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Curmudgeon’s Corner: Stuff Like That

On Curmudgeon’s Corner this week, Sam and Ivan dive into the latest developments in the Trumpcare saga, the revelation of the second Trump/Putin meeting, and Trump’s revealing interview with the New York Times. Rounding out the show, shorter discussions of wearing different sorts of glasses, John McCain’s diagnosis, odd happenings in Florida, and some factoids from Wiki of the Day.

Click below to listen and subscribe!

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Show Details:

Recorded 2017-07-20
Length this week – 2:15:16

  • (0:00:58-0:38:59) But First
    • Agenda
    • Glasses
    • John McCain
    • Beep update
    • Mensch correction
    • Florida tag
    • WotD factoids
  • (0:39:38-1:12:56) Healthcare
    • Feedback
    • Several rounds
    • The conservative case
    • Entitlement ratchet
    • Deal making
    • Bipartisan approach
    • Odds for Trumpcare
    • Obamacare crash and burn
    • Logic of repeal only
  • (1:13:32-1:38:47) Trump and Putin
    • Trump on Russian winters
    • 1st Trump/Putin meeting
    • 2nd Trump/Putin meeting
    • Perceptions
    • Expanding Don Jr meeting
    • 7 circles of Trump
    • Too stupid to know?
    • Quid pro quo?
  • (1:40:07-2:14:57) Trump Interview
    • Trump on Sessions
    • Staffing agencies
    • Christie’s cellphone
    • Why aren’t more people quitting?
    • Trump on Mueller
    • Manafort finances
    • Trump on other people

 

The Curmudgeon’s Corner theme music is generously provided by Ray Lynch.

Our intro is “The Oh of Pleasure” (Amazon MP3 link)

Our outro is “Celestial Soda Pop” (Amazon MP3 link)

Both are from the album “Deep Breakfast” (iTunes link)

Please buy his music and support his GoFundMe.

Electoral College: Trump makes it tight again

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states and DC.

Notable changes in: Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), and the tipping point

National Summary

It has been about two days since the last update. While there are mixed changes since then, on balance this is a good update for Trump, and the race looks closer than it did two days ago.

There will be one more update later today to capture any last minute polls released after the cutoff for this update. (There have already been a handful.)

Good for Trump

  • The expected case moves from Clinton winning by 108 EV to Clinton winning by only 8 EV.
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 1.8% in NC to Clinton by 1.6% in PA

Good for Clinton

  • Trump’s best case has deteriorated from a 112 EV win to only a 66 EV win

No Change

  • Clintons best case remains steady at a 210 EV win

Charts

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Discussion

The fact that Trump’s best case is getting worse is pretty much irrelevant. Either candidate winning all the close states is a very low probability event. A few months out it is good to show how things might reasonably move. But on election day, the expected electoral college and the tipping point are the two numbers to watch.

In the last update I speculated that because the tipping point and expected electoral college votes were going in different directions Trump may have topped out. But the movement toward Trump seemed to have a little bit of life in it yet. With the latest batch of update, the Election Graphs poll averages for Florida, North Carolina, and Nevada all move from just barely blue to just barely red. And the tipping point gets a bit narrower too.

Some have suggested there may a strategy to intentionally release Republican leaning polls at the last minute specifically to influence the poll averages, and the impact of some of these polls has been shown to be significant. This probably has something to do with the moves here too. But this site’s philosophy is to basically include all polls with very few exceptions, and when you throw everything in, this is the move you get. Given non-poll-related information on early vote results and such, I have my doubts about Florida and Nevada, but this site will stick to what the numbers say…

…and the numbers say that it is looking very close again. In the expected case Clinton wins by only 8 electoral votes. To flip the election, Trump only has to win Pennsylvania, and Clinton’s lead there is down to 1.6%.

The tipping point margin isn’t quite as small as it it was in September when it was down to 0.4%, but it is close enough that you could easily imagine a Trump win. Right?

Lets check the sites doing odds again for what they think the chances of a Trump win are…

The median estimate of Trump’s chances 2 days ago was 12%. Now it is 14%. So, slight increase, but not a huge one. And if you look at the individual estimates above, many actually went down since two days ago. But if everything is closer, why?

Well, each of the models of course have their own methods, and the movements in each would have a different explanation. Some of them discount or don’t include at all some of the pollsters showing the Trump movement that has moved my averages.

But just looking at the state of the race as a whole instead of specific models… Trump has never been ahead in the electoral college, by most measures he hasn’t ever led the popular vote either, and he’s also never led in Pennsylvania (or the other further off states he would have to flip to win).

So even taking the averages here at face value, and not doubting the status of Florida or Nevada, to win Trump would still need to break his September ceiling and do better than he has done at any time in this race so far. That is possible, but not likely.

