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Curmudgeon’s Corner: It works better in the ear

This week on the Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast Sam and Ivan talk about television, thermostats, manipulating public opinion and a few other things besides Election 2016, but of course most of the show ends up being about the election. They cover the last gasp Sanders path to the nomination, Trump zig-zagging on the issues, the Republican civil war, and possible Trump VPs. Oh, and Sam’s son Alex keeps interrupting to promote his YouTube channel.

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

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Recorded 2016-05-12

Length this week – 1:35:45

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Show Details:

  • (0:01:24-0:21:00) But First
    • Failed Alex Plan
    • Agenda
    • Feedback
    • TV Habits
    • More Election Graphs Comments
  • (0:22:21-0:52:01) Hodgepodge
    • Thermostats
    • Bernie’s Path
    • Facebook Trending Topics
    • Manipulating the Press
  • (0:52:41-1:04:08) Trump Zigzags
    • Trump on the National Debt
    • Trump on Taxes
    • Trump on Self-funding
    • Trump on Muslim ban
    • Trump on Hispanics
    • Trump on Tax Returns
    • Trump on Minimum Wage
    • So… Trump Pivot?
  • (1:05:12-1:35:25) Republican Civil War
    • Support the Nominee
    • Trump vs Ryan
    • Trump and turnout
    • Third Party Options
    • Ultimate Mole?
    • Clinton landslide?
    • Most Unfavorable Ever
    • Trump/Gingrich?
    • Alex Interruption
    • More on Newt
    • Other VP candidates
    • Alex’s Youtube channel

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Weird Things Happening

This week on Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam and Ivan talk about Election 2016 of course. But first some bits about Mike the headless chicken, the comments on Sam’s Election Graphs site, stamp prices, Hey Siri, and a movie Sam watched. When they do get to the election they cover Trump’s shutout in Colorado, Trump’s general malpractice in delegate wrangling, the odds of a contested convention, the accusations of cheating in both parties, and much more!

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

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Recorded 2016-04-14

Length this week – 1:20:15

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Show Details:

  • (0:00:41-0:22:29) But First
    • Ivan in his Car
    • Mike the Headless Chicken
    • Election Graphs Comments
    • Stamp Prices
    • Facebook Bots
    • Hey Siri
    • Movie: Mississippi Burning (1988)
  • (0:23:08-1:00:14) Election 2016
    • Trump shutout in Colorado
    • Delegate wrangling malpractice
    • Contested Convention Scenarios
    • Ryan saying no… Again
    • Odds of Trump getting majority
    • Trump Trends
    • Cruz wooing delegates
  • (1:00:53-1:19:55) Election 2016 Continued
    • Cheating? Stealing? Unfair? Rigged?
    • Sanders “contesting” the convention
    • Sanders attempts to woo superdelegates
    • Edit wars on Wikipedia Superdelegate list
    • Denial from Trump and Sanders people
    • What Sanders and Trump didn’t do
    • When is New York again?
    • Thoughtful Trump people wanted

Curmudgeon’s Corner: My Wonderful Foot

This week on the Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast Ivan and Sam’s big topics are the Presidential race, the goings on in Congress, and Ivan’s musings on tech while attending Oracle OpenWorld. That gets you everything from the Benghazi hearing to the appeal of Carson to Speaker Ryan, the Budget Deal, and even Twitter and Hadoop. But it all starts with a bit on San Fransisco, and Sam breaking his foot. Fun!

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

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Recorded 2015-10-28

Length this week – 1:53:06

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Show Details:

  • (0:00:10-0:25:41) But First
    • Agenda
    • San Fransisco
    • Sam broke his foot
  • (0:26:20-0:48:45) Election 2016
    • Future Sam on Republican Debate
    • Ivan touches things
    • Democratic Polls
    • Clinton Benghazi Hearing
    • Clinton turnaround
    • Clinton vs the Republicans
    • Trump losing… to Carson?
    • The appeal of Trump and Carson
    • Bush concentrating on Rubio
    • The other Republicans
  • (0:59:33-1:19:56) Congress
    • Speaker Ryan
    • Budget Deal
    • CISA Passes Senate
    • Politicians and Tech
    • One more Carson thing
  • (1:21:00-1:52:46) Tech Update
    • Oracle OpenWorld
    • What is Hadoop?
    • Rise of the cloud
    • Speed of Innovation
    • Tech Company Earnings
    • Apple
    • Twitter
    • Native Advertising
    • Taking Companies Private or non-Profit
    • Book: The Scarlet Plague

Curmudgeon’s Corner: A Groundswell of Begging

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner we apologize for last week’s show, then jump right in on Election 2016 analysis. We cover Biden’s exit and the results of last week’s debate, and what all that means for Clinton. Then we move on to the Republicans, talking about Trump’s staying power, how the only one close to him is Carson of all people, and how Bush is crashing and burning. With the Presidential race out of the way, we spend some time on Paul Ryan and the race for Speaker. Then finally in our lightning round we hit Back to the Future Day, iPads and iPhones, the hospital bombing in Afghanistan, book and movie reviews, and more!

