Sunday, October 30, 2016

Clinton vs Trump.
30 October 2016,
9 days before the election

This post is going to be MUCH longer than usual.  If you just want the numbers, you can skip down to the graphs. If you want to see me take out The Big Ugly Stick on Nate Silver, Bill Gates, Survey Monkey and James Comey, read the whole essay.

Let's take a look at the states where the odds are really close, where the favorite is has a 60% chance or less of winning.

Alaska: 3 EV: Trump 60%, Clinton 40%
Alaska a battleground? I am as amazed to type this as you are to read it. Five polls make up this very surprising result. Two polls, Survey Monkey and C-VOTER International have this race as a sane person would expect, a complete whomping of the Democrat by the Republican, any Republican. But two polls, Google Consumer Survey and Lake Research, say Trump has a slender one point lead and both candidate are under 40%. And then there's Craciun Research, which I pronounce "Crazy One Research", that gives Clinton a comfortable four point lead 47% to 43%. This means the median shows a one point lead, which usually converts to about 60%-40% in Confidence of Victory.

I can only hope a more established polling company will take a crack at this race next week. Suffolk polled Alaska in June and gave Trump a nine point lead. I hope they get hired to go back, whatever the result.

Utah: 6 EV: Trump 52%, McMullin 30%, Clinton 18%
There was some talk early on that Utah might become a battleground because the Mormons disapprove of Trump's lifestyle and he, of course, hearing himself insulted, had to insult the state and the religion right back. Until polls in mid September, there was no sign of any trouble, but Trump, still in first place, was polling at 40% or less. In early October, polls started showing where the missing votes were going, supporting Evan McMullin, a Utah born former CIA operative who started running in August and is on the ballot in only 11 states.

For me, it was kinda fun to break out the algorithm for a really close three way race and the idea of a "favorite son" candidate is pleasantly quaint. That said, there have only been five polls since October 18, the first time McMullin looked competitive, and Trump leads in four of five.  Because of some messy math, I have to use averages instead of medians in my calculations and it is very unlikely the polls will make McMullin the favorite in the next nine days.

Ohio: 18 EV, Clinton 50%, Trump 50%
Ohio is Trump's proudest achievement is the race so far, and it is still a coin toss. In the eleven most recent polls, four of them - done by Emerson, Quinnipiac, Ipsos and Suffolk - have the race at dead even. Four give the advantage to Clinton and three say Trump is ahead.

My system may well rate this a toss-up a week from today. Stay tuned.

Arizona: 11 EV, Clinton 51%, Trump 49%
Polling companies are taking the idea that Arizona is a battleground state very seriously. Ten polls by ten different companies in the past three weeks and Clinton leads in five of them and Trump leads in five. (It's a little odd in a race this close to have no flat-footed ties.) This means the race is this close because it's the average of a Trump victory with a Clinton victory. I can't remember the last state where this was the case.

As older polls leave due to my freshness dating rules, good polls for Trump could swing this around.

Iowa: 6 EV, Clinton 59%, Trump 41%
Clinton's advantage is based on only six polls taken in the last three weeks, a sparse amount of polling for a swing state. She leads in four, one calls the race a tie and Trump is only given a lead by Survey Monkey, a very busy but erratic polling company that favors Trump almost exclusively in the true swing states.

Maine District 2: 1 EV, Clinton 59%, Trump 41%
There's sparse and then there's drought conditions. There have only been three polls in the past three weeks released dealing with Maine's two districts. District 1 is heavily Democratic, but District 2 is closer. This morning, University of New Hampshire released a poll they finished on October 25. One poll says it's tie, the median says it's a one point lead and the last gives Clinton a comfortable advantage.

I would love to see more polling here and in Nebraska's three districts as well, only the one including Omaha has any chance of being competitive.

I have about a week to fish my wish.

Nevada: 6 EV, Clinton 59%, Trump 41%
Nevada is being polled like crazy. Ten polls by ten different companies in the past ten days make up the list I'm working with. Clinton leads in six, three make it a flat-footed tie and Trump leads in one, yet again from Survey Monkey, the most Trump-friendly pollster in the battleground states.

Having mentioned all of these, even if Trump sweeps these races, he has a long way to go. Let's ignore the 2nd District's one electoral vote, which doesn't really help Trump win.  His chance to sweep the vital contests about 1.3%. He also desperately needs Florida and North Carolina, and multiplying those odds together, he gets way below a percent at 0.0487%, better stated as 487 parts per million.

