, 7 Rubio, 3 Carson, 1 Bush, 1 Paul

to

7 Cruz, 7 Trump, 6 Rubio, 3 Carson, 1 Bush, 1 Fiorina, 1 Kasich, 1 Paul.

The main change here is one less delegate each to Cruz and Rubio, with those delegates picked up at the bottom end by Fiorina and Kasich.

But wait! There is more! The Washington Post and Politico both add two additional delegates. The 27 allocated by the caucus results were already accounted for, so these would be two of the three “party leaders” who end up as automatic delegates. No indication of which party leader did what, but they add one additional delegate each to Cruz and Rubio.

The new Iowa totals become:

8 Cruz, 7 Rubio, 7 Trump, 3 Carson, 1 Bush, 1 Fiorina, 1 Kasich, 1 Paul.

Between these two changes, the net is simply adding the delegates for Fiorina and Kasich. This means 29 of the 30 Iowa delegates are now accounted for.

Note that even though Paul has “suspended his campaign”, he keeps his delegate unless he explicitly releases it.

The raw delegate count chart now looks like this:

chart-30

Just a little uptick at the end for Fiorina and Kasich to join Bush and Paul at the 1 delegate mark.

Flipping this over to look at “% of remaining needed to win”:

chart-31

On this chart, lower is better. When you get down to 0% you win. If you get to 100% you are eliminated. Everybody is still heading upward, not downward, but it is still very early. The whole field here ranges from needing 50.31% of the remaining delegates, to needing 50.59% of the remaining delegates.

Looking specifically at New Hampshire, there are 20 delegates at stake. We are so early, and the % needed numbers so close, that this is easy. The number needed to be on track to win is 11 delegates. Anything less, and the candidate is actually going to be in a harder position in the next contest rather than an easier one.

Let’s game out New Hampshire based on the current RCP averages. Yes, yes, this is based on polling before New Hampshire. Things will change in the next six days. But this is just to model how it works.

The rules via The Green Papers:

  • 20 National Convention delegates are to be bound proportionally to presidential contenders based on the primary vote statewide.
  • A 10% threshold is required in order for a presidential contender to be allocated National Convention delegates.
  • Allocate delegates based on the 20 × candidate’s vote ÷ total statewide vote. Round to the nearest whole number.
  • Any delegate positions that remain open are awarded to the candidate with the highest statewide vote total.

Assume each candidate gets exactly their poll average today. Only the candidates over 10% matter, so with RCP as of right now that is:

33.4% Trump, 12.2% Cruz, 10.8% Rubio, 10.4% Kasich

Converting this to delegates with the rounding rules above, you get:

7 Trump, 2 Cruz, 2 Kasich, 2 Rubio

This is only 13, so there are 7 delegates left. According to the last rule, these all go to the leader, so we end up with:

14 Trump, 2 Cruz, 2 Kasich, 2 Rubio

And therefore Trump would get 70% of the delegates despite only getting 33.7% of the vote. Trump’s line on the “% needed to win” would go down, while everybody else would go up.

After this hypothetical New Hampshire result, the overall race would be:

21 Trump, 10 Cruz, 9 Rubio, 3 Carson, 3 Kasich, 1 Bush, 1 Paul, 1 Fiorina.

Trump would still only have 42.9% of the delegates, which is not a majority, but Cruz would be way back at 20.4% and you’d have Trump starting to pull away from the pack. Still only 1.98% of delegates allocated at that point though, with lots of room for further changes.

The RCP average on February 3rd is NOT going to look like the actual results on Primary night. This is just an example.

The points to take away:

  • The detailed delegate rules matter, you don’t necessarily have to win a popular vote majority to win a delegate majority.
  • We’re still so very early, one contest can have a major effect on the delegate totals, and each state is very different, so don’t put much stock in extrapolating Iowa to future contests.

Of course New Hampshire will be here soon enough, and we’ll do this with the real results.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks both a poll based estimate of the Electoral College and a numbers based look at the Delegate Races. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or like Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates or to join the conversation. For those interested in individual general election poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as they are added.

Republicans: Three Way Race out of Iowa

Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans didn’t have years of superdelegates endorsing one candidate or another, so Iowa really was a clean slate. The very first delegates earned in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination. The headlines are of course that Trump underperformed the poll-based expectations letting Cruz slide to a win, while Rubio outperformed his expectations, coming in a close third. This is all true.