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

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Recorded 2015-10-22

Length this week – 1:32:48

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Show Details:

  • (0:00:10-0:09:08) But First
    • Sounds Ivan makes
    • Allergy Meds
    • Making fun of Ivan falling asleep
    • Forced Break
    • Future Debates
    • Agenda
  • (0:10:09-0:21:49) The Democrats
    • Biden Out
    • Debate Results
    • Clinton’s Position
    • Sad for Joe
  • (0:22: 53-0:56:17) The Republicans
    • Debate Demands
    • Trump not going away
    • Trump vs Bush
    • Efforts to stop Trump
    • Trump in the general?
    • Thinning the crowd
    • The Republican Split
  • (0:56:56-1:11:18) Speaker of the House
    • Future Sam Disclaimer
    • Ryan’s Conditions
    • Ryan’s Options
    • Ryan the RINO
    • Weakened Ryan?
  • (1:12:07-1:32:28) Lightning Round
    • Back to the Future Day
    • iPad vs big iPhone
    • Car bluetooth issue
    • US hospital bombing
    • Apple Music Subscriber Numbers
    • Movie: Mud
    • Book: The Son Also Rises

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Check us in 2025

This week on the Curmudgeon’s Corner podcast, Sam and Ivan talk about Russia’s involvement in Syria, the chaos around the race for Speaker of the House, and of course the weekly rundown of the 2016 Presidential race. In the lightning round we spend way more than the allotted 2 minutes on self driving cars, but also touch on Jade Helm, drug prices, singing Happy Birthday, and more! Oh yeah, we also mention the coming apocalypse that will destroy us all!

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

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Recorded 2015-10-09

Length this week – 1:53:43

 1-Click Subscribe in iTunes
 View Podcast in iTunes
 View Raw Podcast Feed
Download MP3 File
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Show Details:

  • (0:00:15-0:05:33) But First
    • Ivan Travel
    • Agenda
  • (0:06:36-0:28:07) Syria and Russia
    • Who is Russia Targeting?
    • For Domestic Consumption?
    • Good or bad for Russia?
    • Accidental Escalation?
    • US Reaction
  • (0:28:45-0:48:19) Speaker of the House
    • How the speaker election works
    • McCarthy Out
    • Paul Ryan?
    • The other options
  • (0:49:27-1:27:31) Election 2016
    • Election Graphs Analysis: Rubio beats Clinton!
    • Election Graphs Analysis: Others vs Clinton
    • Continued Clinton Deterioration
    • RCP vs Pollster
    • Democratic Race
    • Republican Race
    • Carson/Bush Dumb Comments
  • (1:28:46-1:53:23) Lightning Round
    • Jade Helm
    • Apocalypse?
    • Self Driving Cars
    • Predatory Drug Price Increase
    • Happy Birthday Copyright
    • Afghanistan Child Abuse
    • Movie Serial: Radar Men from the Moon

Electoral College: Virginia moving away from Clinton

I added a bunch of new polls today, catching up after being preoccupied with something else the last few days.

The first thing to note is a change to the “top five best polled” candidate pairs. With the latest batch of polling, a well polled state (North Carolina) that had been really close in Clinton vs Walker became less close, and thus this combination slipped out of the top five, replaced by Clinton vs Ryan again. I expect this won’t last long, with one of Clinton vs Rubio, Clinton vs Cruz, or Clinton vs Walker once again jumping onto the top five very soon.

Within the top five candidate combinations, there were two changes of note this time:

Clinton vs Paul

chart-21

The latest polling in Virginia from CNU improves Paul’s situation in Virginia from losing by 8.4% to only losing by 6.8%. This does not change Virginia’s categorization as a “Strong Clinton” state, but since Virginia was the tipping point state, it moves that metric:

chart-22

With this the tipping point moves from Clinton leading in Virginia by 8.4% to Clinton leading by 7.6% in Ohio. This is a nice bump toward Paul. We’re still in “Strong Clinton” territory by this metric of course, but this continues a general trend of Paul’s tipping point against Clinton improving ever since last summer.  Paul and Bush are the only two Republicans in the current five best polled combinations that can claim a positive trend against Clinton on this metric.