And then he needs to win one more state where his chances are less than 10%, like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire or Michigan.

There are other paths to 269 electoral votes or more. I assume the Republicans are going to keep the House and in a contested race, they will elect the guy their voters really want, not pull some 1824 style shenanigans. But even adding all those up, his chances to win an election held today round to about one hundredth of a percent.

And make no mistake, the election IS being held as you are reading this. Nate Silver's numbers right now put Trump at 21.4%. I assumed his numbers would start to agree with others as the election got closer and his margin of error shrunk, but no. He is peddling horse dung and the public still eat it up. I haven't seen such an undeserved reputation for quality since Microsoft produced its truly awful 1980s software that turned a dozen or so nerds into billionaires.

I programmed for a living in the 1980s. Don't get me started on Bill Gates.

And then there's James Comey. I was on Twitter when the news broke Friday, and I got that numb "oh, crap" feeling I got when Hillary fainted on September 11. Then the news clarified. Comey didn't have a warrant to look at these e-mails, they were likely from Anthony Weiner on his former wife's computer. They were a complete waste of time and Comey comes out looking worse than anybody else in this horrible episode, having more egg on his face than even Weiner or the eager beavers in the House.

I tend to stay with the numbers and report on what they say about the race, but the polling that will come out may not give a clear view of the impact. My best instincts say the impact is minimal. People supporting Clinton will find the news outlets that correctly call this a nothing burger and people supporting Trump already think Clinton should be executed by a combination of hanging and shooting only after being given a slow acting, painful poison, so this will not change their view.

This won't change a lot of minds. Trump doesn't need a bombshell at this point, he needs an asteroid hitting the planet. This is not the asteroid he was looking for.

And now the numbers and the pretty pictures, prettier if you are a Clinton supporter.

Here is the list of states and districts, from most likely to go Trump to most likely to go Clinton.  RED indicates a state moving from one category to another in Trump's direction, while BLUE means the state moved in Clinton's direction.
Solid Trump (more than 95% Confidence of Victory [CoV]): 
Total: 145

Leaning Trump (between 50% and 95% CoV for Trump): MO GA AK UT
Total: 35

Toss-up: OH
Total: 18
Leaning Clinton (between 50% and 95% for Clinton): 
Total: 188

Solid Clinton (more than 95% CoV for Clinton): 
Total: 222

The Current Count


Utah moved from Toss-up to leaning Trump and given that it's a three way race, having more than 50% means a lot. States where Trump is a prohibitive lead got a little stronger for him, notable Texas and Indiana, and a few states where Clinton was a 95% favorite have changed to her being about a 90% favorite. Eventually, some state where one candidate is a 90% favorite is going to switch sides, but it hasn't happened yet in roughly 200 contests I followed in 2004, 2008 and 2012 general elections. (Primary races are a completely different kettle of fish.) So far, the states I've gotten wrong have been where the favorite was no better than 70%. That's why I listed the seven races at the top of the post. With just over a week to go, that's where the action is. If Trump wins all of those, he still isn't president.

And now the overall odds if the election were held today and the fifteen races my algorithm thinks are worth watching.

Here are the 15 states considered this week's by the algorithm.

Trump's non-battleground count of electors: 128

The battleground states ranked by pqn:
(Clinton %, Trump %, electors)
1. FL: 76%, 24%, 29
. OH: 50%, 50%, 18

3. AZ: 51%, 49%, 11
4. GA: 21%, 79%, 16
5. NC: 85%, 15%, 15
6: UT: 48%, 52%, 6 (48% is Clinton + McMullin)
7. IA: 59%, 41%, 6
8. NV: 59%, 41%, 6
9, PA: 93%, 7%, 20
10. MI: 95%, 5%, 16 
11. WI: 92%, 8%, 10
12. AK: 40%, 60%, 3
13. MO: 7%, 93%, 10 
14. TX: 1%, 99%, 38

15. SC: 5%, 95%, 9

Current probability of victory if the election were held today:
Clinton 99.87%
Trump    0.13%

I hate celebrating early, but there isn't time for Trump to turn this mess around. Breaking 200 electoral votes will be a moral victory for him, but 269? Like I said earlier, he needs an asteroid to hit, not a little skipping stone like James Comey's career suicide last Friday.

