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July 2015
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Electoral College: Four moves toward blue, one toward red

In my update today I added polling data from Quinnipiac (7 candidate combinations in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania), Gravis (5 candidate combinations in Nevada), and Saint Leo (5 candidate combinations in Florida). This resulted in a variety of status changes, but only a handful that meet my threshold for talking about here, which is that either the electoral college summary or the tipping point needs to change for one of the five best polled candidate pairs.

First off, there has been very little polling in Nevada thus far, but the new polling in Nevada moved both Clinton vs Paul and Clinton vs Christie from “Weak Clinton” to “Strong Clinton” as the polling average moved to a greater than 5% Clinton lead. They join Clinton vs Bush, which was already in that zone. (Clinton vs Huckabee and Ryan, the other two of the top five best polled candidate combinations, have not been polled at all in Nevada.)

So here’s what Paul’s electoral college trends look like at the moment vs Clinton:


And here’s Christie vs Clinton:


In both of these, you can see the slight dip at the top right of the “envelope of possibility” representing Nevada no longer being included in the “best case” for the Republican.

The moves mentioned above for Nevada are the only two cases in today’s updates where the actual electoral college summaries changed.  (Well, of the top five best polled candidate combinations anyway.)

But we’ll also mention it here if there are changes to the tipping point margin. As a reminder, the tipping point margin is basically how much you would have to shift the results in ALL states in order to change the electoral college winner. Basically, it is like looking at the national popular vote, but taking into account the structure of the electoral college, so you’re looking at how much things have to move to change the electoral college outcome, not just the winner of the popular vote. (Which as 2000 showed, do not necessarily go together.)

So, those changes…

First off Clinton vs Bush. With today’s added polling and Nevada getting bluer, the tipping point moves from Clinton by 6.2% in Virginia, to Clinton by 6.8% in Minnesota.


Then Clinton vs Huckabee. Ohio moves further toward Clinton, and the topping point shifts from Clinton by 8.0% in Virginia, to Clinton by 8.1% in Ohio.


Finally, the one move in the directions of the Republicans today. Ohio moved in Paul’s direction with todays update…  the poll average went from a 9.2% Clinton lead to a 7.6% Clinton lead, which was enough to move the tipping point from Clinton by 8.8% in Virginia to Clinton by 8.5% in Wisconsin.


Lets look a second at the comparison of the tipping point for all five of the best polled candidate pairs:


Since the November elections, we have Bush and Paul up while Christie and Huckabee are down.  (No movement on Ryan, but there has been sparse polling on him since he said he was not running… we still have better polling on Ryan than on Cruz, Rubio or Walker though.)

So, there has been some press lately on how Clinton’s email issues have hurt her at the polls. There has also been press saying it hasn’t had any significant effect. National polls would of course register short term changes much much more quickly that the state polling I look at here, where even the best polled states only get polled a little more than once a month. It really is too soon for effects of that particular thing to show strongly in the kind of analysis I do here. Until we get to the last few months before the election, you’ll be able to see long term trends here, but not short term reactions to individual events in the news cycle. For the moment, there aren’t any strong trends here to call out. There has been movement, but not a whole lot, and it depends on which Republican you look at.

For the top five candidate pairs, the overall situation now looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 07.57.54430

One comparison that I haven’t done in awhile here is looking at these numbers vs 2012.  The final result in 2012 was Obama 332 to Romney 206, or Obama by 126.

So while all five Republicans here are currently well behind Clinton in the expected electoral college outcome, both Bush and Paul are doing better against Clinton than Romney did against Obama!!

So while Clinton still has a healthy lead here, we’re nowhere near landslide territory or anything like that.  Remember that a 10% tipping point margin (a relatively huge lead) still means the results of the election can be flipped if just 5% of the people change their minds (or don’t turn up to vote, or whatever).

If this was a few days before the election and Clinton had these kinds of numbers, it would be foolish to bet against her winning. But it is 587 days until the election. There is a long long way to go. Polls at this stage are NOT predictive of the results at the end of the process. They are only a snapshot of what things look like TODAY, which gives you an idea how much work the candidate that is behind would have to do to win. (Or alternately, how much the candidate who is ahead can afford to screw up.)