Clinton vs Bush

chart-23

Once again it was the CNU Virginia poll making a difference. Clinton’s polling average lead vs Bush declines from 6.6% to 3.3% with this new poll. This moves Virginia from “Strong Clinton” to “Weak Clinton” and puts it back in play for Bush and improves his “best case” (which is where I give him not just the states he is ahead in, but all the states where Clinton is ahead by less than 5%):

chart-24

This brings Bush’s best case to losing to Clinton by only 24 electoral votes. This is the best best case Bush has had since there was any real significant polling on 2016. Bush is currently doing better against than the other four Republicans in the five best polled combos in every metric I’m tracking. If he can make at least another 12 electoral votes close…  say perhaps Iowa (6 EV) and Minnesota (10 EV)…  the two “Strong Clinton” states that are the weakest for Clinton at the moment…  then for the first time since early 2013 (when polling data was still sparse and we were mainly relying on previous elections) we’ll have a real race, where the Republican is actually in contention.

Others

Normally I wouldn’t mention combinations not in the top five, but since Clinton vs Walker just fell off with this update, I’ll briefly note that the news was mixed for him in today’s batch of polls.  On the one hand, he improved in Virginia, which improved his tipping point.  On the other hand, North Carolina flipped from Weak Walker to Weak Clinton, increasing the amount he would be expected to lose to Clinton by if each of them won all the states they were ahead in.

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: 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:

chart-5

And here’s Christie vs Clinton:

chart-6

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.

chart-7

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.

chart-8

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.

chart-9

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

chart-10

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)

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 22.27.04

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: A Note on Field Changes

There has been polling going on about the 2016 election since the 2012 election. (Actually, earlier, the first state level 2016 matchup poll in my database is from May 2012.) For most of that timeframe, the pollsters have been polling people who they deemed likely to run. Candidates were not for the most part outright declaring their intentions one way or another, and even when they seemed to, sometimes they were not believed.

That is now changing rapidly. While “formal” announcements that candidates are running 100% for sure for realsies may yet be a little further out, we now have candidates being pretty explicit that they are “exploring the possibility” or “considering” or whatnot, and we have a few that are being more and more definitive that they will not be running. Now, many of the people who are looking like they are running may decide not to after all before we get to the Iowa caucuses. And some of the ones saying they won’t run may change their minds. But we are starting to get a much better sense of who is in and who is out.

So, for instance, in the last couple weeks, we’ve had Romney making strong moves indicating he is in, while Ryan has stated that he has decided not to run. So why does the top of my 2016 Electoral College Analysis look like this?

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 17.41.57152

Clinton vs Ryan is listed right there, but Clinton vs Romney is not. Why is this? Ryan is not running, shouldn’t he be dropped? Romney looks like he is running, and a number of polls on the Republican nomination show him in the lead at the moment, shouldn’t he be here?

The short answer is that I show the five “best polled” candidate combinations at the top of the page, and there is a lot of polling on Clinton vs Ryan (52 state level polls in my database) while there have been very few so far on Clinton vs Romney (only 4 state level polls in my database).

As pollsters start deciding to poll Clinton vs Romney more, and Clinton vs Ryan less (or not at all), this list of the five best polled combinations will update automatically and Clinton vs Ryan will drop off and Clinton vs Romney will very likely move onto this list.  I choose not to hand edit this list by who seems to up or down in the primary polls at the moment, instead, I’ll let the fact that pollsters will show more interest in candidates that seem more likely to win take care of that. But it will take a little time for that to catch up, since actual polls have to be done first.

Of course, I also provide the drop downs, so anybody who wants to see any combination at all can go look. But the top five really are the ones that have decent polling, and beyond that there really isn’t a lot to see.

(Note: Once we actually get to the primaries and caucuses and have actual delegate counts, I will probably keep the five “best polled” list, but instead of defaulting to the best polled combination in terms of what I show on the rest of the page, I’d default to the delegate leaders in both parties…  probably.  Of course, there is a good chance these will match.)

Now, even for most of you who have already read the above, this is probably enough information.  You can consider yourselves done now…

OK…  for those few of you (if any) that want more detail and are still here…

I am trying to show the “best polled” combinations, which isn’t necessarily the same as the “most polled”. There are a number of ways one could calculate this, and none are perfect. I chose one way in particular, and it isn’t perfect either, and it certainly has its flaws, but it does the job well enough for these purposes.

Namely, my whole site is based on looking at a “5 poll average” for each candidate pair in each state. In certain cases this can actually include more than 5 polls to break various sorts of ties I care about. But these polls cover a certain amount of time.

For instance, right now if you look at Clinton vs Paul in North Carolina you’ll see that the average currently include five polls, which span the last 5.0 months.  (The oldest poll in the average is from August 16th, just about 5 months ago as I’m making this post.)

As a contrast, if you look at Cuomo vs Perry in Vermont you’ll see that it has NEVER been polled, which means I pull in the last five general elections in Vermont as an approximation.  That means the oldest data included in the average here is from November 6th 1996, so the average goes back 18.2 years.

States where this timespan is low are better polled than those where it is high. By the time we get to the election in 2016, I expect to see many close states with timespans measured in days.

