Monday, August 15, 2016

Yes Hillary Got a Bounce, no it Hasn't Faded

We kept hearing from the likes of Nate Silver, Harry Enten, Nate Cohn, and Natalie Jackson that what matters is what the polls look like a few weeks after the conventions.

So now we are a few weeks after the conventions.  What do we see? We see even a pro Trump poll like the USC/LA Times tracking poll going against him now. On July 27, Trump had a 7 point lead over Hillary. This was just after the RNC but before the DNC started.

Again, that's totally a Trump house effect as the averages had about a tied race. But now, over two weeks after the DNC concluded, Hillary has a 5 point lead with USC/LA .

Meanwhile, Hillary leads by almost 7 points with the RCP average and 8 with the Huffpollster average.

Then there is Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight.

"No recovery yet for Trump. Down to 11% chance per our polls-only forecast, his low on the year. 21% per polls-plus."

"Clinton has been steady at 44-45% since her convention but Trump's numbers keep falling.

She is at 44.5% in FiveThirtyEight polls only forecast and Trump is at 36.4%. This suggests that Trump has been doing himself real damage in the last two weeks with all his roiling craziness.

Meanwhile, Trump is not pivoting:

"The failing @nytimes, which never spoke to me, keeps saying that I am saying to advisers that I will change. False, I am who I am-never said."

Sounds good to me. But then, I'm a Democrat.

The Guardian:

“I love polls. I love polls,” Donald Trump told a South Carolina audience in December, while he was still one of many contenders in the Republican primary. But, he hedged, “if they turn negative, I don’t like them.”

"Sure enough, Trump has been singing a different tune in the general election, during which he’s mostly trailed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton."

"Even his moment in the spotlight during the Republican national convention in mid-July was cut short by the Democratic convention just one week later. Trump briefly surged to a one-point lead over Clinton soon after the RNC. But Clinton’s convention bump – which put her seven points ahead in polling averages – not only wiped out Trump’s short-lived lead but built upon her previous dominance."

"The Guardian analyzed RealClearPolitics polling averages from three previous election cycles to look at what could affect Clinton’s lead. How the candidates fare in the polls before election day may yet defy all expectation; this has been a tumultuous election season to say the least. But if history is any guide, Clinton’s current lead hinges on her performance in upcoming debates, the ability to avoid (any more) scandals, and bigger-picture issues like the economy and national security, which are beyond either candidate’s direct control."

"The nature of Clinton’s gains, combined with Trump’s further stumbles in the past few weeks, could mean that her post-convention rise in the polls marks a meaningful shift rather than a temporary gain."

"But even if Clinton’s lead holds for the next few weeks, she shouldn’t get too confident. Debates, gaffes, and unpredictable geopolitical events have all taken hits on even the most prolonged convention bumps in previous elections."

She certainly doesn't want to be too confident, but knowing her and her team, there's no danger of that.

But I think if anything this overhypes the debates. Will he even show up? Will he do all three? What kind of 'unfairnesses' will he cite as an excuse not to debate?
But as a historical matter, when have debates been decisive? I agree to an extent Trump could have the advantage as expectations for him are so low. Still, he has an amazing ability to fail to meet even his low expectations. 
Still, I'd love for someone to point to me the POTUS election that came down to debates. I guess maybe the first one in 1960. 
Arguably Ford was really hurt by his gaffe that the Soviet Union isn't dominating Eastern Europe. But in 2016 we've seen a race where Hillary has led from wire to wire. Trump managed to tie it only right after he clinched in early May and just after his convention but before the DNC begun. 
Her cumulative average has been about 5 points. Actually that the number two weeks ago, it may be higher now. 
So name me the Presidential election where one candidate led the other by this kind of margin from wire to wire and yet ended up losing because of debates? 
The debates will obviously be watched with great fanfare-I'm assuming he at least shows up for the first one. But history shows that the candidate who leads two weeks post convention wins the election. Which suggests that elections don't hinge on debates. 

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