Friday, August 5, 2016

Are We Seeing a Meaningful Shift in the Presidential Race This Week?

I talked a little bit about this in my previous post.

Expanding the map: Hillary is now even leading by 4 points in Georgia

We have seen a dramatic swing to Hillary this week. It's not just her DNC convention bounce either.

"Seems pretty clear now there were two bounces: Clinton's convention, then a negative for Trump with Khan. It's wider now than Monday."

"The polls get worse for Trump the more recent the field dates are. This is not just the DNC; it's the meltdown."

Nate Cohn in any case argues that Hillary might keep her bounce as a big part of it is a ramp up in Dem unity.

Bruce Bartlett:

"GOP was united behind McCain & Romney and Obama got a majority of the vote against both. Deeply divided GOP will do much worse this year."

Obama won by 7 points over Romney and 5 over McCain so that's the benchmark.

Hillary now has leads larger than she ever had previously to this week. Which would suggest that at least some of it could be permanent.

Now Nate Cohn has a new piece in light of the polls we've been seeing the last few days.

Bruce Bartlett:

"GOP was united behind McCain & Romney and Obama got a majority of the vote against both. Deeply divided GOP will do much worse this year."

Obama won by 7 points over Romney and 5 over McCain so that's the benchmark.

Hillary now has leads larger than she ever had previously to this week. Which would suggest that at least some of it could be permanent. 

Nate Cohn has another Upshot piece today arguing this Hillary bounce could be permanent.

"Hillary Clinton has a large and perhaps growing lead in the nation and in many of the predominantly white battleground states where Donald Trump was thought to have his best shot, according to a wave of new surveys released in the last two days."

"Three national surveys — from Fox, NBC/WSJ and Marist/McClatchy — showed Mrs. Clinton ahead by big margins: 10, 9 and 15 percentage points. It’s the worst polling stretch for a presidential candidate at this stage since John McCain in mid-October of 2008."

"It’s a little hard to make sense of it all, in part because the timing is a little unusual. This ought to be the heart of Mrs. Clinton’s post-convention bounce, when polling analysts generally preach caution. On the other hand, Mr. Trump had a tough week of his own making — drawing condemnation from Republican leaders and even causing a few high-profile defections from donors and the conservative media."

Now this is normally where caution is preached.

Nate Silver of course insists on caution.

"Clinton's winning by around 8% today. But our models suspect that'll fade to more like 4-6% by Election Day."

Does Nate Silver's model assume Trump is a generic Republican candidate-as this would be in line with Romney and McCain in two Obama wins.

But like Bruce Bartlett says, for starters Romney and McCain had a totally unified Republican party behind them.

Silver also says:

"Again, good chance this is a high-water mark for Clinton. Although Georgia's looking like a real problem for Trump."

Silver does let us have a little fun:

"But just for fun here's what an 8% Clinton lead looks like: - Narrowly favored in GA, AZ - UT, TX, SC competitive"
This would give Hillary an 8.6 point win and 373 electoral votes-which would still be less than Bill got against Dole in 1996-with 378.

But if Nate Silver is still cautious, Nate Cohn is-cautiously of course-suggesting we could be seeing a real shift in the race.

"The prudent approach is to wait, and see whether Mrs. Clinton’s lead endures for another week or two — after convention bounces usually fade. In the interim, we can cautiously say that there is more reason than usual to think that Mrs. Clinton’s newfound lead represents a meaningful shift in the race, one that would make a comeback for Mr. Trump seem daunting if it holds."

"Part of the reason Mrs. Clinton’s bounce seems more likely to last is that it seems to be coming from greater party unity: growing support from Bernie Sanders’s backers. The Marist poll showed Mrs. Clinton with the support of 90 percent of his voters, while a CNN poll gave her 91 percent. These numbers had usually been in the 60s or 70s."

"Mrs. Clinton’s support appears to be underpinned by her improving image among Democratic-leaning voters, according to Gallup data. She could still lose some of those voters to third-party candidates, but Mr. Trump faces similar risks."

