Monday, January 25, 2016

New Hampshire polls:
Third week of January

The Dems: Sanders still has a comfortable lead in New Hampshire. The average for January is a 10.2 point lead, the median poll says 9 points. The Confidence of Victory method would give Bernie a 98% chance to come in first, but historically New Hampshire splits the delegates proportionally in both the Democratic and Republican contests; for the Democrats, the threshold to get delegates is 15%. For the Republicans, it is 10%. On the Democratic side, this means Martin O'Malley is shit out of luck. 15% for him would be a miracle.

The GOP: There is no drama for the first place finish like there is in Iowa, but the second through sixth contest has drama because of the 10% threshold. If the polling data is a fair indication, Rubio, Kasich and Cruz will have enough with Jeb:( and Christie will coming up short. But there is the idea of the confidence interval (or as it is known colloquially, the margin of error) and every one of the five guys in this pack has a measurable chance to succeed or fail.

I will admit that I always thought Trump would have faded by now, but he plays the media like a violin and his voters have not been turned off by anything he has said or done so far. Chuck Grassley introduced him to a crowd in Iowa, and though Grassley didn't endorse him, if the old school Republicans will be seen on the same stage with him, it's a sign the establishment is moving forward in its stages of grief. Bob Dole made a statement condemning Ted 'The Snake' Cruz - it looks like the 'nobody likes him' meme isn't an overstatement - and said Trump would be better than Cruz.

Here's a tiny piece of math the establishment could cling to. In this polling data, the two main outsiders add up to 41.9% and the four establishment Republicans add up to 41.8%. (I'm not counting Fiorina and Carson anymore, as their campaigns show no signs of life.) The thing is no one has really mounted an Anyone But Trump campaign effectively, so even when people drop out - and I expect several people to drop out after Iowa and New Hampshire - even voters whose first choice was someone traditional might switch over to Trump or Cruz, the least palatable candidates in the eyes of the establishment.

To quote Nassim Taleb, a writer I intensely dislike, this does look like a Black Swan event.

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