But it is also true that only a tiny fraction of the delegates have been allocated so far. None of the candidates got a majority in Iowa either. So nobody is actually yet on a track to overall victory. Cruz may be slightly ahead, but Trump and Rubio are right at his heels. Cruz is not in a dominating position. It really is a three person race.

Looking at the raw delegate graph quickly…

chart-29

…you immediately notice that we just have a really boring graph with a few straight lines. And Rubio’s line and Trump’s line completely overlap too. As do Bush and Paul’s lines. That’s because this is our first real data point after everyone was just at zero.

All of the graphs are like this. So just this once, lets skip the graphs and look at the summary table instead:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 09.55.24606

I’ll note here that Green Papers has slightly different numbers. But the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN all agree with the estimates above, so for the moment that is what we’ll go with here.

It is clear that Cruz/Rubio/Trump are in a separate class here than Carson/Bush/Paul. But even these three would need to nearly double their performance to actually be on a track to win, because, well, you have to be getting more than half of the delegates to win outright. 25% to 30% won’t get you there. So at some point, somebody has to start going over the 50% mark if there is going to be a winner.

There is plenty of time for that of course. Nobody is predicting a contested convention quite yet, as much fun as that would be.

We probably won’t see anyone over 50% after New Hampshire either, but how close we get may depend on the viability thresholds. In New Hampshire on the Republican side you need to get 10% of the popular vote to be eligible for delegates. Although this will definitely change in response to the Iowa results, at the moment RCP has Trump at 33.2%, Cruz at 11.5%, Kasich at 11.5%, Bush at 10.3%, and Rubio at 9.5%. The rest are pretty far from 10%. But that is four candidates all within a couple percent of 10%.

Depending on which of those ends up right above or right below the 10% threshold, you could see very different delegate results coming out of New Hampshire. Most likely, we’ll have three or four candidates over 10% and a mix of delegates, but in the extreme case, if all but Trump drops under 10%, then Trump gets all the delegates. So a wide range of things is possible based on really small movements from the current positions in the polls.

Final points here though to the people saying Iowa proves that Trump is done…

  • Trump was pretty close in Iowa. A one delegate difference means almost nothing.
  • Although the Iowa results may diminish it, Trump starts with a big lead in New Hampshire.
  • Only 1.09% of the Republican delegates have been determined so far.

We have a three way race right now. It is not inconceivable that a 4th candidate could do well enough in New Hampshire to join that group. Things are just as up in the air and chaotic on the Republican side as they were before Iowa. Anything could still happen.

Stay tuned.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks both a poll based estimate of the Electoral College and a numbers based look at the Delegate Races. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElectionGraphs on Twitter or like Election Graphs on Facebook to see announcements of updates or to join the conversation. For those interested in individual general election poll updates, follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for all the polls as they are added.

Electoral College: Did Clinton already bottom against the Republican field?

My primary race delegate tracking for both parties will be out very soon…  promise. In the mean time, rather than just looking at the delegate leaders on each side against each other, we continue to concentrate on the five best polled candidate combinations.

With a batch of new polls added in North Carolina, Florida, and New Hampshire, it starts to look like the long trend of Clinton getting weaker and weaker against a wide variety of Republican rivals may have ended. Maybe. For now. A little bit. Things will change before we are done. Polls like these aren’t predictive of the general election until after the conventions. Caveat caveat caveat.

Lets look at each category change by state:

Florida (29 EV)

Of the best five polled candidate combinations, two Republicans have their positions deteriorate against Clinton in this update, Bush and Rubio:

chart (71)

chart (72)

Both candidates seemed to peak in late September or early October, and since then have been weakening. With the latest set of poll updates, both states move from being weakly on the Republican side of the line, to being Weak Clinton. The “weak” here should be emphasized. Clinton’s lead over Bush in the average is only 0.5%, and over Rubio it is only 0.2%.  This is about as close as you can get. Since for the analysis here any lead under 5% is considered as one that could easily disappear overnight, at these even smaller margins, this is essentially a tie. But for the last few months, the movement has been in Clinton’s direction.