Add to that the indications of high Hispanic turnout in several states, notably Florida and Nevada, and that some of the recent polls may be intentionally skewed… and it seems like if someone over performs their polls, it is more likely to be Clinton. But that is looking at things other than the polls themselves.

All and all, the new median of a 14% chance of a Trump upset seems about right.

Maine CD2, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, and Iowa are all within 2% at the moment. They could still go either way based on the current averages. That is enough to swing the election.

So, as has been the case for awhile, a Trump win would be surprising, but should not be shocking. Trump has a path.

We shall all see soon enough.

In New Hampshire we already have some results of course… Dixville Notch, Harts Location, and Millsfield have already reported results. The totals: Trump 32, Clinton 23, plus a handful of votes for others. So there you go.

For real meaningful results, we now have less than 8 hours until parts of Indiana and Kentucky close. Then less than 9 hours until the first full states close and the states start getting called one way or the other.

We are almost there.

State Details

The following are the detailed charts for all the states that influenced the national changes outlined above.

Moving from Clinton to Trump

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No longer possible pickups for Trump

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Also impacting the tipping point

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A note about faithless electors

In the past few days there have been reports of first onethen two, expected electors from Washington state saying that that have decided to or are considering being “faithless electors” by voting for someone other than who they are “supposed to” when the Electoral College votes in December.

Yes, they can do that. In Washington state there would be a $1000 fine if they did, but they can do it, and it would count.

There was also one other potential elector from Georgia who suggested they would be faithless back in August. That potential elector came under extreme pressure and resigned, to be replaced by someone who would presumably vote the “right” way.

That might well happen to these two as well. But faithless electors can and do happen every few election cycles. In the last 50 years there were faithless electors in 2004, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1972, and 1968. That is 6 out of 12 elections during that period. Half. It would not be surprising if there were one or more faithless electors in 2016, especially given the contentious nature of the race. They have never made a difference in the final outcome.

The Election Graphs estimates show what the results “should be” given who wins various states. They do not take into account statements by individual electors on their intentions. If a scenario arises where it is close enough for electors who have made statements like this to potentially make a difference in the outcome or throw the race to the House, we will of course make note of that. And once electors vote in December, we will show the final tallies, including any votes cast by faithless electors.

A note about McMullin

Right now the Real Clear Politics average in Utah has McMullin 12.4% behind the lead. The 538 average in Utah has him 9.4% behind the lead. Although McMullin was a lot closer than anyone expected, he never got closer than 5% to the lead in Utah in these averages and now appears to be fading. 538 still has him in second place, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point that he will win electoral votes.

For more information…

This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks a state poll based estimate of the Electoral College. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.

Electoral College: Trump Surge Sputtering Out?

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states and DC.

Notable changes in: Florida (29), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9), Iowa (6), and the tipping point.

National Summary

It has been about two days since the last update. Since then the changes have been mixed, indicating that perhaps the recent movement toward Trump has topped out.

Good for Trump

  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 2.2% in NH to Clinton by 1.8% in NC
  • Trump’s best case has improved from a 100 EV win to a 112 EV win

Good for Clinton

  • The expected case moves from Clinton winning by 32 EV to Clinton winning by 108 EV
  • Clinton’s best case moves from a 178 EV win to a 210 EV win

Charts

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Discussion

While we have some indicators moving in each direction, the two to pay attention to are the expected electoral college result and the tipping point. The two “best case” scenarios give all states with a margin under 5% to one candidate or another. Those are both highly unlikely scenarios less than three days out from polls closing.

Even those two indicators are mixed though. If you had to decide who is favored in this update, you would still pick Trump though. Even though his expected electoral total has gone down, the tipping point moves a bit in his favor, meaning that the amount he has to move polls in order to win has lessened.

So while he is losing by more, the amount of effort to change that has still decreased.

The one caveat there is that while the tipping point has improved since my last update, looking at the actual trend line it seems to be down from a recent peak.

If you put all these mixed messages together, it looks like the recent “Trump Surge” may have reached a high water mark… or at least a pause.

At these levels Clinton is of course still winning. The electoral result according to the current averages would be Clinton 323 to Trump 215, a 108 electoral vote win for Clinton. Trump does better than Romney did here, but still loses.

Trump still has ways to win though. The easiest way right now would be for him to pull in Nevada (0.1% Clinton lead), New Hampshire (0.7% Clinton lead), Florida (1.8% Clinton lead), and North Carolina (1.8% Clinton lead). That would get him to a 269-269 tie and throw the election into the House of Representatives, where he would probably win. To win outright, he would need to also pull in Maine’s 2nd congressional district, where Clinton is currently leading by 2.0% in the Election Graphs average.