Back on Saturday with the last weekend, starting with the still close battle for control of the Senate. Frickin' finally.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Senate races
29 October 2016

This is the next to last weekend before the election. Polling companies are paying close attention to most of the close races and the general trend is favoring the Democrats. Here is the graph of probabilities for how many seats the Republicans will hold in the Senate that convenes in January.

The most likely outcome is still a 50-50 split, with control of the Senate going to party that controls the White House. It is extremely likely that will mean Tim Kaine will be breaking any ties, as will be made apparent in tomorrow's post about the presidential race. But for the first time since any serious polling has been done, the second most likely outcome is for the Republicans to be in the actual minority.

Here's the lay of the land. There are 34 Senate contests, and 29 of them aren't close. In those races, it looks like the GOP are going to lose 3 of their 54 seats, bringing it down to 51-49 with five seats still closely contested.

The Republicans are on defense in four of the five closely contested races. If they win in Nevada, they could gain a seat. In every other close race, they can either stay at the current level or lose a seat. That means the optimal split for the GOP is 52-48 and the optimal for the Democrats is 47-53, barring major upsets. Here's the news on the five close races.

Nevada: Advantage Democrats, 55% to 45%
This race was advantage Republicans until this month. Now it is being polled by a lot of companies and of the last ten polls, five favor the Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, four show a lead for Republican Joe Heck and one says it's a tie. It's about as small a lead as my system can create, but the momentum is in her favor.

North Carolina: Advantage Republicans, 66% to 34%
Of the "close" races, this is the least close. My system uses the median poll, and the ten polls currently being counted have seven in favor of incumbent Richard Burr. It would take a serious flurry of polls favoring his opponent Deborah Ross in the next week for this to change sides.

Missouri: Advantage Republicans. 55% to 45%
This race is unusual among the close five in that not a lot of companies have decided to do polling in Missouri. Trump's lead looks solid, but Roy Blount is in a contest, if we can trust the four polls taken this month. This is the only close race in a non-battlefield state. Go figure.

New Hampshire: Toss-up, 50% to 50%
Kelly Ayotte and Maggie Hassan are in a serious tussle. The last ten polls have four favoring Hassan, four giving Hassan the lead and two ties. Whoever polls better in the last week will get the advantage in my system.

Pennsylvania: Toss-up, 50% to 50%
Control of the Senate may very well come down to our all-Irish donnybrook in The Keystone State. In the last ten polls, Democrat Kate McGinty has the lead in four, there are four ties, and incumbent GOP Senator Pat Toomey leads in two. Again, the last week of polls will make a big difference, but the wind is at McGinty's back.  

Back tomorrow with more news about the long national nightmare that is Clinton vs Trump.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Clinton vs Trump.
23 Oct. 2016,
16 days from the election

Here is the list of states and districts, from most likely to go Trump to most likely to go Clinton.  RED indicates a state moving from one category to another in Trump's direction, while BLUE means the state moved in Clinton's direction.
Solid Trump (more than 95% Confidence of Victory [CoV]):
Total: 96

Leaning Trump (between 50% and 95% CoV for Trump): IN MO TX AK GA
Total: 78

Toss-up: OH UT
Total: 24
Leaning Clinton (between 50% and 95% for Clinton):
Total: 88

Solid Clinton (more than 95% CoV for Clinton): NM WI NH MN CO ME CT ME-1 WA NJ OR DE MI VA RI IL NY MD VT HI MA CA DC
Total: 252

The current count 



The best news this week gives to Trump is that deal is not sealed in Ohio.

The worst news for Trump is that the deal is also not sealed in Utah and the manner in which it is no longer clear makes the news even worse for the Republican nominee. 

There have been seven polls in the past two weeks in Utah that have checked the numbers for Evan McMullin, a last ditch candidate put up by the Never Trump people, a candidate without even a party affiliation. While McMullin gets less national press than Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, in Utah his poll numbers are rising quickly, the most recent poll from Emerson showing him in the lead. The Confidence of Victory method can deal with races with three or more fairly even competitors, and the current numbers give Trump a 47% chance to win, Clinton a 28% chance and McMullin at 25%. If any candidate gets over 50% in the three-way race, my system will give them the nod.

It's added a little spice to a contest that doesn't look like it has many surprises left.