As I mentioned in my last update there is a lot of interest in a few other candidates too. Right now Clinton vs Cruz is the 6th best polled combo, Clinton vs Rubio is at #7, and Clinton vs Walker is at #8. You can click through on those links if you want to see what those look like at the moment. But the amount of state level polling on those guys still isn’t that great (although they are catching up), so take what you see there with a big lump of salt.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on my 2016 Electoral College Analysis Site. 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.

Electoral College: New Hampshire swings away from Paul again

A bunch of new polls were added to my site today, but there was only one notable change. With a new Gravis Poll, Clinton’s lead in New Hampshire against Paul once again goes over 5%.

chart (17)

Easy come, easy go I guess. This decline happens as the only poll so far showing Paul in the lead here falls off the average. That poll is looking more like an outlier at this point. Even without that one poll though, if you squint there does seem to be a general trend in Paul’s direction over the last year or so. As usual, we’ll have to wait for more polls to see if Paul resumes closing the gap in the average, or if this is actually a reversal of the trend.

With New Hampshire now at a 6.0% Clinton lead in the average, it gets taken out of Paul’s “best case” scenario…

chart (18)

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Looking at Paul’s “best case” as compared to the rest of the “5 best polled” combinations tracked here:

chart (19)

Since the November elections, Paul has improved his “best case” position from losing by 96 electoral votes, to losing by only 84 electoral votes. Bush, Christie and Huckabee meanwhile have actually all had their best cases get worse in this timeframe. (Ryan has held steady, but has said he isn’t running and hadn’t been polled much.)

What about Cruz you say? Didn’t he just announce? And Walker? He’s still getting lots of buzz! Or maybe even Rubio? Well, the polling on those combinations still isn’t that great and don’t make my top five. But they are improving. Right now Clinton vs Cruz is the 6th best polled combo, Clinton vs Rubio is at #7, and Clinton vs Walker is at #8. You can click through on those links if you want to see what those look like at the moment. But the amount of state level polling on those guys still isn’t that great, so take what you see there with a big lump of salt.

(And if you go even deeper and look at combos with non-Clinton Democrats, bring a whole wheelbarrow of salt.)

Note: This post is an update based on the data on my 2016 Electoral College Analysis Site. 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.

Electoral College: Huckabee continues to slip (vs Clinton)

Today’s update was new PPP polling in Wisconsin. PPP polled 11 candidate combinations. Of these only one produced a notable change in one of the “5 best polled candidate pairs” I track most closely here.

Specifically, this was the second poll of Clinton vs Huckabee in Wisconsin (the last was also by PPP, back in April 2014). This poll did not cause a category change in the average, it was Strong Clinton before, and it is Strong Clinton now:

chart (14)

So with no category change, why am I bothering with a post?

Well, Wisconsin slipping further into Clinton territory (from a 6.7% Clinton lead to a 8.0% Clinton lead) reshuffled the ordering of the states when sorted by margin and Wisconsin slipped past Minnesota (where Clinton leads by 6.8%). Minnesota had been the tipping point state. So Clinton doesn’t necessarily need Minnesota any more, because it is easier to get Wisconsin.  This means the tipping point shifts to 8.0% in Virginia.

chart (15)

The last time the tipping point moved even briefly in Huckabee’s direction was last August, but as you can see, the general trend has been that the more polling there is on this combination, the worse it looks for Huckabee.

Since this is an otherwise short update, a quick look at how the tipping point looks across all five “best polled” candidate combinations at the moment:

chart (16)

All of the Republicans are running way behind Clinton, but the trends are different.

Basically, we can group the five candidates (all vs Clinton) into three categories based on the last six months or so of tipping point movement:

  • Republicans gaining strength against Clinton: Bush
  • Republicans basically flat against Clinton: Paul and Ryan
  • Republicans losing ground against Clinton: Christie and Huckabee

Ryan has said he is not running of course. There is also lots of talk about Walker, and sometimes of Cruz or Rubio, or even of combinations involving Democrats other than Clinton occasionally, but polling at the state level on all of those other combinations is still significantly more sparse than the five combinations here, and therefore the data less reliable, so we leave them out for now.

Note: This post is an update based on the data on my 2016 Electoral College Analysis Site. 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.

Edit 2015-03-16 17:44 UTC to add standard note to end.

