Calling November’s Presidential Race.
Most instant polls gave Hillary the win in Wednesday’s final presidential debate. Meanwhile, Trump is again claiming victory and citing online polls as his proof despite the fact that those site-specific popularity contests have been discredited by virtually every legitimate pollster. Some have even encouraged their audiences to vote more than once. Trump dismisses the respected polls, who generally found him losing to Hillary, as part of his falsely claimed “rigged” election. If you watched Fox after the election you would think you were in a different reality where, as usual, they praised the Republican candidate’s performance and decried the Democrat’s. Though some of Fox’s guests were unable to stomach Trump’s refusal to say he would accept the results, no matter who won. By the way, Trump doubled down Thursday morning by saying that he’d accept the results, “if I win,” strongly implying that he wouldn’t otherwise. London bookmakers see a Hillary victory as almost certain. Hillary has an 83 percent chance of winning according to them. The respected Nate Silver is calling Hillary the winner, and my sounding board daughter once again chides me for my cautious approach in declaring a victory for Hillary.
Yes, I do see a clear path for a sizable win for Hillary. And I might soon call a Hillary win if the data show a clear trend for her. As it stands, the poll of polls has Clinton ahead by an average of 6.4 percent in polls covering the period from Oct.10 to the 19th. These polls ask the respondents to choose between Trump and Clinton. When 3rd party candidates Stein and Johnson are added the figures drops only slightly, though, in some individual states the third part votes changed the vote for Clinton by 2-6 points. Shades of Florida in 2000, and the Green Party’s Ralph Nader, which basically gave the election to George W. Bush.
I carefully and deeply assess all of the individual polls used in the Poll of Polls. I still conclude that there are too many uncertainties to confidently declare a winner. Not only dirty tricks, but the invasion of Mosul–the implications of which I intend to devote a whole post to very shortly, may influence some of the remaining undecided voters. Further WikiLeaks revelations, from Russian hackers seeking to influence our election, about which we can only guess, could still change an election which, in several key State races, Hillary’s lead is just a few points and therefore is yet capable of flipping over to Trump.
More troubling, to me, are the outlier polls results that favor Trump or give Hillary just point or two lead. Some of these are from pollsters whose record at calling presidential elections are among the best. For example, the IBD poll has Trump up by 1 percentage point. The usually Republican-leading Rasmussen Poll has Trump up by 3 points. Despite their bias, they had Hillary up by 7 points just last week, so the change is noteworthy, The LA Times/USC daily polling has the race tied. Because of the uncertainty in terms of how groups that historically have low turnout on election day, will perform this election cycle, and the fact that the different pollsters’ definition of “the likely voter,” vary in guessing on their turnout, one can’t simply dismiss the outlier polls this time around–young people, for example, turned out in the primary elections in surprising numbers. Will Trump keep his young voters and other cohorts that rarely vote but did for him in the primaries? How many of Bernie’s young voters will bother to vote in the general election? How many will go over to Stein? Which polls account for the possible different turnout between Bernie’s enthusiastic young voters from the primaries, and Donald’s?
With the continuing high unfavorables for both Trump and Clinton, will the third parties get more actual voters than they usually do? IBD’s sample gave higher numbers for the Green Party than other polls do. Generally third parties see their support decline from the numbers shown in polls about this time before the election. The Green Party has actively recruited disaffected Bernie voters. Could this be significant? If IBD’s higher numbers for the third parties are correct, it might be leading the pollsters to underestimate Trump’s support from young voters as well as other first-time voters cohorts.
Given all of these uncertainties, logic and reason, dictate caution to me, although, if the election were held today, I think Hillary would be likely to win. But not strong enough yet for me to call the election in November for her.