"These gains have allowed Mrs. Clinton to move up to around 47 or 48 percent of the vote in recent polls. This is not an especially impressive tally, but for that same reason it seems reasonable to expect she could keep it: She’s not winning the support of a huge number of voters whom you would expect to abandon her."

"At the same time, the unusually large number of voters considering a third-party candidate make Mrs. Clinton’s tallies seem likelier to be enough to win."

"The polling numbers for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein will probably decline — especially once likely-voter screens are added. Mrs. Clinton’s tally would probably improve in the process; some of those voters would drift to her, and her voters would become a larger share of likely voters."

"Mr. Trump, on the other hand, faces the opposite issue. His support has plummeted: In fact, he didn’t even breach 40 percent in any of the national surveys that were released on Wednesday or Thursday."

"His huge edge among white working-class voters has all but vanished, at least temporarily. In the last four national surveys, he has held just 51.5 percent of white voters without a college degree — worse than the 57 percent he held in June and July polls conducted ahead of the Democratic convention, and even worse than the 55 percent of the vote held by Mitt Romney in pre-election polls in 2012."

"The effect has been obvious in many states with large numbers of white voters without a degree, like New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. A MassINC/WBUR poll showed Mrs. Clinton up by 15 points in New Hampshire — the third-whitest state in the country. She led by 11 points among likely voters in a Franklin and Marshall poll in Pennsylvania."

"She has not secured these white working-class voters for herself. She’s averaging 34 percent of white voters without a degree over the last four surveys — less than the 37 percent that Mr. Obama held in 2012. Or put differently: Mr. Trump, even at his nadir, appears to be winning white working-class voters by about the same margin as Mr. Romney did in pre-election polls."

"Realistically, Mr. Trump will win many of these voters back under more favorable circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that his decline is a nonissue. There hasn’t been a presidential candidate with so many poll numbers in the 30s at this stage of the race in a long time."

"And while it may just be a coincidence, his numbers have gotten worse with every survey this week — even as the convention fades farther in the rearview mirror. It at least raises the possibility that he is being damaged as much by himself as the Democratic convention."

"The concern for Mr. Trump isn’t that he can’t recover to 42 or 43 percent of the vote. It’s that the same stories making fairly reliable supporters reconsider their allegiances, at least momentarily, are solidifying Mrs. Clinton’s hold on the 47 or 48 percent or so who currently support her in the polls."

"Perhaps even worse, he could be hardening the resistance of the remaining undecided voters who don’t have a favorable impression of either candidate but who do not believe that he is qualified to be president or that he has the temperament to do the job. Altogether, he appears to be in danger of becoming unacceptable to a clear majority of voters. Indeed, just 39 percent of voters said he was “acceptable” in the Marist poll. No, this is not a normal result of a convention bounce."

"Polls conducted a few weeks after the conventions have proved to begenerally accurate. They’re not perfect, but no modern presidential candidate who has trailed a few weeks after the conventions has gone on to win the popular vote. Mr. Trump is in serious danger of needing to be the first candidate to pull it off — with more baggage weighing him down, for good measure."

I think what Bruce Bartlett said is key. Trump is failing to even unify his own party. The demographic advantages that Democrats have is baked into the cake. But Trump's problem with college educated whites-Hillary could be the first Dem to win them since 1952-added to the natural Dem demographic advantages-seem like a recipe for Hillary to exceed Obama's margins in 2012 and even 2008.


  1. I couldn't resist a little trolling on Breitbart. You may have seen my twitter version:

    FOX NEWS ALERT!!: Trump leads polling in coveted demographic: white male inbreds with anger management issues!

    I'm thinking of using that on Sumner's site too. I don't know if I'll be dismissed with a grouchy one-liner by Deco, or if Harding will write me a novel like he did yesterday (I still haven't read it all).

  2. What will be really funny is when the Trump campaign releases these numbers a talking point to the press.

    1. Yeah, I should probably tweet that to Trump. He might mention it at his next campaign rally.

  3. You should. You think he reads stuff closely?