Electoral College: Paul now ahead in North Carolina average vs Clinton

Today’s poll update consisted entirely of a new release of North Carolina data from PPP. They polled 11 different candidate combinations for 2016. Only one of these caused a category change for one of the top five “best polled” candidate pairs. That would be Clinton vs Paul:

Although the most recent poll has Paul behind by 3%, the poll it replaces in the average had Paul behind by 5%, so the average moves from an 0.2% Clinton lead to an 0.2% Paul lead.

Now, to be clear, just barely on one side of the line vs just barely on the other side of the line, either way this is about as close to a tie as you can get. (Especially since the way I calculate polling averages actually doesn’t allow ties, since it will pull in older polls to break any ties that might otherwise come up.)

The spread of the last five polls is from Clinton by 5% to Paul by 6%, so there is a lot of uncertainty here too. Basically, North Carolina is a toss up. But that’s what being “Weak” means in my model anyway. We allow the state to swing from side to side in calculating the range of possible outcomes.

But for now, this does push the “Expected Margin” in Paul’s direction:


Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 06.11.29779

Still way behind to be sure, but every change in the Clinton vs Paul margin range numbers in the last few months has been in Paul’s direction.

Bush, Christie and Huckabee were also in this latest batch of North Carolina polls, so lets look quickly at the comparison chart as well:


Ignore Clinton vs Ryan, which has never been polled in North Carolina.

All of the candidates have been improving against Clinton in the last few months. Paul is just the first to flip the state. Bush was very close, but the last two polls including him didn’t go his way, so he pulled back a bit. But even Christie looks like he may have bottomed out and is now improving again. In North Carolina at least, the trend seems to be away from Clinton and toward the various Republican contenders.

As usual though, the usual caveats apply on how sparse polling still is, just how far away from the election we still are, and how the very next poll may change the trend.

Final thing to mention, with today’s new data Clinton vs Huckabee passed Clinton vs Ryan to take the #4 spot in my “Top 5 best polled” list. Given that Ryan has said he is not going to run, it probably won’t be that long until he drops off the top 5. Cruz, Rubio and Walker (all vs Clinton) have all gotten recent polling attention that is improving their polling situation. Given all the recent attention, my bet would be on Walker, even though of this bunch he is currently furthest behind in my polling quality metric, but we shall see…

Note: This post is an update based on the data on my 2016 Electoral College Analysis Site. 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.

Paul Improves Again, Mixed picture for Bush

Another day and yet more polls moving things around.  So lets go…

As usual click on any of the charts for more detail.

Clinton vs Paul

First of all, the latest batch of polls has Clinton vs Paul once again the “best polled” candidate combination, pushing Clinton vs Bush out of that spot. Keep in mind this does NOT mean they are the frontrunners in their respective parties, just that there have been more polls in the closest states than there have been for other candidate pairs. This means the default view on is now Clinton vs Paul. But the gap between them on my polling quality metric is very small, so don’t be surprised if they switch places again.

Next, a new poll in Virginia improved Paul’s standing slightly. No category change, Virginia is still a “Strong Clinton” state based on current polling against Paul.  But the tipping point was moved:

chart (8)

The tipping point moves from Clinton by 9.2% in Ohio, to Clinton by 8.8% in Virginia. This represents how big a uniform move in the polls across ALL states would have to happen to give Paul the edge in the Electoral college. This is basically because at the moment, to win, Paul would have to flip North Carolina (0.2% Clinton lead), Nevada (2.8% Clinton lead), Iowa (4.2% Clinton lead), New Hampshire (4.9% Clinton lead), Minnesota (7.0% Clinton lead), Michigan (8.6% Clinton lead), and Virginia (8.8% Clinton lead). [This is the list of states that are closest that would need to be flipped, there are of course other combinations that would do the trick if Paul flipped states with even bigger Clinton leads.]

Since Virginia would be the state that would put Paul over the top, it is the tipping point state and the margin there is the amount everything would have to move to make this scenario happen.

Clinton vs Bush

This combination sees relevant changes in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia.

chart (9)

In Colorado, Clinton’s lead grows to over 5%, so this state moves out of contention and into “Strong Clinton”. (For now anyway, but do I really need to repeat just how early things are, and how relatively sparse polling still is too?)

chart (10)

Same thing in Iowa.  Although in Iowa, it looks like we might have a situation where the polling is returning to “normal” after a couple of outlier polls, while you could argue that in Colorado, the “true” state might just be bouncing around the 5% boundary line.

In either case, we shouldn’t be too surprised if the states get closer again.