But, if 2008 and 2012 are guides, some of the less contentious states may not get polled at all, or maybe just have one poll in the whole cycle. After all, everyone knows the Democrat is going to win DC by a huge margin, and the Republican is going to win Nebraska’s 3rd congressional district by a huge margin, and there aren’t that many electoral votes there either, so why bother?

Given that polling is concentrated in close states (and to some degree in big states even if they aren’t particularly close) and close states matter a lot more if you are trying to determine the electoral college outcome, I didn’t want to just average the timeframes of the 50 states (plus DC and 5 congressional districts).

So I decided to do a weighted average of the timeframes, weighted by the inverse of the absolute value of the margin. Since my method doesn’t allow exact ties in the averages, I don’t have to worry about division by zero, although really close states will have a very strong influence on the average.

So, for example, a really close state with a margin of 0.1% would get a weight of 1000, while something like DC (average margin of 80.3% over the last five presidential elections) would only get a weight of about 1.2.  Using these weights, I construct an average of the 56 jurisdictions with electoral votes.

There is also the possibility of further weighting this by electoral college strength, I didn’t do that though. Isn’t this already complicated enough to explain?

In any case, from this you get a number from which you can compare how well various candidate pairs have been polled so far.  Lets look at this for the top 25 candidate pairs:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 17.41.24639Click through on the image for a bigger version if desired.

The lower this number is, the better polled the combination has been. Candidate combinations that have not been polled at all will show up at 18.2 years at the moment.

You can see that Clinton vs Paul is best polled (5.4 years), with Clinton vs Bush right behind (6.2 years). Then we have a gap until Clinton vs Christie (9.0 years).  Then another gap before Clinton vs Ryan (11.8 years), Huckabee (12.4 years) and Cruz (12.8 years).  At this point we’re past the top five and you can tell we’re relying quite a lot on old elections and less and less on actual polling of these candidates.

The first non-Clinton combination comes in at #8: Biden vs Christie (15.0 years).

Where is Clinton vs Romney in this? #21. 18.1 years. Just BARELY better than no polling at all.

Hickenlooper vs Rubio has better polling by this metric than Clinton vs Romney.  (#11, 17.5 years).

Looking at specific polls, there is only ONE poll for Hickenlooper vs Rubio, but it is in Colorado where the margin is 0.7%.  Clinton vs Romney has been polled once each in New Jersey (margin 14.6%), New Hampshire (margin 3.3%), Iowa (margin 2.8%) and Florida (margin 1.1%). While some of those are close, they are less close, so lower weight is given to those.

There are NO states where Clinton vs Romney has a full five poll average (that would of course be impossible with only four polls).

By contrast, Clinton vs Paul has full five poll averages not including any old general election results in New Jersey (Clinton+22.4%), Pennsylvania (Clinton+12.6%), Florida (Clinton+11.3%), Virginia (Clinton+10.6%), Ohio (Clinton+8.8%), Michigan (Clinton+8.6%), New Hampshire (Clinton+6.1%), Iowa (Clinton+5.7%), North Carolina (Clinton+0.2%), Colorado (Paul+2.0%), Kentucky (Paul+4.2%), Kansas (Paul+6.8%) and Alaska (Paul+7.4%).

Bottom line, we can’t say much about a Clinton vs Romney matchup on a state by state level yet, there just hasn’t been enough polling yet.  That will probably change rapidly over the next few months if Romney goes all in. And Ryan will fall off. And the “top five” list will otherwise adjust appropriately to changes in the field.

If you do look at Clinton vs Romney you will of course see something.  The little polling there is has improved Romney’s “best case” from winning by 24 electoral votes to winning by 44 electoral votes. In this, he does better than any of the Republicans currently in the Top 5 best polled… but it is based on so little data, it is too early to make anything of it at all.  You are still basically looking at the last five presidential elections, not any real Clinton vs Romney trend.

This is why I show only the Top 5 as highlighted combinations. Polling quality drops off very quickly, once you get much beyond that, you’re not looking at real data yet. This is also why while all changes will show up in the @ElecCollPolls twitter feed, I’ll only be posting analysis here when something significant changes in the status of one of the top five candidate combinations.

Well, not counting this post. :-) But I wanted to explain why Ryan is showing up, while Romney is not, and why even if we start getting some status changes in states for Clinton vs Romney, I most likely won’t start talking about them much until that combination has enough polls to show up on the top five best polled.  Until then, we don’t really have a decent picture of what is going on in this sort of state poll based analysis.

Edit 22:15 to add more links and to change the “Clinton vs Romney has lower quality polling than” example from Hickenlooper vs Paul to Hickenlooper vs Rubio, so I would have an example that didn’t include any candidate showing up in the top five pairings.

Edit 2015-01-17 22:30 to correct Clinton vs Paul results in Colorado. It is Paul+2.0%, not Clinton+2.0% as previously stated.