And now the Probability of Victory numbers.
Trump's chances can still be read off in parts per million, specifically 590 ppm. Nate Silver's idea that he has a 13% chance this late in the game mystifies me. Right now, he has to keep every state where he has a lead - not very hard right now - and then take Utah, Ohio, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Florida and then one bonus state, like Pennsylvania, New Mexico or Wisconsin. There is no way in hell the odds in all his possible paths adds up to even 1%, let alone 13%.

Here are the 15 states considered this week's by the algorithm.

Trump's non-battleground count of electors: 128

The battleground states ranked by pqn:

(Clinton %, Trump %, electors)
1. OH: 50%, 50%, 18
2. FL: 85%, 15%, 29

3. NC: 70%, 30%, 15

4. TX: 8%, 92%, 38
5. AZ: 60%, 40%, 11
6. GA: 19%, 81%, 16
7: UT: 53%, 47%, 6 (53% is Clinton + McMullin)
8: PA: 92%, 8%, 20

9. IA: 59%, 41%, 6
10. NV: 77%, 23%, 6
11. MO: 9%, 91%, 10 
12. IN: 6%, 94%, 11
13. AK: 9%, 91%, 3
14. WI: 97%, 3%, 10
15. ME-2: 59%, 41%, 1

Current probability of victory if the election were held today:
Clinton 99.94%
Trump    0.06%


 Just 16 days left until this mess is officially over. I have no idea how the House is going and as you can see from yesterday's post, there is still some drama in the Senate. But when it comes to the race that is taking up the vast majority of the discussion, the drama is nearly non-existent.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Senate Races
22 October 2016

Let's start with the basics. The Republicans currently have 54 Senators, the Democrats 44 and two independent Senators are part of the Democratic caucus.

34 seats are being contested. 24 of those seats are held by Republicans and 10 held by Democrats.

For the Democrats on defense, only Nevada looks close, the race to fill the seat being vacated by Harry Reid. More on that in the explanation of the close races.

For the Republicans on defense, they look to be losing three seats: Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Of the remaining 21 races, only four are close, one slightly favoring the GOP in North Carolina and three races that are flat-flooted toss-ups using the current data. Here is the graph for the current odds based on the number of Republican seats held.

Here are the trends in October. The last two weeks show momentum for the Democrats. In the very likely case of a Clinton victory, a 50-50 split in the Senate would mean a Democratic majority, as Vice President Tim Kaine would hold the deciding vote. This means that as of today, there is a 66% chance the Democrats will control the Senate. 

Probability of Republicans holding the Senate outright:
22 October: 33.9%
15 October: 41.2%
8 October: 53.8%
1 October: 43.8%

Probability of a 50-50 split: 
22 October: 32.0%
15 October: 31.0%
8 October: 29.2%
1 October: 30.7%

Probability of the Democrats taking the Senate back outright:
22 October: 34.2%
15 October: 28.8%
8 October:18.0%
1 October: 25.5%

The close races.

Nevada. Using the last 10 polls, Republican Joe Heck has an advantage, his Confidence of Victory at 62%, compared to 38% for Catherine Cortez Masto. If we look at the most recent seven polls, three favor Heck, three favor Cortez Masto and the last says the race is a tie. As older polls are replaced in the forecast, these numbers could trend Democratic.

North Carolina: As in Nevada, the Republican candidate Richard Burr has a slight lead at 66% to 34% over challenger Deborah Ross in a very heavily polled race. Unlike Nevada, recent polls do not show any trend towards the Democrat. The current median puts it at a 1% to 2% lead.

The really close races: current median poll shows a tie

New Hampshire: Seven polls are being used in the New Hampshire race. Three favor the Democrat Hassan, two favor the incumbent Ayotte and two show the race even. Looking at the most recent, the trend looks to go in Hassan's favor.

Pennsylvania: I love the Irish names in this race, Pat Toomey vs. Katie McGinty. It reminds me of The Last Hurrah, but in politics that old school, both candidates would be male. Right now, eleven polls are being used, four that favor Toomey, three that favor McGinty and four that show a tie race. That means the average would be in favor the Republican. Like North Carolina, there is no recent trend towards the Democrat. If forced to choose a winner here, right now I would bet on Toomey.

Missouri: Unlike other tight races, this one has only been polled sparsely. There are three polls this month, Once favoring the incumbent Roy Blount, one favors challenger Jason Kander and one shows a tie at 44-44. If asked to gamble here, I would politely decline, based on the scarcity of real information.