North Carolina (15 EV)

In North Carolina, once again Bush and Rubio lose ground to Clinton. Although technically with the current update Clinton vs Trump dropped to the 6th best polled candidate combination, I know the Trumpets will want to hear about how he is doing, so I’ll mention that Trump also weakens in North Carolina. Yes, yes, I know that any such indications are just propaganda from the vast establishment conspiracy of which I am a part. But anyway… looking at the charts:

chart (73)

chart (74)

chart (75)

In this case the averages for Bush and Trump against Clinton move from Weak Republican to Weak Clinton, but once again the “weak” is the key here. Clinton leads Bush by 0.1% and Trump by 0.3%. So again, super close. A move from just barely on one side of the line to just barely on the other side of the line isn’t really too meaningful except if it seems part of a larger movement. In the case of Bush, the average seems to have been moving toward Clinton for several months. In the case of Trump, it is more bouncing around in a range over the past few months.

Rubio does a bit better here.  North Carolina had actually been in the “Strong Rubio” category for a few months, with the poll average showing a Rubio lead of over 5%. With the latest update, Rubio’s lead slips under 5% to 4.2%, which means I once again consider North Carolina a state that could go either way in this matchup, but Rubio still has a lead.

New Hampshire [4 EV]

New Hampshire is the one state that has good news for the Republicans in this update. No category changes for Bush, Rubio, or Trump…  but this time Cruz jumps into a new category.

chart (76)

Cruz’s recent movement in New Hampshire is the opposite of the trends we were looking at for the other candidates in the other states. Cruz is gaining on Clinton in New Hampshire. For the first time, the state starts to look competitive in this match up. Clinton is still up 4.2% in the average, but now it is conceivably within reach for Cruz.

National Ranges

So with all these various changes, what do things look like nationally for all these candidate pairs? Here we go:

chart (77)

With Florida and North Carolina back out of his column, the result if everybody just wins the states they are ahead in now sits at Bush losing by 144 electoral votes. If he manages to flip the states where Clinton is ahead by less than 5% he could still win by up to 104 electoral votes though, so while Bush is behind, this is still a race.

chart (78)

Before this update, Clinton vs Rubio was actually expected to be a narrow 10 electoral vote Rubio win. But if you take Florida away, that changes into a 48 electoral vote loss. With North Carolina also now considered a possibility for Clinton, Clinton’s “best case” improves to a 156 electoral vote win. Rubio’s best case is still a 116 electoral vote win though, so this matchup is also a real race that could go either way.

chart (79)

On the other hand… making New Hampshire possible brings Cruz’s best case… where he wins every state he is ahead in, plus all the states where Clinton’s lead is less than 5%…  to Cruz losing by 76 electoral votes. This is better than it was. Cruz has been improving since last spring. But he is still not yet in a place that would make a Clinton vs Cruz race even competitive. Right now that matchup looks like an easy Clinton win.

Now, the Real Clear Politics average for Clinton vs Cruz actually shows Cruz ahead of Clinton right now. (Rubio too.)  How does this mesh? First thing to note is that the state level polling that the estimates on this site are based on are still not happening quickly enough to show national movement that happens on timeframes less than a few months. So it is quite possible there has been a recent move just isn’t reflected in the state numbers yet. If so, if Cruz ends up the nominee, there will be a lot more polling, and we’ll see the state level analysis move toward the national numbers as more data becomes available.  It is of course also possible that Cruz’s support is distributed between states in such a way that gives him a popular vote advantage while still leaving him behind in the electoral college. To be frank though, that is less likely.

Given that, it is reasonable to think that perhaps the gains Cruz showed in the New Hampshire update today are quite likely happening in other states as well, there just isn’t the polling available yet to show it on a state by state basis. So Cruz may be stronger than he appears on this chart.

chart (80)

There really wasn’t polling on Trump before this summer, so most if not all of the movement seen here is not real movement, but just the process of getting enough polls to have a reasonable picture of how Trump is doing.  The “expected” case doesn’t show a real trend, it has just bounced around a bit. Trump’s best case kept improving as more polls became available. At the moment, the state poll averages show a Clinton vs Trump race could reasonably be anywhere from a 156 electoral vote Clinton win to a 102 electoral vote Trump win, with the “expected case” being an 80 electoral vote win by Clinton. But this matchup DOES look like a real race, not a Clinton rout. Trump does better against Clinton than either Cruz or Bush. Of these four, only Rubio does better.