With both of these states moving out of the “Weak Clinton” category, Bush’s overall best case against Clinton deteriorates a bit:

chart (11)

With this (plus another Iowa poll that was added yesterday) Bush’s best case against Clinton moves from losing by 26 electoral votes to losing by 56 electoral votes.

But while things haven’t been moving his way in Colorado or Iowa, in Virginia the latest polls have actually been moving toward Bush. No category changes… Virginia moved from a 7.0% Clinton lead to a 6.2% Clinton lead. This was enough to move the tipping point in Bush’s direction:

chart (12)

Virginia was the tipping point before this move, and it didn’t leapfrog any other states, so the tipping point stays in Virginia as it moves.

So Bush’s best case is getting worse, but his overall position is getting better?  Yes, basically.

With current polling Iowa and Colorado now look like they aren’t competitive. So that is worse for Bush. But in order to win, Bush would have to flip a LOT of states, and the one he needs that he is furthest behind in is Virginia… but he is now not quite as far behind there. So if he is going to move all the states he needs to in order to win, he’s actually got a little bit less to move overall, even though Iowa and Colorado just moved a little further away.

Other folks

Just yesterday I was noting that Clinton vs Walker, despite being talked about quite a lot was still #18 on the ranking of best polled candidate combinations. With todays polls, he burst into the Top 10, debuting at #9, pushing Biden vs Rubio out of the Top 10.  Still a bit away from the Top 5 combinations that I highlight here as having enough polling to say something useful about the race, but getting closer. If he continues to get lots of polling attention, while Clinton vs Ryan and Clinton vs Cruz and such do not, then he may get there sooner rather than later.

chart (13)

Paul improves in Iowa, Huckabee continues to slip

If changes keep coming in at this rate, I may need to move to a once a week update format, at least until we get a bit closer to the election.  In any case, with today’s batch of new polls, we get a couple of status changes in Iowa, which in turn shift the national picture a bit.

Click on any of the charts to see more detail.

Clinton vs Paul


With today’s update, Iowa moves into the “Weak Clinton” zone, meaning that I consider it to be close enough to allow for the possibility of Paul winning.  This improves Paul’s best case against Clinton to losing by 76 electoral votes. A couple of weeks ago, Paul’s best case was to lose by 96 electoral votes.  So there does seem to be some movement here.


Looking at the actual polls in Iowa though, this trend is a little less clear. Iowa seems to have been bouncing back and forth over the 5% Clinton lead line for the last two years, spending more time with Clinton further ahead than 5%, but with occasional temporary movement toward Paul. Can we say that this time is a real “trend” rather than just another short term bump? Nope. Or maybe the average being further in Clinton’s direction is really just the result of a handful of outlier polls and really this “should” have been closer all along. Maybe. We’ll have to wait for more polls to see.

For now though, my charts show movement toward Paul.

Clinton vs Huckabee


While Paul’s picture is improving, Huckabee’s continues to decline. In the latest update, Iowa slips out of Huckabee’s best case.  Huckabee’s best case is now to lose to Clinton by 88 electoral votes. A month ago, his best case was losing by only 14 electoral votes, but states keep slipping away. Now, there has been a lot less Clinton vs Huckabee polling than there has been Clinton vs Paul polling, so there is a good chance a lot of this has simply been getting enough polling to get a good picture, rather than actual movement.


Specifically looking at the individual Iowa polls, you can see that we already did have five polls in Iowa, so the picture wasn’t dependent on previous election results, but there have only been 7 polls compared to the 14 for Clinton vs Paul.  And there is quite a scatter between those polls (as there also was with Clinton vs Paul). The “movement” here is basically one extreme poll (the one showing Huckabee actually ahead in Iowa) falling out of the average, while another extreme point (the one showing Clinton ahead by 10%) remains in the average.

As with the Paul situation, it is far from clear that this is a real trend as opposed to just a temporary bump in this direction, and the next polls could change the picture again. It is well within the realm of possibility that the “real situation” for both of these candidates is that Clinton is just about 5% ahead of them, and they will just bounce back and forth between my categories as new polls come in.



Since in both cases today, what has changed is the Republican best case, lets look at the trends there with the five best polled candidate combinations.  Looking just since the 2014 elections, the movement on this specific metric has been Paul improving, Bush and Ryan flat, Christie and Huckabee declining. Other metrics show slightly different trends, but when all of the Republicans here are losing even when you give them all the close states, the first step is just to start making states close, and this chart measures that process.