Moving things by 2% doesn’t seem that big a move in the grand scheme of things, but given the history of the race in terms of what seem to be the candidate’s floors and ceilings, as well as reports of early voting trends in some of those states (specifically Nevada and Florida), moving those states that last little bit is harder than it may seem just looking at the percentages. If anything, the preliminary early voting data seems to indicate Clinton may end up over-performing the polling, not the other way around.

Just to check in with the sites that give odds (which we do not), the chances of a Trump win given all the current information:

The median of these 8 estimates is 12%. That seems reasonable and in line with what I would expect from the Election Graphs numbers and the small amount of time left before the election is over.

2.5 days until polls start to close. We are almost there.

State Details

The following are the detailed charts for all the states that influenced the national changes outlined above.

Moving from Trump to Clinton

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Moving from Clinton to Trump

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Now possible Trump pickups

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Now possible Clinton pickups

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No longer possible Trump pickups

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Other states that helped move the tipping point

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A note about faithless electors

In the past few days there have been reports of first one, then two, expected electors from Washington state saying that that have decided to or are considering being “faithless electors” by voting for someone other than who they are “supposed to” when the Electoral College votes in December.

Yes, they can do that. In Washington state there would be a $1000 fine if they did, but they can do it, and it would count.

There was also one other potential elector from Georgia who suggested they would be faithless back in August. That potential elector came under extreme pressure and resigned, to be replaced by someone who would presumably vote the “right” way.

That might well happen to these two as well. But faithless electors can and do happen every few election cycles. In the last 50 years there were faithless electors in 2004, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1972, and 1968. That is 6 out of 12 elections during that period. Half. It would not be surprising if there were one or more faithless electors in 2016, especially given the contentious nature of the race. They have never made a difference in the final outcome.

The Election Graphs estimates show what the results “should be” given who wins various states. They do not take into account statements by individual electors on their intentions. If a scenario arises where it is close enough for electors who have made statements like this to potentially make a difference in the outcome or throw the race to the House, we will of course make note of that. And once electors vote in December, we will show the final tallies, including any votes cast by faithless electors.

A note about McMullin

Right now the Real Clear Politics average in Utah has McMullin 12.4% behind the lead. The 538 average in Utah has him 10.3% behind the lead. Although McMullin was a lot closer than anyone expected, he never got closer than 5% to the lead in Utah in these averages and now appears to be fading. 538 still has him in second place, but it doesn’t seem likely at this point that he will win electoral votes.

If that changes, I will of course note it in these updates and on the Election Graphs site.

For more information…

This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks a state poll based estimate of the Electoral College. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.

Edit 13:56 UTC to add an additional paragraph break.

Electoral College: Tighter and Wider at the Same Time

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, DC, and the Maine congressional districts.

Notable changes in: Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Arizona (11), Iowa (6), Kansas (6), Utah (6), Alaska (3), and the tipping point.

National Summary

It has been about five days since the last update. Since then the movement has been decidedly mixed.

Note that as of this update, no polls have been included that contain interviews done after the release of the “Comey Letter”.

Good for Trump:

  • The expected result has moved from a 130 EV Clinton win to only a 62 EV Clinton win
  • Clinton’s best case has declined from a 234 EV win to only a 216 EV win

Good for Clinton:

  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 4.1% in PA to Clinton by 5.3% in PA
  • Trump’s best case declines from a 34 EV win to a 6 EV loss

Charts

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Discussion

While some metrics have moved in Trump’s direction and others in Clinton’s, in the end this picture is bad news for Trump. Why is that? Fundamentally, doesn’t the fact that the “expected case” moved toward Trump mean that he is doing better?

Well, it means the margin he will lose by is getting smaller, yes. However, if you are trying to look for scenarios where Trump would actually catch up and win, the tipping point is what you want to be looking at. To win he has to move the tipping point state (or states he is even further behind in) over to his side of the line. And the tipping point is moving further away at the moment.

If you look at the tipping point chart you can see that Trump had indeed been making progress on the tipping point starting about when the Access Hollywood tape dropped. But that started to reverse around the 23rd. At the same time that his expected electoral college result was still improving.

This is still confusing. What is happening? Well, all the states aren’t moving in lock step in reaction to events. A number of close states have moved toward Trump, like Florida for instance. But key states like Pennsylvania have been moving away from him. Because of this divergence, we can have Trump improving his electoral college “score” while simultaneously the path to 270 electoral votes gets harder.