Or course, I should repeat all the usual caveats again. See the top of this post. There is still lots of time. Everything can and will change over the next few months.

291.9 days until the polls start to close. 11 days until the Iowa caucuses.

This whole thing is going to start moving very quickly very soon.

PS for Sanders fans: Although no match up vs Sanders has been polled enough to talk about in detail here, with today’s updates Sanders strengthened vs Rubio in North Carolina, while weakening against both Rubio and Cruz in Florida.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. All of the charts and graphs seen here are from that site. Graphs, charts and raw data can be found there for the race nationally and in each state for every candidate combination that has been polled at the state level. In addition, comparisons of the best polled candidate combinations both nationally and each in each state are available. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for specific poll details as I add them. And like Election Graphs on Facebook!

Electoral College: Clinton leads Bush in New Hampshire again (and increases lead on other Republicans too)

Election Graphs will be rolling out our primary delegate race coverage before the Iowa caucuses, but in the mean time, we’ve just had the first state level general election polls of the New Year. It is a PPP poll in New Hampshire. There was only one candidate pair where the new polls changed my classification of New Hampshire though.

Clinton vs Bush

chart-4

For all but a few days in November, Bush had held a lead against Clinton in my poll averages since the end of July. Just barely. But he had hung onto that lead. With the latest poll though, Clinton leads in four of the last five polls, and by enough to take a lead in the average. New Hampshire moves from “Weak Bush” to “Weak Clinton”. The lead is still slim at 2.2%, so the state is still very much in the “could easily go either way” category, but it is enough to put New Hampshire back in Clinton’s column in the case where we give each state to the current leader.

chart-5

That little notch downward on the center line at the right hand side of the bubble is New Hampshire flipping to Clinton. We go from Clinton winning by 48 electoral votes, to Clinton winning by 56 electoral votes. Either way, Clinton is ahead, but the election is within the “bubble of uncertainty” since if you give Bush all the states where Clinton is ahead, but by less than 5%, Bush wins by 104 electoral votes.

A Clinton vs Bush matchup could go either way.

But, if the primary polls are to be believed, at this point Clinton vs Bush is a relatively unlikely scenario, so even though there were no other category changes, lets take a quick look at how the latest polls affected some of the other matchups.

New Hampshire Matchup Comparison

chart-6

Looking at the five best polled candidate combinations nationally, the latest New Hampshire poll included three of the five (Bush, Trump and Cruz). In all three cases, the Republican weakened vs Clinton.

For Trump and Cruz though, this just meant Clinton’s already strong lead in New Hampshire got stronger. It makes no difference what so ever to their possible races against Clinton if they were to win the nomination.

Aside from Bush, the only one of these five that makes New Hampshire close is Paul, but that should be taken with a big grain of salt because he hasn’t been included in a general election match up poll in New Hampshire since August. So that data is a bit stale.

Looking beyond the top five though, to what is currently the sixth best polled combination by my metric, you actually see another candidate that makes New Hampshire close with Clinton, and in fact in that case the latest polls actually improved the Republican’s average. That would be Clinton vs Rubio:

chart-7

Of the 10 candidate pairs included in the latest polls…  Clinton and Sanders vs Bush, Carson, Cruz, Rubio and Trump… Clinton vs Rubio is the only combination where the Republican’s poll average improved.

Does this imply larger things for the country at large? No, not really. New Hampshire is a special case in many ways. It is getting a huge amount of attention right now due to the upcoming primary. What is going on there right now in terms of public opinion may or may not be reflected in trends elsewhere.

So, as usual, we need to just wait for more polls. Which states get polled in the next few months is probably going to be highly influenced by the primary calendar as well, so the picture we see in the state polls will be warped a bit by that.

And of course once we have actual delegate numbers in both parties showing which candidates are actually leading in the nomination races, it starts changing perceptions of the general election, which may in turn cause more movement in the state polls.

Keep checking in with Election Graphs. We’ll be launching our delegate tracking soon, and it looks like the kind of election cycle where watching the delegate situation carefully may actually be needed.

In other words, we’re almost at Iowa, and things are going to get crazy. Hold on and have fun!

304.0 days until the general election polls start to close.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. All of the charts and graphs seen here are from that site. Graphs, charts and raw data can be found there for the race nationally and in each state for every candidate combination that has been polled at the state level. In addition, comparisons of the best polled candidate combinations both nationally and each in each state are available. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for specific poll details as I add them. And like Election Graphs on Facebook!