Back tomorrow with Clinton and Trump, a race with some interesting twists and turns, but one extremely likely outcome.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Clinton vs. Trump.
16 October 2016,
23 days from the election

Here is the list of states and districts, from most likely to go Trump to most likely to go Clinton.  RED indicates a state moving from one category to another in Trump's direction, while BLUE means the state moved in Clinton's direction.

Solid Trump (more than 95% Confidence of Victory [CoV]):ND NE-3 NE-1 WY ID WV NE OK AL MT AR TN LA KY TX NE-2 KS MS SD GA
Total: 141

Leaning Trump (between 50% and 95% CoV for Trump): AK MO UT IN SC
Total: 39

Toss-up: AZ
Total: 11
Leaning Clinton (between 50% and 95% for Clinton): ME-2 IA OH NV NC FL NH MN NM CO
Total: 103

Solid Clinton (more than 95% CoV for Clinton):PA WI NJ VA ME DE OR MI RI CT ME-1 NY IL MD VT HI MA CA DC
Total: 244

The current count 



Not much good news for Trump. Georgia is always hovering around the 95% mark and this week it went above that number. Minnesota looks a little closer this week, but it's still at a comfortable 92% chance to go Clinton.

Trump is about at his basement number now, except maybe in the very rarely polled 2nd District of Nebraska. As of this writing, none of the states he holds are battlegrounds, instead they are very solidly in his camp.

That's the nice way to say that if a state is a legitimate battleground, Clinton is leading, or in the case of Arizona, it currently looks even and Clinton is trending in the right direction. And now the Probability of Victory numbers.

Trump's non-battleground count of electors: 128

The battleground states ranked by pqn:

(Clinton %, Trump %, electors)
1. FL: 80%, 20%, 29
2. OH: 70%, 30%, 18
3. NC: 73%, 27%, 15
4. AZ: 50%, 50%, 11
5. IA: 64%, 36%, 6
6. NV: 71%, 29%, 6
7. SC: 9%, 91%, 9
8. MN: 92%, 8%, 10

9. IN: 6%, 94%, 11
10. MO: 6%, 94%, 10 
11. CO: 95%, 5%, 9

12. GA: 3%, 97%, 16
13. PA: 98%, 2%, 20
14. NH: 89%, 11%, 4 

15: UT: 6%, 94%, 6

Current probability of victory if the election were held today:
Clinton 99.93%
Trump    0.07%

Here's where I'm supposed to give the reminder that this is a snapshot and not a prediction.

It's mid-October. In a very real sense, the election is being held today. I have my absentee ballot, I've filled it in and I'm walking it over to the Registrar of Voters today. In a lot of places, people are filling in their ballots, either early voting or absentee. We still have three weeks and change before we know stuff for a fact, but the Trump Slump continues, putting his chances of winning down to 724 parts per million. Obama never had a lead like this over Romney, this looks more like Obama-McCain.

Simply put, it's a major ass-kicking and it's very late in the game. 

Back next week Saturday with the very competitive race for the Senate.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Senate Races
15 October 2016

The Senate races are polled much less often than the presidential election and there are fewer states I would consider true battlegrounds. The news was generally good for the Democrats' chances to re-take the Senate, returning the race to about the same shape it was two weeks ago.

Let's begin with the chart showing the odds for the number of GOP seats that will be held.
Instead of a two week look as usual, here's the last three week's numbers by category.

Probability of Republicans holding the Senate outright:
15 October: 41.2%
8 October: 53.8%
1 October: 43.8%

Probability of a 50-50 split: 
15 October: 31.0%
8 October: 29.2%
1 October: 30.7%

Probability of the Democrats taking the Senate back outright:
15 October: 28.8%
8 October:18.0%
1 October: 25.5%

Technically, a 50-50 Senate belongs to the party who has the vice president, and right now the presidential race is not much of a contest.

Here is the movement in the closest current races.

Nevada: Joe Heck still leads Catherine Cortez Masto in the race to replace Harry Reid, but this week one poll showed Cortez Masto ahead. This coincided with Heck withdrawing his support for Trump. Trump is likely to want revenge, but his first priority right now is proving all the women who have claimed he groped them are delusional or too ugly to be molested or both. We'll see if Trump can multi-task enough to hurt the GOP brand as much as he has hurt his own.

Current odds: 75%-25% GOP gain

Wisconsin: On the flip side, Wisconsin looked like a cakewalk for former Senator Russ Feingold to unseat Republican Ron Johnson, the race has tightened here and the median poll has a three point lead for the Democratic challenger.