But wait, Ryan has said he isn’t running, and what about this Walker guy? A bunch of people have been talking about him lately. Well, I recently introduced this new chart on where the candidate combinations stand in my “polling quality” metric:


This shows the best TEN polled candidate combinations, not just the top five, so we can see if new candidate pairs are heading toward the top five.

On this chart the lower the line, the better the polling quality.  Poling quality is measured by the average amount of time used in the polling averages across the 56 jurisdictions that have electoral votes, weighted such that close states count a lot more than states where one candidates lead is large.  A new poll may or may not improve polling quality, since if new poll makes a state less competitive than it was, the weight of that state also decreases in this metric.  If there are no new polls for a candidate pair, the polling quality slowly gets worse as each day passes.

Anyway, what do we see here?  Well, if trends continue, looks like Clinton vs Huckabee may soon pass Clinton vs Ryan, and Clinton vs Bush and Paul are very close to each other so easily could flip back and forth, but Clinton vs Cruz hasn’t shown any signs lately of much life. Nor any of the others in the 6-10 zone.  So we may not get any new combinations in the top five for a little while yet.

How about Clinton vs Walker? Oh, yeah. that combination is still way out at #18 on this ranking. He stands at about 6616 on this metric, compared to 6340 for the worst of the top ten shown in the chart above and 4437 for the worst of the top five. We need a lot more state level polls of that combination before we have enough polls to meaningfully compare that scenario to the five we’re showing in the analysis here.

Electoral College: Bush and Paul improve vs Clinton, Huckabee declines

We are 634.6 days from the first polls closing as I write this message.  But yet here I am with the fourth of these updates in a two week period. I honestly didn’t expect the polling to be picking up quite this fast. But it seems to be. So be it.

Please keep in mind that everything here describes where things are now, and how things are trending NOW. We are far enough from the 2016 election that nothing here represents a prediction for what will happen in 2016. But knowing how things look now and observing the trends still provides interesting insight.

Today I added new polls from CNU in Virgina and from Bloomberg / Saint Anselm / Purple in New Hampshire. These resulted in changes worth noting* for three candidate pairs.  I’ll review them quickly in order of the magnitude of the change.

Click on any of the charts to go to the site for more detail.

Clinton vs Huckabee


Huckabee had only been hanging on to the “Weak Clinton” category in Virginia by virtue of the fact that I pad my poll average with previous general election results if there are not yet five actual polls between the candidates in question.  With the third poll directly pitting Clinton vs Huckabee in Virginia, Huckabee falls much further behind, and Virginia now seems to slip out of reach. Huckabee’s best case vs Clinton therefore gets worse.

Without Virginia in the mix, Huckabee’s “best case” (where he wins all the states he is ahead in, plus all of the states where Clinton is ahead by less than 5%) is now to lose to Clinton by 76 electoral votes.

This change also drops the “tipping point” (which represents how much of a uniform shift in polling across all states would be needed to flip the election) further in Clinton’s direction.  The tipping point state for Clinton vs Huckabee is now Minnesota, where Clinton is ahead by 6.8%.


Clinton vs Paul


This chart of Clinton vs Paul polls in New Hampshire is interesting, and actually shows one of the disadvantages of using an average of the most recent polls, rather than some more sophisticated sort of trend smoothing.  Paul’s average vs Clinton has been steadily improving for the last year.  But if you look at the individual polls, you see that this is because some really bad polls for Paul from 2013 and early 2014 were “aging off” the average, being replaced by some relatively good polls for him from the last year, including one where he was actually ahead!

But if you actually look at the trend of the individual polls since then, the trend has been back toward Clinton.  With a straight up poll average, this trend in the last five polls is invisible.  We just know that the average of the newest five is higher than that of the five most recent polls not counting the brand new one.  Basically, a poll where Paul was behind by 13% was replaced by a poll where Paul was only behind by 7%, so the average moved toward Paul… even though there may be a different trend if you look within the five polls actually used in the average.

If the trend in the last five polls is real (it may or may not be) then it would not be surprising to see New Hampshire fall back into “Strong Clinton” territory with the next poll.

For now though, we grant Paul the possibility of winning New Hampshire in his “best case” which is now to lose to Clinton by only 88 electoral votes.