And in fact, at the moment, 270 looks out of reach for Trump. Look at the spectrum of the close states above. Right now Trump could win every state he is ahead in, then also pull over the states where he is close…  Nevada (0.4% Clinton lead), Iowa (1.5% Clinton lead), Maine CD2 (2.5% Clinton lead), and North Carolina (3.8% Clinton lead)…  and Trump would still lose by 6 electoral votes.

To win, Trump has to win all of the close states, plus Pennsylvania, where Clinton has a 5.3% lead at the moment… or one of the other larger “Strong Clinton” states… Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, or Virginia… all of which Clinton currently leads by even bigger margins. (New Hampshire isn’t enough to push Trump over the edge with only 4 EV.)

This is a really big pull with so little time left. The Trump side seems to be hanging their hopes on the fallout from the Comey Letter. This may cause some movement, but early indications are that almost all voters made up their minds on the Clinton email issue and if it mattered to them long long ago, and this is unlikely to change many minds.

We’ll start to see if there is any movement due to the letter within a few days. But there just are not that many days left. Sites that give odds for Trump winning range from less than 0.01% on the low side to 24.4% on the high side. The median odds seem to be around 5%. That isn’t impossible. But those odds are low enough that a Trump win would be a very big surprise.

There is another goal that Trump has a much better shot at though. If the election ends up exactly how things look today, Trump will lose by only 62 electoral votes. That would mean that Trump would do better than both McCain (lost by 192 EV) and Romney (lost by 126 EV). It may not be an actual win, but Trump improving on the performance of both previous Republican candidates may give the message to Republicans that a Trump like candidate in 2020 might be the way to go rather than returning to Romney or McCain style Republicanism.

We shall see.

8.1 days left until we start getting actual election results.

We are almost there.

State Details

The following are the detailed charts for all the states that influenced the national changes outlined above.

Moving from Clinton to Trump

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Moving from Trump to Clinton

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Now a possible Clinton pickup

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Now out of Trump’s reach

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Now out of Clinton’s reach

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Also influencing the tipping point

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A note about McMullin

Election Graphs is designed around showing the Republican – Democrat margin, and there is not enough time before the election to revamp the site to properly account for 3rd parties that are strong enough to have a shot at winning electoral votes.

Right now the Real Clear Politics average in Utah has McMullin 6.0% behind the lead. The 538 average in Utah has him 7.3% behind the lead. If/when McMullin is within 5% according to either of these averages, I will add notes to both the Utah and National pages about the possibility of McMullin winning Utah’s 6 electoral votes.

For more information…

This post is an update based on the data on ElectionGraphs.com. Election Graphs tracks a state poll based estimate of the Electoral College. All of the charts and graphs seen in this post are from that site. Additional graphs, charts and raw data can be found there. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.

Electoral College: Trump’s Polling Meltdown

States with new poll data added since the last update: All of them. Multiple times. There are additional new polls since I had to cut things off for this update as well. Those will be in the next update.

National Summary

The last week of polls has been devastating to Trump’s position. In the last update we were just starting to see the reaction from the first debate. With this batch the post-debate polling continued to roll in, and while there were a couple of minor moves toward Trump, the net change in this update was a dramatic move toward Clinton:

  • The expected result moved from Clinton by 6 electoral votes to Clinton by 154 electoral votes
  • The tipping point moved from Clinton by 2.1% in CO to Clinton by 4.5% in MI
  • Trump’s best case moved from a 60 EV win to a 26 EV win
  • Clinton’s best case moved from a 208 EV win to a 196 EV win

Looking at the charts:

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The previous update mentioned some Trump losses starting a week or two before the debate. With a lot more polls filling in the time period right before the debate as well as right after, it now looks like those losses were reversed before the debate.

In the time after the debate though, all three indicators on the chart have moved in Clinton’s direction. The race is now essentially back to where it was at the beginning of September. We’re not yet back at Clinton’s high point from August, but it is getting close.

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The tipping point chart is even more stark. As with the electoral college view, it looks like Trump’s mid-September declines were reversed by debate time, but after the debate everything falls off a cliff. Most of Trump’s gains from August and September are gone. Right before the debate he topped out with Clinton only ahead in the tipping point metric by 0.4%.

Clinton now leads by 4.5%. The tipping point state is Michigan. Clinton only has to increase her lead slightly there to not just take Michigan out of reach for Trump, but the Presidency.

What we are seeing in the polling results right now at this point probably fully factors in the debate itself. But we are just starting to see the impact from Trump’s “worst week in presidential campaign history ” that started with the debate, continued with his attacks on Alicia Machado, and ended with the leak of some of his tax information. The events of that week are not yet fully baked in.

And of course, the polls do not yet reflect the VP debate, or more importantly, the 2005 Trump video that was leaked on Friday. It is hard to imagine the events of the last few days NOT having an impact on the polls.

