Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Great Illusion of 2016 is that Hillary-Trump is Very Close

You always hear pundits exclaim: But for all Trump's mistakes, this is such a close race. It's practically tied.

Well this is America. We don't have many absolute blowouts here. Public opinion is rarely unanimous. This isn't North Korea.

The last election that was decided by more than 10 points was Reagan's 18 point, 49-1 state blowout of Walter Mondale in 1984.

However, compared to recently elections, 2016 has not been too close. One problem is the media tends to always average down for Hillary. They act as if a 4 point lead is a tie.

But when you compare this to recent elections-including Obama's wins in 2008 and 2012 which were not close-she's ahead of the pace of the eventual victor in all those years.

"Average poll results in 2004: Bush, 46.3; Kerry, 45.2"

"In 2008: Obama, 47.9; McCain, 43.5"

"In 2012: Obama, 47.5; Romney, 45"

"In 2016: Clinton, 45.6; Trump 40.7"

Obama's final margin in 2008 was 7 points and in 2012 was 5 points. So in both years his actual margin of victory was at least 70 percent higher than the average. 

As HRC's average has been close to 5 points this might suggest a win in the high single digits-possibly larger than Obama in 2008 or George H.W. Bush in 1988. 

Remember in 2008 and 2012 the GOP was totally unified. 

Today's Washington Post poll also mentioned the election wide average. 

"There have been ups and downs in the race to date –- ranging from +2 for Trump in May to +12 for Clinton in late June -– and more certainly are possible. That said, if 40 percent can be thought of as the base vote in either party, Clinton has been ahead more consistently than Trump. The race between them has averaged 48-43 percent in ABC/Post polls. She's ranged from 44 to 51 percent support, while he's seen 39 to 46 percent."

Nate Cohn makes the same point I did about margins in the US.

"If you're younger than age 50, you haven't voted in a presidential race where the margin of victory was more than 10 pts."

Even Reagan in 1980 didn't win by exactly 10-almost: he had 9.7. Really you should round that up but it underscores that such wins are rare.

Interestingly, in the new ABC poll, voters prefer experience over being an outsider by a sizable margin.

"Clinton+8 in new ABC/Post poll, 50-42. Kind of interesting: voters prefer experience over an outsider, 58-39

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