Current odds: 85%-15% Democratic gain

Indiana: Challenger Evan Bayh has held the lead consistently, but the median poll says he only leads by three.

Current odds: 83%-16% Democratic gain

Missouri: My system uses the median poll and freshness dating. Any time a new poll is entered, any poll more than three weeks old is no longer considered. Early on, it looked like Roy Blount was a prohibitive favorite, but a mid month September poll showed challenger Jason Kander ahead. Now a mid-month October poll has Blount back in the lead in a close contest, all the older polls now being ignored. Even though I'm a libtard Commie, I assume the free market of the polling industry will be intrigued by something that looks like a close race and I will get more data to play with. So far in Missouri, the market has been disappointing.

Current odds: 66%-34% Republicans keep the seat

North Carolina: In these last three contests, the polling industry definitely treats these races as interesting. In North Carolina, ten polls have been taken in the last three weeks. Incumbent Republican Richard Burr has the lead in five polls, challenger Deborah Ross leads in three and two have an even split. While it has been going back and forth, Burr looks better in recent polls and my freshness dating factor could help in the weeks ahead as older polls fall out of the data set.

Current odds: 60%-40% Republicans keep the seat

New Hampshire: The race between GOP incumbent Kelly Ayotte and Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan has five polls in the past three weeks. Each candidate has two polls showing her as the leader and the median has a flat-footed tie. Freshness dating doesn't favor either candidate.  This really looks like a nail-biter.

Current odds: 50%-50% Republicans on defense

Pennsylvania:In the past ten polls, Democratic challenger Katie McGinty leads in five, two show a tie and GOP incumbent Pat Toomey leads in the other three. Freshness dating moving forward gives Toomey a chance to climb up.

On a personal note, I love this all-Irish contest. It reminds me of old school East Coast politics. 
Current odds: 61%-39% Republicans lose the seat

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Clinton vs. Trump.
9 October 2016,
30 days from the election

Very good week for Clinton and all with polls taken before the audio tape emerged. Sam Wang at Princeton, who is much better known than I am and has a model very close to mine, thinks Republicans are abandoning Trump not because of the tape, but because they see his ship is sinking and the tape gives them an excuse. It will be interesting to see how the rescinded endorsements effect the Senate races.

Here is the list of states and district, from most likely to go Trump to most likely to go Clinton.  RED indicates a state moving from one category to another in Trump's direction, while BLUE means the state moved in Clinton's direction.

Solid Trump (more than 95% Confidence of Victory [CoV]): ND NE-3 WY NE-1 ID WV AL NE AR OK MT MS KS KY UT SD LA TN SC MO TX NE-2 IN
Total: 161

Leaning Trump (between 50% and 95% CoV for Trump): GA AK IA AZ ME-2
Total: 37

Toss-up: NV
Total: 6
Leaning Clinton (between 50% and 95% for Clinton): OH CO FL NC PA NM NH WI ME MI
Total: 128

Solid Clinton (more than 95% CoV for Clinton): MN VA DE CT NJ WA OR RI ME-1 MA IL NY VT HI MD CA DC

 The current count 



All the movement from one category to another favored Clinton this week, the biggest move being Ohio switching sides. The best news for Trump is Nevada staying at 50%-50% and Florida and Colorado becoming more competitive for him, though still favoring Clinton.

By next week, the polls will reflect the Access Hollywood tape, the Republican defections and the results of the second debate. As I type this, the debate hasn't happened yet, but this is a Town Hall style format. The conventional wisdom is that going negative in a Town Hall is the quickest way to lose. Hillary doesn't have to get under his skin, she's already done that.

And for Clinton supporters, I now bring out the dessert.

 Trump's non-battleground count of electors: 153

The battleground states ranked by pqn:

(Clinton %, Trump %, electors)
1. FL: 72%, 38%, 29
2. OH: 64%, 36%, 18
3. PA: 76%, 24%, 20

. NC: 72%, 28%, 15

5. AZ: 31%, 69%, 11
6. CO: 67%, 33%, 9
7. NV: 50%, 50%, 6
8. WI: 89%, 11%, 10
9. MI: 94%, 6%, 16
10. GA: 5%, 95%, 16

11. IA: 13%, 87%, 6
12. NM: 88%, 12%, 4

13. IN: 4%, 96%, 11 
14. NH: 89%, 11%, 4
15. MN: 96%, 4%, 10

Current probability of victory if the election were held today:
Clinton 97.1%
Trump    2.9%

As I have stated many times, my system gives a snapshot of what would happen if the election were held today. While election day is now a month off, I would say Trump really has about two weeks to do something he has not done once this year. He needs to have an actual lead in states and districts that add up to 269 electoral votes. (My assumption is that if he can do that, the GOP will still hold the House and he would win the tie.) 