And the next debate is coming up. It should be interesting. If you were not planning on tuning in before, change your plans.

31.7 days left until the first actual election results start coming in.

State Details

A lot of states moved in order to produce the summary results above. For those interested in looking at the state by state details, they are below:

Weak Trump to Weak Clinton

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Moving out of reach for Trump

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Moving out of reach for Clinton

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Moving into reach for Trump

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States that changed categories but then moved right back again

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For more information…

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. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.

Electoral College: Some post-debate Clinton gains

States with new poll data added since the last update: New Jersey, Florida, Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts.

National Summary

The newest batch of polls… mostly post-debate polls… results in movement toward Clinton and away from Trump, which matches the consensus expectations after the debate this week:

  • Trump’s best case declines from Trump by 92 EV to Trump by 60 EV
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 1.3% in NH to Clinton by 2.1% in CO

Looking at the charts:

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Although polls may still come in that change the shape of the last couple weeks, right now a clear pattern is emerging where both “best cases” have been moving in Clinton’s direction since about September 20th. More states are coming into Clinton’s potential reach, while other states are moving out of Trump’s reach.

Interestingly, the “expected” case, although it has fluctuated as big states move back and forth across the center line, is back at the same place it was in mid-September…  Clinton leading by an extremely narrow 6 electoral votes.

But there are six states where the average shows Trump leading by less than 0.5%…  North Carolina, Nevada, Kansas, Ohio, Florida, and Iowa. Even if you don’t believe Kansas (I am personally dubious about that one), that means there are 74 electoral votes where Trump is hanging on by a thread. If more polls pull those five non-Kansas states away, his expected case drops all the way to an 154 electoral vote loss.

Things look very close in the electoral college right now, but that could change in a hurry!

The volatility of the electoral college measure means to really judge how “close” the race is, we’d be better off looking at the tipping point:

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Although the tipping point also has ups and downs as states move around, there is a trend here too. Trump peaked on September 7th when Clinton was ahead by only 0.7% (in Nevada). Since then, Trump has been losing ground. With the latest post-debate drop, Clinton’s lead in the tipping point state (now Colorado) is up to 2.1%.

At the moment Trump only has to flip Colorado to be in the lead. And a 2.1% lead is not a huge margin there. This is still close. Just not at close as it was.

So far the post-debate moves actually look more like a continuation of trends that started earlier rather than a big change caused by the debates, but even after five days, most of the close states just have a small number of post-debate polls, so we may not be seeing the complete picture yet.

37.9 days, 2 presidential debates, and 1 VP debate left to go until polls start to close…

State Details

All the state level details for those who want to dig in…

Weak Clinton to Strong Clinton

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The poll average in Michigan has been moving toward Clinton since September 18th. With the latest update, which included two separate post-debate polls, Clinton’s lead increases to 5.7% which moved the state out of reach for Trump, leading to the reduction of his best case mentioned above.

Didn’t change categories, but moved the tipping point

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Weak Trump to Weak Clinton then back again

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With the latest batch of polls Florida moved from just barely Trump to just barely Clinton, then moved right back again. As this round ended, Florida ends up with an 0.3% Trump lead. The bottom line with Florida is it has been “close” for all but a few days since the conventions ended. Unless we start seeing a definitive movement in one direction or another, Florida remains “too close to call”.

Having said that, Trump has been boosted by outlier Google polls. In the chart above, EVERY poll showing Trump with a lead more than 5% has been a Google poll. Those polls really do look like outliers. If you took Google out, Clinton would be maintaining a small but clear lead in Florida… but we include everything, and so Florida is still hovering right around the zero line.

For more information…

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. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.

Electoral College: Poll Churn (mostly pre-debate)

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, and DC. Notable changes in the tipping point plus New Mexico, Maine (at large), Kansas, and Missouri.

National Summary

With the latest batch of updates, there was a lot of churn that caused some big movements if you look at the charts. For a while as I entered polls it looked like Trump’s peak was definite and a clear downward trend was in place, even before the debate. But then as I continued to enter polls, most of those Clinton gains were reversed.

The primary reason for this? Florida [29 EV], Ohio [18 EV], and North Carolina [15 EV] are all currently very close in my averages. Close enough that single polls can move them back and forth across the center line. As I worked through this round of poll updates, all three of these states moved from Weak Trump to Weak Clinton and back again. Now, the actual changes in the averages in these three states were not much. They just happened to pass the zero line, and have large numbers of electoral votes.

So if you look at the “Expected Case” chart for the electoral college, you see a big move toward Clinton, then a big reversal a few days later. Because of the nature of the electoral college, you should expect (and be careful interpreting) large electoral college moves like this so long as there are big states that are close. In these cases looking at the tipping point provides a different view with a bit less volatility.