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Full of Spoilers (but not for THAT)

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about the Fed raising interest rates, and of course we spend a long time on the Presidential race. To round it out we briefly touch on wifi networking, dedicated cameras vs smartphone cameras, Star Wars, the Shkeli arrest, hoverboards, self-driving cars, and more. Oh, and 6 year old Alex joins us to talk about the exciting events of Minecraft Storymode Episode 4.

Click below to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

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Recorded 2015-12-18

Length this week – 1:37:29

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Show Details:

  • (0:00:49-0:13:27) But First
    • Agenda
    • Home Wifi Networking
    • Standalone Cameras vs Phone Cameras
  • (0:14:05-0:27:42) Fed Interest Rates
    • What is this Fed Rate?
    • What is “near zero”
    • Reason for raising rates
    • Negative interest rates
    • Other countries that raised rates
    • What affect will this have?
    • Ivan Disconnect
    • Wrap Up
  •  (0:28:26-1:10:10) Election 2016
    • Press driving Trump phenomenon?
    • Trump fatigue?
    • Lots can change, but…
    • Early State Dynamics
    • Odds Adjustments
    • Latest Republican Debate
    • Trump third party statements
    • Where are the Democrats?
    • Sanders accessing Clinton data (breaking)
    • Alex Interlude: Minecraft Storymode Episode 4
  • (1:10:59-1:37:09) Lightning Round
    • Star Wars
    • Budget Deal
    • Shkreli arrest
    • Climate Deal
    • Hoverboards
    • Rules for Self-Driving Cars
    • Bush Momentum?
    • What could hurt Trump?
    • Trump vs Perot

Electoral College: Trump First Look – Do Not Underestimate

At long last, there has been enough state level polling in enough states over a long enough period of time that Trump makes it onto my “top five best polled candidate pairs” list. Until now, there simply was still more and better polling data around various other candidates, simply because they had been considered “contenders” for longer, and so therefore had amassed a wider variety of polls in more states. But no longer. It is time to look at Clinton vs Trump.

The various ups and downs over the last few months should not be considered real changes in Trump’s support. Instead, it is simply the the “average of the last five general elections” starting point that I use for each state gradually being replaced with real polling data on Clinton vs Trump. So we’ll only start looking at trends and changes starting now.

But where are we right now? With the usual caveats about how long it is until the election, lets do the rundown:

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So… Clinton wins based on the current state level polling. But it is close. The tipping point state only has a Clinton lead of 2.4%. So 1.2% of people nationwide changing their minds, or the undecideds leaning Republican, or a systematic polling bias… all could easily wipe out that lead.

There is a lot of talk about how if Trump ends up as the nominee, we would see a Democratic win with margins unheard of since Reagan’s landslide over Mondale. This is by no means clear.

People point to how uncomfortable people are with Trump. For instance this CBS/NYT Poll from today shows 64% of the voting public “concerned or scared” about Trump becoming president. Sounds huge right? How can anybody win with numbers like that? But then you notice that, wait, in the same poll, 57% of the voting public are “concerned or scared” about Clinton becoming president. When you put those two together, it isn’t at all clear how things would work when you put the two head to head.

People talk about how Trump just couldn’t possibly win. How he alienates certain key voting blocs. How he will surely implode at some point. All sorts of reasons are mentioned. But a lot of them just boil down to “there is just no way, I don’t believe it.”

And they may be right that he won’t win. The analysis above shows Clinton winning over Trump. Most head to head polling nationally that I have seen shows Clinton winning. RCP’s Clinton vs Trump average has Clinton up by 3.3% today. But all indications with polling today show Clinton vs Trump as close. Not a Clinton blowout.

Now, to make explicit the caveat I noted at the top, there is a long time until the election. We don’t even have nominees yet. Trump winning the nomination is still one possibility among many. And even Clinton hasn’t wrapped things up yet. And a lot can happen in a campaign. General election polls this far out are NOT PREDICTIVE of the final result. They show us how things are RIGHT NOW at best. Things will move between now and next November.

But is there any reason to believe that all of the movement will be toward Clinton? That people will see the Clinton vs Trump comparison as the campaign rolls on and all gravitate to Clinton? It COULD work out that way.