Clinton vs Bush

No changes in best, worst or expected case for Bush against Clinton, but since the tipping point in this case was Virginia, and we had polling in Virginia, it is not unsurprising that the tipping point here moved, if only a little.


The tipping point here remains Virginia, but Bush moves from being behind 7.2% there, to only being behind by 7.0%.

And that is it for today’s update.  Please explore to find more detail and interesting bits and pieces.

* For now, “Changes worth noting” are when the best, worst, or expected cases for one of the five best polled candidate pairs changes, when the tipping point changes by at least 0.1% for one of those candidate pairs, or if a new candidate pair becomes “best polled” or replaces one of the current five pairs on the list.

Electoral College: Clinton vs Bush now “best polled” combination for 2016

Some new polling was added today from PPP in North Carolina. It didn’t change the status of any state for any of the top five “best polled” candidates, nor did it change the tipping points for any of those. However, it did move Clinton vs Bush ahead of Clinton vs Paul in the metric I use to measure how good the polling is for the various candidate combinations. This means that Clinton vs Bush is now the default view when you go to

Now, this does NOT necessarily mean that Clinton and Bush are the front runners in their respective primary races… although there is a strong argument that they are… it just means that there is currently better state by state polling data for this particular combination than any of the others.

Given this, I thought a quick overview of the Clinton vs Bush combination was in order.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 02.58.16706

So, as with all the other “top five” Republicans against Clinton, Bush is behind, even in the “Best Case” where you give him all of Clinton’s weak states.


But, unlike some of the others, Bush’s “best case” has been steadily improving since last spring.

And while it hasn’t happened yet, there are two states right on the verge of flipping and improving his expected case as well…


Florida, with 29 electoral votes, considered by many a “must win” for any Republican path to victory, has been trending strongly away from Clinton and toward Bush since bottoming out in the first part of 2014. Currently Clinton’s lead is 0.4% in my average. One more good poll for Bush, and Florida will move into his column.


Ditto with North Carolina with 15 electoral votes, where Clinton’s lead is a minuscule 0.2%. Both these states are really neck and neck, but the trend has been in Bush’s direction in both.

Do not be surprised if these flip and Bush’s “expected case” starts moving in his direction soon.

Of course, to actually win, a lot of states need to move.  The “tipping point” measures this.


No significant movement here recently. Does this move Bush isn’t moving all the states he needs to? Maybe. But more likely, there just hasn’t been much new polling in the states near Bush’s current tipping point.

To start seeing movement in the tipping point for Clinton vs Bush, we need some new polls in states like New Hampshire (last poll in November), Wisconsin (last poll in April), Virginia (last poll in March), Minnesota (last poll in June) or Colorado (last poll in July).

The age of the polls in these states shows just how far away we still are from having a large enough volume of state level polling to have a good “real time responsive” sort of take on the situation. At this stage, polling is still slow and sparse in most states, and you have to interpret things accordingly.

Now, you can’t give a summary without the traditional map.  So here is the current Clinton vs Bush map…


And finally, here is how that looks as a spectrum of the states broken down into the various classifications:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 03.32.45313

So there is our new “best polled” candidate combination…  for the moment…

Electoral College: Paul, Christie, Huckabee all weaken vs Clinton

Today’s poll update was the addition of the Quinnipiac Swing State Poll, which included Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Within the five “best polled” candidate combinations, this caused three changes worthy of note here. All three were moves toward Clinton and away from the Republicans.

First up, since it is the only one that actually involves changing the electoral summary for a candidate pair… Clinton vs Huckabee.


This is only the second time Clinton vs Huckabee in Ohio has been polled, but both new polls pull the state more toward the Democrat than the average of the last five presidential elections (which gave a 1.7% Dem advantage). This latest Ohio poll pulls the five poll average to a 5.7% lead for Clinton, which takes the state out of the “Weak” category which I allow to swing back and forth between the candidates to produce the “Best Case” scenarios for each candidate.

With the loss of Ohio from the list of “Possibles”, Huckabee’s “best case” moves from Clinton by 14 EV, to Clinton by 50 EV.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 7.41.53

Of the five “best polled” candidate combinations, Clinton vs Huckabee is still #5 with much less comprehensive polling than Paul, Bush and Christie, so this may still be overstating where Huckabee would really be if more states were more fully polled.