In any case, looking only at the final net change from this round of polls, we see these changes in the national picture:

  • The expected case moves from Clinton by 8 EV to Clinton by 6 EV
  • Clinton’s best case improves from Clinton by 188 EV to Clinton by 208 EV
  • Trump’s best case declines from Trump by 106 EV to Trump by 92 EV
  • The tipping point moves from Clinton by 0.1% in KS to Clinton by 1.3% in NH

Now, this round includes a handful of post-debate polls, but almost all of the movement discussed here comes from before the debate. (The exception is Florida returning to Weak Trump after the debate.)

Looking at the charts…

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Notice the clear dip from about September 19th to September 28th when Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina went slightly blue, then moved slightly red again. In the end, the “expected case” remained flat. The movement Clinton saw from winning by 6 electoral votes to 8 electoral votes in the last update was erased by New Mexico and Kansas both returning to their “normal” colors.

Both “best cases” moved toward Clinton though, with New Mexico and Maine at large both moving out of Trump’s reach, while Missouri moved into Clinton’s reach.

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The tipping point chart doesn’t end up with huge moves when big states cross the center line, so it might be a better chart to look at right now to see how the race is moving. What we see is that after big gains starting with Trump’s campaign shakeup on August 17th, Trump seems to have peaked around September 7th… way up from where he had been, but never actually taking the lead… and he has been on a slow decline ever since…  but we haven’t yet seen a BIG move back toward Clinton.

By most reports, Trump did badly in the debate, and has been doing things counter-productive to his campaign since the debate. But this does not mean large numbers of people have changed sides. Maybe this will happen, maybe it won’t, but the small number of post-debate polls already included here don’t yet show it. (In fact, as I mentioned, the single state category change post-debate so far is a move toward Trump.)

Additional post-debate polls are coming in quickly now, but I had to cut off the round poll updates somewhere to get this blog post out. There will be another update soon enough, and we’ll start to see a bit better what (if any) lasting change comes out of the first debate. Of course just about as soon as there has been enough time to see that in the polls, it will be time for the next debates…

39.4 days left until polls start to close.

State Details

For those digging into the details, here are the charts for all the states influencing the analysis above:

The big close states:

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Weak Clinton to Weak Trump

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Strong Trump numbers from Ipsos and CVoter balance out the strong Clinton numbers from Google and leave us with an essentially tied Kansas and erase the short blue period for the state I noted last time. (The Ipsos and CVoter results came out later, but covered an earlier time period, so they moved the lines in the past, not just the current number.)

As I stated last time I am incredulous about the Google numbers, and wish there was more additional polling in Kansas to clear up what is really going on there.

Weak Trump to Strong Clinton

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New polls in New Mexico erased the short foray into red territory for New Mexico. As with Kansas, since some of the “new” polls covered older date ranges, the shape of the curve in the past changed as well as the current number.

Strong Trump to Weak Trump

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Weak Clinton to Strong Clinton

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Other states that influenced the Tipping Point

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Note on placing polls on the timeline

I somehow forgot to mention this in my recent interview about this site, but it seems relevant to the discussion above… Many other election tracking sites place polls based on the END of the poll’s time in the field. I place polls on the timeline based on the mid-date of their time in the field. I think this does a better job at trying to identify when directional changes happen, because if an event and a mid-date are aligned, you know that the poll was half before and half after the event. When you place polls by the end of their field time, you can’t make any sort of statements like that about how the poll results match up with the event without referring to the specific start and end dates.

For more information…

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. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.

Edit 2016-10-01 00:34 UTC to correct the one state that moved after the debates. I had said it was North Carolina moving back from Weak Clinton to Weak Trump, it was actually Florida.

Electoral College: Trump breaks the Romney barrier

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states and DC. Multiple times each. Notable changes in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine (All), and Georgia.

There have been tons of polls, including “50 state” polls from three different sources, one of which had weekly data going back four weeks that needed to be added. There were many shifts caused by this batch of polls. We’ll look at all the charts, but lets start with the headline:

The Romney Barrier

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The averages in Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina all moved from Clinton to Trump. Iowa did move in the opposite direction, but it is much smaller, so the net change was dramatically toward Trump.

Before this batch of changes, the “expected” result if everybody won the states they lead was Clinton 341 to Trump 197… a 144 electoral vote win for Clinton.

With this batch of polls, the expected result is now Clinton 285 to Trump 253. This is still a Clinton win, but now by only 32 electoral votes.

From February onward this race had been stuck in the zone with Trump losing by margins between McCain’s loss (192 electoral votes) and Romney’s loss (126 electoral votes).