But it is also quite possible that Clinton has bumps along the road that don’t look too great for her either. That the economy hits a rough spot. That Trump does what he has done so well against several primary opponents and finds just the right things to say at just the right moments to put Clinton in a negative light and turn people who were on the fence against her.

Clinton may well win a Clinton/Trump matchup. In fact if I had to wager on it right now, I’d bet on Clinton winning. And there is a chance Clinton could indeed pull off a landslide after a Trump melt down. But this is not a clear and obvious result at this point. Trump could in fact pull off a win. From the current position in the polls, he only has to move things ever so slightly to get there. Clinton winning, but not in a blowout, but in a close competitive race, is actually a very likely outcome.

Folks predicting that a Trump nomination automatically means a Democratic landslide… underestimate Trump at your own peril.

He has shown time and time again over the last few months that the “conventional wisdom” can be dead wrong. He may yet implode. But this should not be taken for granted. Right now he tops the polls nationally and in all the early states for the Republican nomination. And the general election polls show him doing better than Romney did in both the electoral college and the popular vote. To be clear… not winning… but doing better than Romney did… and within reach of a win if just a few things slid his way.

Looking for a second at other Clinton vs Republican pairings, and going past the “Top 5 best polled” combinations I usually talk about to pick up Rubio and Carson, lets see which of the Republicans are currently most competitive against Clinton based on my analysis. Here are the Top 5 Republicans in terms of how they fare in the Electoral College against Clinton:

  • Clinton vs Rubio: Rubio wins by 2 electoral votes
  • Clinton vs Carson: Clinton wins by 2 electoral votes
  • Clinton vs Trump: Clinton wins by 38 electoral votes
  • Clinton vs Bush: Clinton wins by 48 electoral votes
  • Clinton vs Cruz: Clinton wins by 108 electoral votes

All the other Republicans are even further behind. For comparison, Romney lost by 126 electoral votes.

Rubio actually is slightly ahead right now, but barely. He is the only Republican who can say they are leading Clinton right now.

But really Clinton vs Rubio, Carson, Trump and Bush are all in the “too close to call” category. For each of these four Republicans, the “best case”, where the Republicans pick up the states where Clinton is ahead, but by less than 5%, result in a Republican win. These races are all competitive.

Cruz? Huckabee? Paul? Christie? None of these guys are even close in head to head matches with Clinton.

Trump is not in that category. Although meltdowns are always possible, and indeed, he hasn’t even gotten the nomination yet… Clinton vs Trump certainly has a strong possibility of being a close competitive race.

Do not underestimate Trump.

334.0 days until polls start to close on Election Day 2016. Buckle your seatbelt.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. All of the charts and graphs seen here are from that site. Graphs, charts and raw data can be found there for the race nationally and in each state for every candidate combination that has been polled at the state level. In addition, comparisons of the best polled candidate combinations both nationally and each in each state are available. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for specific poll details as I add them. And like Election Graphs on Facebook!

Electoral College: Bush weakens, a first look at Cruz, and mixed news for Rubio

After a busy week including several days without power at Election Graphs HQ, I caught up on the 62 poll results that had been released in the last week. There were polls in eight different states (NV, IA, NH, SC, FL, CO, VA and WI) and for many different candidate combinations. With all of that though, there were only a few significant changes to the “best polled” candidate combinations that I comment on here.

Clinton vs Bush (best polled) 

There were two polls for Clinton vs Bush in New Hampshire. Taken one by one, they show New Hampshire slipping back to the Clinton side of the fence for a few days, then back to a narrow Bush lead. Both taken together though, New Hampshire is in the same state as before this set of polls was included. This leaves the “expected case” at Clinton winning by 48 EV.

There was also a poll in Virginia though, and while the state was “Weak Clinton” before, and “Weak Clinton” after, Clinton’s margin increased, and improved Clinton’s “tipping point” against Bush. As a reminder, the tipping point is the margin in the state that would push the winning candidate over the edge. This can also be thought of as the amount the national polls would have to shift (assuming all states shifted uniformly) to change the winner. So it is essentially how close the race is taking into account the structure of the electoral college.

chart-108

This is the first move toward Clinton in the tipping point against Bush since March. Is this a possible indication that Clinton has reached her floor and has started a rebound? Or is this just a blip, or something specific to Bush? Only more polls will tell.

