Hello, friends, family and strangers. Welcome to the first of the weekly reports on the 2016 presidential electoral college race between Hillary R. Clinton and Donald J. Trump. I include strangers because I am making an effort on social media - notably Twitter and Facebook - to get this blog out to as many people as possible because the most respected name in poll aggregation, Nate Silver, is producing something called a "now-cast" that says the race for the presidency is close.
My numbers say it isn't. My numbers do not claim to be predictor of the election, only a snapshot of what the polls say today. Even so, what is being reported by Nate Silver amounts to mathematical malpractice and people need to know not all aggregators agree with him.
If you are a stranger, your first question should be: Who the hell is this guy?
I'm the guy who beat Nate Silver in 2008 and beat him again in 2012.
If I had some small disagreement with Silver's numbers, I might send him snide messages on Twitter, which he would likely ignore. The thing is, my numbers don't say a small difference. He said Trump was leading early this week and after the convention he now says it's 51%-49% for Clinton.
To repeat, I don't call my numbers a prediction, just a snapshot of what polls say now.
The snapshot says 99% to 1% for Clinton.
Let me quote Glengarry Glen Ross.
"You think I am fucking with you? I am not fucking with you."
We are 100 days away from the election and it feels like 100 years in purgatory. Having someone you trust telling you to worry makes it worse.
I'm here to say I'm as good as Nate Silver is (okay, just a little better) and right now he is peddling crap just as stinky as Ron Fournier, Howard Kurtz or Mark Halperin.
Let's go to the numbers, shall we?
The current count:
In my system, only 50%-50% counts as a toss-up.
You might notice that Trump's red line is trending upward and Clinton's blue line is trending downward.
It is worrying, but not distressing.
Here is how we get to this state of affairs. These numbers will explain my lack of distress.
Solid Trump (more than 95% Confidence of Victory [CoV]): ND WY OK ID WV KY AL NE KS TN LA SD MO AR NH TX AK MT MS SC IN
Leaning Trump (between 50% and 95% CoV for Trump): AZ GA IA NV UT
Toss-up (exactly 50% CoV): OH
Leaning Clinton (between 50% and 95% for Clinton): FL OR WI
Solid Clinton (more than 95% CoV for Clinton): MA DC HI CA VT IL RI MD NY NJ WA DE CO NM PA CT VA NC MN ME MI
The number that explains my current relative lack of distress: 267 Solid Clinton electoral votes. Yes, that's 267 out of a necessary 270. If she holds onto the stuff where she looks very good right now and wins Oregon or Wisconsin, she's the next president. Obama won both those states comfortably, and there are many other possible paths with nice noticeable odds, paths with over a 1% chance of happening. Trump's best single path to victory is currently at 0.05%.
For people who like to gamble, that path is now at 1 chance in 2,000.
The numbers that still give me distress: I wish this was a blow-out that would repudiate Trumpism for several elections to come. I don't think Clinton can get to 400 electoral votes, but over 350 is in the realm of possibility and that would be good. Under 300 would be a bad thing.
A blowout may not be needed to show all the cracks in the GOP coalition. We could see some very messed up stuff for them even before November.
Current probability of victory if the election were held today:
Feel any better, my left leaning friends? If so I'm glad. I live to serve.
To get an idea historically, Trump is in much worse shape right now than McCain or Romney were after the conventions were over. One advantage both the last two Republican nominees had was when it came to battleground states, they weren't playing defense. States didn't lean Republican, they were almost all Solid Republican, even the most contentious having a 95% Confidence of Victory for the GOP or better, most well over 99% CoV. They just had to steal several states from Obama, much easier said than done. Trump not only has to steal, he has to worry about states that were solidly Republican in the last few electoral contests. Playing defense in Utah and Georgia really surprises me, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them go back to Solidly Trump, but right now the deal has not been closed.
Once again, this is a snapshot and not a prediction. If you look around and think Trump is running a fucked-up campaign, here's some confirmation. The polls are saying most Americans agree with you.
To reiterate, if I pretty much agreed with Nate Silver's numbers, I wouldn't be trying to get this out to a larger audience. But we don't agree and I'm better than he is, based on the evidence from 2008 and 2012.
I'm a nerd and I'm a geezer, so let me quote The Guns of Will Sonnett.
"No brag, just fact."
(Note: Thanks to Ellis Weiner for his unpaid copy editing.)