Sunday, June 26, 2016

Clinton vs. Trump:
Way Too Early 2: Electric Boogaloo

Last month, when the presumptive nominees became clear for both parties, I switched from checking the primaries to looking at November. I think this is still much too early, but this is a strange election in many ways, so here I am giving a snapshot of the electoral college before either convention.

The main strange thing is that both candidates are famous even to people who usually pay minimal attention to politics, and more than that, both candidates have more people that dislike them than like them. Obama has very high approval ratings for a guy in his last year, and some of that is because people are looking at who is going to be the next act on stage, and they aren't looking forward to it.

In any case, here's the snapshot based on still sketchy data.

How sketchy is the data? There are now a total of 20 states that have been pooled in either May or June, up from 14 in May alone.

Battleground states with no information so far: Indiana and Nevada

Changes from May: Kansas got polled and Hillary is ahead. It's just one poll and I don't want to make that much of it, but it is included in this month's snapshot. I don't consider it impossible. Governor Sam Brownback slashed taxes and has put the state in a serious hole. The love affair with small government conservatism may be fading. The other change is North Carolina going from Leaning Trump to Too Close to Call, which means it's a flat-footed tie at 50-50 as of one poll coming in this morning.

That means as of June 26, the electoral college snapshot is 336 for Clinton, 187 for Trump and 15 electoral votes too close to call.

The Golden Spike: The idea here is to rank the states from easiest for Trump to win to most difficult for Trump to win. (From the other vantage point, we can say it ranked for hardest for Hillary to easiest for her.) Currently, the Golden Spike is in Michigan, which has a Confidence of Victory number of 87% for Clinton right now. Assuming these numbers are somewhat accurate - which is a very generous assumption right now - here's the most direct path for Trump to get over 270 electoral votes, assuming he win all the states were he is currently favored.

North Carolina: 50% chance for Trump
Ohio: 37% chance for Trump
Colorado: 36%  chance for Trump
Oregon: 35%  chance for Trump
Pennsylvania: 25% chance for Trump

Michigan:  14% chance for Trump

There are other paths to victory as well, but all of the paths are about 1,000 to 1 shots or worse. Adding up the most likely, he is right now about a 500 to 1 underdog. There are other ways to win, but all of them require flipping a state where he has less than a 10% chance to win, according to the current numbers. 

In summary: It's still way too early for my Confidence of Victory numbers to live up to their name. I usually start making my "early predictions" in mid-October. Ignoring the national polls and going with what state-by-state data we have, Trump is in trouble, worse than McCain and much worse than Romney. The usually very organized and disciplined Republican Party is doing the Headless Chicken dance right now. The polls tell us we may see the largest third party numbers since Ross Perot, and those number are digging into Donald Trump more severely than they are digging into Hillary Clinton.

My next scheduled blog post is after the Democratic convention closes, which I still think of as "too early", but not "crazy too early", like this one.