Clinton vs Cruz (2nd best polled)

Since Clinton vs Cruz is just coming on to the five best polled list today, I won’t spend time looking at recent trends or changes. Instead, lets just look at where this combination sits right now:

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Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 01.33.57243

In other words, Cruz does pretty badly against Clinton at the moment. Rubio and Bush at least are making it close. Cruz is not.

Clinton vs Rubio (7th best polled)

Speaking of Rubio, with today’s update, Clinton vs Rubio actually falls off the “five best polled combinations” list, replaced by Clinton vs Cruz. I suspect Rubio may get back on this list soon, but in the meantime, here are the changes in this last update.

After a couple weeks with Rubio’s lead in Florida over 5%, with the latest update, the average falls to Rubio +4.1%, again making Florida a “Weak Rubio” classification, meaning that while Rubio is ahead, the state is within reach for Clinton, and could easily flip.

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Florida is a big state, so this has a big impact on Clinton’s best case (where she wins all the Weak Rubio states in addition to the states she is actually ahead in).

chart-110

You can see the ragged lower edge of the “bubble” in the chart above. That is primarily Florida going in and out of the group of states considered possible for Clinton. For the moment, it is back in. The “expected case” is still Rubio winning by a razor thin 2 EV, but her best case is now back up to winning by 126 EV. So, Clinton strengthening?

Well, maybe, but at the same time, another poll increases Rubio’s average in Colorado, in turn improving Rubio’s tipping point against Clinton:

chart-111

So, Clinton’s best case improves from winning by 68 EV to winning by 126 EV. But at the same time the tipping point moves from Rubio up by 0.1% in Colorado, to Rubio up by 2.6% in Pennsylvania. All in all this is a mixed bag of news, but on balance I’d say Rubio is better off here. So maybe don’t stock up quite yet on that Clinton recovery narrative.

Others

As usual, there are others getting lots of media attention currently that never-the-less have not yet had the sustained polling volume across a lot of close states to get on the “five best polled” according to my metric. This means looking at the results for those candidate pairs is a bit less reliable, but since there is continued interest, here are links to a few of those along with the current “expected” result for each:

351.9 days until the first general election polls start to close. A lot will change before then. Stay tuned.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. All of the charts and graphs seen here are from that site. Graphs, charts and raw data can be found there for the race nationally and in each state for every candidate combination that has been polled at the state level. In addition, comparisons of the best polled candidate combinations both nationally and each in each state are available. All charts above are clickable to go to the current version of the detail page the chart is from, which may contain more up to date information than the snapshots on this page, which were current as of the time of this post. Follow @ElecCollPolls on Twitter for specific poll details as I add them. And like Election Graphs on Facebook!

Curmudgeon’s Corner: How was I to know?

This week on the Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast Sam and Ivan’s big topics are the Presidential race, the 2015 off-year elections, and the Sinai plane crash. In the Lightning Round we also touch on Bitcoin’s surge, Mythbusters, Twitter’s stars and hearts, and more! We start off though with Ivan on team building exercises, and Sam on locking himself out of his car in college. All the usual fun and excitement!

Click to listen or subscribe… then let us know your own thoughts!

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Recorded 2015-11-05

Length this week – 1:43:46

 1-Click Subscribe in iTunes
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Show Details:

  • (0:00:10-0:12:02) But First
    • Agenda
    • On the road
    • Team Building
    • Locking keys in the car
  • (0:13:20-0:45:21) Election 2016
    • Debate Thoughts
    • Carson Ahead!
    • Bush Failure
    • Trump on SNL
    • Democratic Polls
  • (0:46:23-1:05:37) Election 2015
    • Local vs National Bifurcation
    • How much trouble are the Dems in?
    • Alternating Parties
    • Kentucky Polling
    • Interpreting Polls
  • (1:06:54-1:20:29) Sinai Plane Crash
    • GHWB Biography Tidbits
    • The Plane Crash
    • Was it a bomb?
    • Change in tactics for ISIS?
    • How will Russia respond?
    • Airline Security Implications
    • How long until we really know what happened?
  • (1:21:34-1:43:26) Lightning Round
    • Bitcoin surge
    • Movie: Caravan of Courage
    • Fred Thompson
    • Mythbusters canceled
    • YouTube Red
    • Twitter stars and hearts