I do not claim to be psychic. I have no idea what news we will see in the weeks ahead. I have a hard time guessing what stories are going to gain traction. I would have assumed Trump CEO Steve Bannon being outed as an anti-Semitic wife beater was going to be a big deal and Trump's treatment of weight gaining beauty queen twenty years after the fact wouldn't even be important twelve hours later. 

For those of you keeping score at home, that's Reality 2, Hubbard 0.
But I will bring up my simile first written on May Day. This election will be like an anaconda swallowing a pig: long, slow, ugly and inevitable. It has been long, slow and ugly every damned day, but it wasn't completely inevitable for a few weeks in September.

September is over. I stand by the simile.

Back next Saturday to check out the Senate. Keep calm and make sure your friends are registered. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Senate Races
8 October 2016

The news for the GOP in the presidential race has been bad, but this week brought them good news in the battle to retain control of the Senate. One good poll for the Democratic challenger in Missouri has been outweighed by several good polls for the incumbent, and Evan Bayh's advantage in Indiana is slipping. The most likely single outcome is now 51 seats for the GOP. For four weeks, my system had a 50-50 split as the most likely result.

Here are the changes from last week.

Probability of Republicans holding the Senate outright: 53.8%, up from 43.8%
Probability of a 50-50 split: 29.2%, down from 30.7% 
Probability of the Democrats taking the Senate back: 18.0%, down from 25.5%

My algorithm currently is set up to follow ten close races. As of this week, there are only four I consider truly close and the Republicans are playing defense in all of them.

Probable Republican pick-up: Harry Reid is retiring and Republican Joe Heck has held a consistent slim lead in the polls for months now in the race to replace Reid.

Very likely Republican losses: Russ Feingold in Wisconsin and Tammy Duckworth in Illinois are strong favorites to gain two seats for the Democrats. This would mean a net gain of one for the Democrats and the GOP would still have 53 senators.

Very likely holds for both parties: There's currently very little drama in Missouri or Florida for the Republican incumbents and even less drama in Colorado for the Democratic incumbent.

The four close races:
Indiana: Very little polling here and the most recent poll has Evan Bayh with a very slender one point lead, down from four in September and seven in August. My system now puts him as a 61% to 39% favorite, down from 85% to 15% just last month.

Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and North Carolina: Many senate races have been polled only sporadically, but that is not true in these three states. In all three cases, there have been recent polls in favor of the Republican incumbents and others in favor of the Democratic challengers. Both Pennsylvania and North Carolina are flat-footed ties in my system and Kelly Ayotte's advantage in New Hampshire is about 51% to 49%. All three of these states are now in the Leaning Clinton camp. So far, the coattails on Hillary's pantsuits have been literally and figuratively very short.

Back tomorrow with news on the presidential race. Spoiler alert: all the competent aggregators agree on the general trend, though there is disagreement on the current odds.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Clinton vs Trump.
2 October 2016,
37 days from the election

In last week's post, things improved for Trump, though he was still behind. This week's polls have reversed the trend, giving Clinton her best news in over a month.

Here are the list of states and districts in five categories, listed from Solid Trump to Solid Clinton. As of this week, both Maine and Nebraska's separate districts are on the list.  RED indicates a state moving from one category to another in Trump's direction, while BLUE means the state moved in Clinton's direction.

Solid Trump (more than 95% Confidence of Victory [CoV]): ND NE-3 WY NE-1 ID WV NE AR OK TN MT AL LA TX UT SC AK MO MS KY SD KS NE-2 ME-2 IN 
Total: 165

Leaning Trump (between 50% and 95% CoV for Trump): IA GA AZ OH
Total: 51

Toss-up: NV
Total: 6
Leaning Clinton (between 50% and 95% for Clinton): NC PA CO FL WI ME NM NH MI RI OR
Total: 121

Solid Clinton (more than 95% CoV for Clinton): MN VA NJ CT WA DE IL MD ME-1 NY VT CA HI DC

The current count 



This week's polling made big changes in several true battleground states, Nevada, North Carolina and Florida, and all those changes were in Clinton's favor. The changes that helped Trump were less vital, moving Nebraska from Leaning Trump to Solid Trump, New Mexico and Oregon from Solid Clinton to Leaning Clinton. This brings Clinton's lead in the electoral college to a nice round 100 electors ahead.