For the first time since February, Trump is now looking like he would do better than Romney did. Trump now matches Romney’s map, but adds Florida and Ohio. It isn’t quite enough to win, but Trump is now closer than he has ever been… and doing better than the last two Republican candidates.

Some folks were looking at Clinton’s lead in mid-August and were trumpeting the possibility of a Clinton landslide in early August. It was just looking like a solid win for Clinton back then, not a landslide, but things have actually moved in the opposite direction. A 32 electoral college win is more like a squeaker. It would only take Michigan flipping to get us to a 269 to 269 electoral college tie.

(There were also changes in the “best cases” from a lot of states moving in both directions. Trump’s best case went from winning by 68 electoral votes to winning by 66 electoral votes. Clinton’s best case went from winning by 210 electoral votes to winning by 190. So the overall range of possible outcomes reduced.)

Tipping Point

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Now, despite the expected case moving in Trump’s direction, changes in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had the net effect of… zero. Well, to be precise the tipping point changed from a 3.4% Clinton lead in Florida to a 3.4% Clinton lead in Michigan. So the state that holds the balance shifted, but the actual percentage did not.

Looking at the trends though, rather than just the change in this update, while the expected case has clearly been moving in Trumps direction the last few weeks, the tipping point has been trending toward Clinton.

What does this mean?

At a basic level it means that while Trump has made the race closer, pulling over the next few states he needs to win is getting harder.

3.4% is still close, but if Trump is at or near his ceiling, it may be a tough last 3.4% to move.

To be absolutely clear, with all of the above Clinton is still a strong favorite. Trump has made it a lot closer than it was, but he still has a lot of work to do to pull the remaining states he would need past the line to secure an electoral college victory. It isn’t impossible. It is just very hard.

Individual States

OK, with the two national summaries out of the way, time for a run down of all the states that shifted in ways that caused changes to the expected or best cases. I’ll just do a run down of all the graphs without commentary on each one. For the most part they speak for themselves. Keep an eye out for the polls that look like outliers. In some cases if new polls don’t back those up, the changes described here may reverse themselves quickly as new polls come in.

States moving from Clinton to Trump:

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States moving from Trump to Clinton:

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States now in play for Trump:

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States now in play for Clinton:

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States no longer in play for Trump:

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States no longer in play for Clinton:

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What’s Next

This batch of polls was huge, so in the time it took me to complete it, there have already been a bunch of new polls which I will be adding as soon as I can. Even if those polls don’t change anything, there will be polls soon enough that do. This is a dynamic race, and as I post this we have 54.7 days left until we start getting the actual results. Hang on tight, we’re in for a nice ride before we are done.

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. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.

[Update 07:16 UTC to add comment about outliers.]

[Updated 07:27 UTC to fix some awkward wording.]

Electoral College: Four moves toward Trump, Two toward Clinton

States with new poll data added since the last update: All 50 states, plus the Maine congressional districts. Notable changes caused by Colorado, Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, Maine (CD2), and South Carolina.

There were a ton of changes with this batch of new polls. Four of the changes favored Trump, two favored Clinton. We’ll look at each of these in order. The “good for Trump” states first, then the “good for Clinton” states, then we’ll review the net national changes due to all of these together.

Good for Trump

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Missouri, Colorado and South Carolina all show the same general pattern… a Trump decline bottoming out in mid-August, followed by a Trump recovery. The specifics of the patterns are slightly different, but the dip followed by a rebound looks clear. (Although the rebound in South Carolina may turn out to be due to an outlier.)

Missouri and South Carolina had looked like states where Clinton was making it close, Trump now pulls them out of reach again. Meanwhile Clinton’s lead in Colorado looked like it was not at risk for her, but the last few polls show Trump making it close again.

So winning Missouri and South Carolina are no longer part of Clinton’s best case, while the possibility of winning Colorado is now included in Trump’s best case.

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Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that can split their electoral votes. So far Nebraska has not been polled at all at the congressional district level. This week brings only the second time the Maine congressional districts have been. In both cases, the overall numbers for the states have moved toward the center line past all of the congressional districts. Mathematically, the state as a whole can’t be closer than all the parts making up the state, so we know this is wrong, but without congressional district polling, we can’t tell where the congressional districts should be.

In Maine, with the new CD2 polling result, we now have two polls showing Trump ahead. These are the only two polls. The average is filled out with the Maine CD2 results from 2004, 2008, and 2012. Given the strong Democratic wins in CD2 in those years, the two polls from this year aren’t quite enough for the poll average to flip the district to Trump, but the average now only has Clinton up by 3.1%, so we now consider Maine’s 2nd District to be a possible pick up for Trump.