The next two changes don’t actually change the Expected or Best cases for candidates, but rather are just changes to the “Tipping Point”. The tipping point essentially describes how much polls would have to move nationally (assuming an even distribution of movement in all states) to change who has the lead in the electoral college… in other words, how far ahead or behind the candidate is overall.

So next up is Clinton vs Paul:

chart (1)

With the new poll, Paul moves from being behind 8.8% in Ohio, to being behind 9.2% in Ohio. Both of these are in the “Strong Clinton” category, so there is no category change here, but Ohio was the tipping point state in this contest, and so any movement in this state will generally mean movement in the tipping point.

chart (2)

As you can see, the Clinton vs Paul tipping point has been between an 8% and 10% Clinton lead for most of the last year, so this isn’t breaking any new ground. The trend before last summer on this chart was basically just the process of getting enough polls to have a good view of this candidate pair, so things have essentially just been pretty flat since then. The new change doesn’t really change that, although I’m sure Paul would still rather see this line go in the other direction. (Well, if Paul was looking at my charts, which he isn’t. :-) )

Finally, Clinton vs Christie. This time, the changes in two states were relevant:

chart (3)

Last week I talked about Christie fading in Pennsylvania. The new polls today reinforce that trend, further worsening Christie’s position in Pennsylvania. It dropped him from being behind by 6.0% to being behind 8.0%, which pushed Pennsylvania past the previous tipping point of 7.5% in Minnesota.

chart (4)

Now, Ohio also moved away from Christie with today’s polls (from Clinton by 7.6% to Clinton by 8.5%). If it hadn’t, Pennsylvania would have pushed past Ohio too, which would have had a different result for the Tipping Point.

In the end, the tipping point for Clinton vs Christie moved from Clinton by 7.5% in Minnesota, to Clinton by 8.0% in Pennsylvania.

chart (5)

Unlike Clinton vs Paul, with Clinton vs Christie we’ve basically just been seeing a continued trend away from Christie and toward Clinton. Christie has not been faring well lately on this front.

Before closing up, lets look at a couple of the comparison charts between the five best polled candidate pairs.

chart (6)

With Huckabee’s decline in best case, the Republican with the best best case against Clinton is now Bush, but that Best case is still losing by 26 electoral votes. (And the expected case if Bush did NOT manage to flip all the Weak Clinton states is Bush losing by 156 electoral votes.)

The worst best case versus Clinton is still Paul, losing by 96 electoral votes even if you give him all the Weak Clinton states. (Paul’s expected case is a bit better than Bush though, only losing by 138 electoral votes.)

chart (7)

It looks a little different in terms of tipping point, with Huckabee doing best this time (behind by 6.7% in Wisconsin). Paul still in the rear here, behind by 9.2%.

Now, as people keep pointing out, and I will too, polls this far out from the election are NOT PREDICTIVE. All of the charts I’ve shown above say NOTHING about what the actual results in November 2016 will be. NOTHING.

However, that does NOT mean they are meaningless, or that they should be ignored. (Or why am I bothering with all this?) No, polls right now still give you a sense as to where things stand TODAY, which while it won’t tell you who will win 643 days from now, it DOES tell you how much work the candidates who are currently behind have to do in order to flip things. (Alternately, how much wiggle room the candidate in the lead has available as buffer against mistakes they might make.)

So, yes, pay attention to the polls. Even now. Just don’t make the mistake of believing that just because Clinton is way ahead of everybody now that necessarily means that will still be the case in a year and a half, when the polls DO start having some predictive power.

PS: There was also a tipping point change today for Clinton vs Romney but even with today’s new polls, Clinton vs Romney is still only the 20th best polled candidate combination, and with Romney declaring he isn’t going to run after all, he’s no longer as likely to climb the ranks as I thought a few weeks ago. If I had to guess as to the next change in the “Top Five” it would be Clinton vs Rubio (currently #7, but Rubio actively talking about being a candidate) replacing Clinton vs Ryan (currently #4, but Ryan having said he won’t run).

Edit 10:11 UTC – Added “Electoral College” prefix to title for consistency.

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Apple Juice in the Champagne Glasses

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Ivan Forgot / Beeps and Ladders / Debt Limit
  • Anti-Clinton Tactics
  • Flappy Bird
  • AOL’s Distressed Babies

Recorded on 14 Feb 2014

Length this week – 1:15:40

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