If Clinton supporters feel like taking a sigh of relief, I will not stop you. More good news is coming.

 Trump's non-battleground count of electors: 165

The battleground states ranked by pqn
(Clinton%, Trump%, electors)

1. FL: 78%, 22%, 29
2. PA: 68%, 32%, 20
. NC: 59%, 41%, 15

4. OH: 28%, 72%, 18
5. AZ: 26%, 74%, 11
6. CO: 77%, 23%, 9
7. NV: 50%, 50%, 6
8. GA: 10%, 90%, 16

9. MI: 90%, 10%, 16
10. WI: 83%, 17%, 10
11. IA: 18%, 82%, 6
12. NM: 89%, 11%, 4

13. MN: 96%, 4%, 10
14. VA: 97%, 3%, 13
15. NH: 89%, 11%, 4

Current probability of victory if the election were held today:
Clinton 92.6%
Trump    7.4%

I never loved that Texas was considered a battleground by my algorithm and because it's back in Trump's strong category, his baseline is at 165 electoral votes. That means he still has to capture 104 more, and that won't be easy. I have Clinton's chances at 92.6% to 7.4%. As I have said in the past, as a former gambler I hate to celebrate early, but it is nice to see a good week for Clinton with time slowly running out.

Many people ask me about Nate Silver. Let us start with what we have in common. We both think Hillary is in the lead and she had a very good week. Where we disagree is the how comfortable her lead is. Silver's polls only numbers are now at 66.8% to 33.2%.

People ask if I worry about how much Silver and I disagree. The answer is no. If I trusted his work, I wouldn't do this stuff week after week. He's well known but I think his product is weak. I'm an old school programmer from the 1980s. When I think of successful and not very good, I think of Microsoft.

Scratch that, I now think of Microsoft and Nate Silver.

If I have any concerns in this week's numbers, it's that Pennsylvania got closer. Right now, Trump's easiest paths to victory entail holding on to Ohio and winning Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Colorado and one other state of his choice. It these combinations of states to win that make his odds so long.

Of course, these are just the numbers, which are often not well reported. On the campaign trail, Trump is in a quagmire re-litigating the 1990s. From battles with beauty queens to bringing up Bill Clinton's infidelities to Trump's 1995 New Jersey tax return claiming a loss of $900 million, stuff from twenty years ago that should be ancient history politically is being kept daisy fresh and none of it to Trump's advantage.

I also want to apologize for all the negative things I said about the reporting in The New York Times this campaign. The tax stuff amounts to a nuclear sized bombshell. Susanne Craig, the woman at the Times who was sent these documents anonymously, has been asked if she has other stuff. Her answer was "no comment".


By next week, we should see the effect of the tax story on the polls and next Sunday, we get the second debate, a town hall style show.

I'll be back next Saturday with the latest numbers on the Senate.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Senate Races
1 October 2016

It's October! There were times this summer when it felt like we'd never get here.

This week there were 13 Senate polls overall, a relatively low number. Only two states showed any major movement, one getting closer but not actually close in Florida, the other a very tight race leaning to the Republican side.
Here are the changes from last week.

Probability of Republicans holding the Senate outright: 43.8%, up from 37.5%
Probability of a 50-50 split: 30.7%, down from 32.1% 
Probability of the Democrats taking the Senate back: 25.5%, down from 28.6%

Races that changed.
1. In Pennsylvania, GOP incumbent Pat Toomey is now a slight favorite to beat challenger Katie McGinty at 54% to 46%. Last week, she was favored 63% to 37% and the week before, it was a 50% to 50% call. Right now, this is the most volatile race.

2. Florida isn't close, but it's getting closer. Marco Rubio was a 92% to 8% favorite last week, but that slipped to 86% to 14%.

For the fourth consecutive week, the two most likely outcomes are the Republicans with either 50 or 51 seats. The Democrats taking the Senate back is the third most likely outcome.

Back tomorrow with the numbers in the presidential race.