Even with this new poll, Maine-CD2 is what I consider to currently be the “most needed poll” (followed by NE-CD2, NE-CD1, SD, and ME-CD1). Please pollsters! More congressional district level coverage of both Maine and Nebraska! They both look like they have a possibility of splitting this cycle. We need more polling to understand just how likely (or not) that possibility actually is!

Good for Clinton

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Both Florida and New Hampshire show the typical pattern of the Trump collapse followed by a Trump recovery. But in these two states, Trump peaked and is starting to drop again.

Florida does not change categories, but the change there changes the national tipping point.

In New Hampshire, the average just barely passes our 5% threshold to put the state back in the “Strong Clinton” category, which removes New Hampshire from Trump’s best case. It is right on the line though. Clinton’s lead still rounds to 5.0%. The next poll could easily move this back into “Weak Clinton”.

National View

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The change from today’s update to Trump’s best case is to move from winning by 56 electoral votes to winning by 66 electoral votes. So net improvement today.

But note the downward trend after August 27th. Even though today’s update was better for Trump, raising the level of the whole graph over the last week or so on the basis of some polls with older midpoints, it does look like his best case may have peaked and is receding a bit now.

Clinton’s best case is receding as well though. It drops in this update from winning by 248 electoral votes to only winning by 210 electoral votes.

And the center line has not shifted. We’re talking about changes in which states are close, not in who is leading where.

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Today’s update moves the tipping point from Clinton by 3.0% in Florida to Clinton by 3.4% in Florida, but you can see that the tipping point peaked a little over a week ago and has been moving toward Clinton, similarly to how Trump’s best case has been moving.

So has Trump really already passed another peak? Is he on a downswing again? Or is this all just reversion to the mean on a race that really is pretty stable? Or does Clinton weakening in the red states she had hoped to pick up mean Trump still has some momentum left?

Stay tuned.

62.1 days until real election results start to come in.

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. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.

Electoral College: Iowa Back on the Red Side

States with new poll data added since the last update: Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, Illinois, North Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, Missouri, Arizona, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Tennessee, New Jersey, Minnesota, Washington, Michigan, South Carolina, Maine (All), Louisiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Nebraska (All), Oregon, Kansas, Maryland, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, Connecticut, Arkansas, West Virginia, Colorado, Idaho, New Hampshire, Alaska

We have the weekly batch of polls from Ipsos, plus a handful of other scattered polls. One state changes category:

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After having been “Weak Clinton” through July, for the last month the average in Iowa has been hovering right around the center line. It had become “Weak Trump” for a short time in the second week of August, but then quickly moved back to Clinton. With the latest couple of polls showing Trump leading, the average moves once again to the Trump side of the line.

This is a narrow lead… 0.5%… it could move back to the other side of the line with the next poll. But for now, Trump leads in Iowa, and so this changes the expected results line:

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This brings the expected case to a 144 electoral vote win for Clinton. This matches the best Trump has done since April. In terms of the expected case, the metric that actually matters the most, this has seemed like Trump’s ceiling ever since he locked up the nomination. He has been able to move his best case, but in terms of moving blue states over to his side of the line, he just hasn’t been able to push past this level.

With average changes in Ohio and Florida, the tipping point also moved:

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Prior to the current batch of polls, the tipping point was Clinton +3.8% in Ohio. The new polls exposed a brief spike to Clinton only leading by 2.4% in Michigan, but then falling back to Clinton +3.0% in Florida. The net change in this update is still a 0.8% movement toward Trump though.

As with the expected electoral college result, Trump is near the top of his recent range. A 3.0% Clinton tipping point means that only a small uniform shift across all states would push Trump into the lead. The race is actually relatively close here. So why is most of the talk still about how Clinton is clearly winning?

Well, first of all, because she is. Trump has never led in either the electoral college expected case or the tipping point. She is just objectively in the lead and always has been.

Second, we have seen the whole race wiggle around in a zone. Things move up and down within that zone, but seem to have trouble escaping it. On the one side Clinton can’t seem to break out to move things from just a regular comfortable win to doing better than Obama did against McCain, and on the other side, Trump can make the race tighter, but hasn’t been able to break the barrier of matching or improving on Romney’s performance.

Since April, it has looked like Trump would do better than McCain (192 EV loss), but not as well as Romney (126 EV loss). It just seems like that is where this race wants to be, at least in terms of the electoral college. Of course, both of those men lost. This range does not include winning.

So for Trump to win, things need to change and move into a zone they have not been in before. And he is running out of time. The next opportunity will likely be the debates. The first one is in 22 days. Then we have 65.3 days until results start rolling in.

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. 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. If you find the information in these posts interesting or useful, please consider visiting the tip jar.